Making It Off The Boat

Our daughter Kelli returned this past week from a few days in Mexico with her boyfriend and his family. While we were freezing our tails off in the Midwest, she luxuriated on the beach, enjoying sunshine and 80 degree temperatures. As you can imagine, they all dreaded coming back to face work and winter once again.

While in Mexico, Kelli enjoyed a once in a lifetime experience. She and Lance went snorkeling off the second largest coral reef in the world. Everything they saw amazed them, from the crystal blue water to the tropical fish to a stingray hanging out on the ocean floor. From the way she described it, it had to be the highlight of their trip.

What amazes me is that she experienced it at all, given the fact that she never quite learned to swim — even though I dutifully made sure she took lessons. (I don’t have any room to talk, though. I, too, am afraid in water over my head.) To participate in this adventure, she braved 7 ft. and 11 ft. depths while wearing a life jacket. Before she could do that, though, she had to make it off the boat. She couldn’t quite bring herself to jump in the way they were instructed, but she finally managed to just slide off the side. She spent the first five minutes hyperventilating but finally relaxed and learned to use the snorkel. After that, she had the time of her life.

Kelli had to face a few fears to live this bold new adventure, and I’m pretty proud of her. I may need to remember her courage this coming weekend when Don and I go to inner city Ft. Worth on a mission trip with a group from our region. No, it’s not the first time we’ve gone on the Beautiful Feet mission trip, but believe me, new experiences await us every time we go. And yes, nerves enter the picture from time to time (at least for me!) as we reach out to the homeless and inner city folks there. Like Kelli, though, after taking a few deep breaths and whispering some prayers, we have the time of our lives.

Is there something you’ve been needing, wanting, or feeling led to do but can’t quite make it off the boat? If you can’t boldly jump out of your comfort zone, try following Kelli’s example and just slide off into that new territory. Take a friend if you need to. Definitely whisper a prayer and remember the psalmist’s words “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” (Psalm 56:3) If you don’t try, you may be depriving yourself of one the best experiences of your life.

I’d love to hear about the times you’ve had to overcome fear or nervousness to tackle something new or step out of your comfort zone. Was it worth it? And Kelli, if I messed up any of the details of your story, feel free to set the record straight with a comment :)

*Kelli’s photo taken by friend


  1. Great story! I give Kelli props for snorkeling in the ocean, I don’t think I could do it!

  2. Inside joke alert: Kristin, I thought of you, too, when writing this and wondered what you would have done if you had seen a jellyfish :)

    By the way, I bet you could do it with Shawn by your side! :)

  3. I would have to have Shawn and the boat by my side! Kelli said they had to get off the boat and swim out a ways. I don’t know if I’d be that brave to rely on just a life-vest in the open water for over an hour!

  4. I couldn’t do it. Way to go cousin Kelli!

  5. Actually, I did have Lance by me the whole time. He held my hand the entire time. It was scary at first but after I realized how awesome everything was it made it all worth while!

  6. Hi Heather! Glad to have you joining the conversation today! And Kelli, having Lance with you the entire time is okay :) Remember, sometimes we need a friend with us when we try new things!

  7. I have a memory from my childhood swimming lessons. I asked my swimming instructor to push me off the 10 ft. diving board. I was too afraid to jump on my own. 10 feet looks higher when you’re up there looking down!

  8. Hi Adam! Thanks for sharing. I can still vividly remember having to jump off the low board in swimming lessons. I thought I’d die before I made it to the side of the pool :) I don’t think I ever did it again unless it was one more time in swimming lessons.

  9. I remember Adam trying to teach me to dive in to his pool many years ago. All he could get me to do was bend down as close to the water as I could and kind of jump in :) I wasn’t a very good student!

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