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One of the greatest parts of becoming a parent as a christian is how it can deepen our understanding of ‘God the father’; God our parent.  As a parent I have experienced the great joys of watching my children change and develop; I’ve experienced the heartbreak when they are hurt, unwell or upset; I’ve experienced the disappointment when they haven’t made the right choices and I’ve experienced the fear of them entering a dangerous situation. The highs and lows of parenting are a roller-coaster and God experiences the same roller coaster with each one of us – His children. When I first looked upon my eldest daughter and experienced a love for her just flood my heart I suddenly gained a new understanding of God’s love for me; a love that is even greater than my own love for my daughter! He looks upon me with the same glowing warmth as I do my own children – what an  amazing thing that is.

One of my ‘God-parenting’revelations happened this year as I was teaching my eldest to swim:

Whilst on holiday my daughter had a keen aim to learn how to swim without any aids; she had an understandable anxiety about staying afloat and not going under water. On the last day of our holiday I set a challenge for her to do some unaided swimming – a full length of the pool with only one stop. In the end she managed the whole length without stopping once!! I remained by her side repeating the words “you’re doing it!”; “keep going!” And “I’m right here with you!” Knowing that I would be there to bring her back out of the water if her strength failed her.  I was reminded of how similar this is with God; there are many times in our lives when it feels as though we have the potential to drown under life’s waves; to not have the strength to get to the other side and keep above water. I often ask God how I can get rid of the causes of these ‘waves’ in life; how do I beat them? What should I be doing? How can I make it to the other side? Shortly after the experience with teaching my daughter to swim I was having one of these moments and this time in reply I heard: “you’re doing it!”; “keep going!” And “I’m right here with you!” He won’t let us fall under water and keep us there; he will pick us up out of the water if we begin to go under and help us get back on our way. It may not happen the first attempt but with the knowledge that God is right there beside us means that one day we know that we will make it to the other side!! He’s cheering us on!

We so often view God as neglecting us when we are going through struggles that feel like drowning but at His response I realised that He is often doing exactly what I was doing for my daughter; giving us the opportunity to learn something for ourselves; building our character and life skills. Not deserting us but supporting us in love and guidance.

Can you look back on times in your life and see God beside you cheering you on?