| from Dr. Kathy Koch |


You can push against the bottom when life pulls you under. You can break the surface and breathe again. Yes you can!

My family vacationed at Fish Lake in Wisconsin almost every year of my childhood. My aunt, uncle, and cousins on my mom’s side almost always rented a cabin at the same property. Our grandparents and one of our great aunts often came for part of the time. I think we’d all say that these vacations were one of our favorite things about our families and our childhood.

The lake was ideal for all of us as we learned to swim, jumped and dove off the pier and raft, and played for hours in the water. The water was clear and shallow. And, maybe most importantly, the bottom was sandy. Do you understand?

If you’ve ever swam in lakes you know what I mean. Some have a very rocky bottom that makes standing and playing uncomfortable. Some are very weedy which isn’t pleasant. And some, often the ones with weeds, have a murky, disgusting, almost quicksand-like bottom that I can best describe as creepy. If we ever were with friends at other lakes with that kind of bottom, we did everything possible to swim and not need to touch the bottom. We all imagined all kinds of disgusting little things living in the sandy muddy-like bottom.

But you know what? If I was ever under the water and knew I didn’t have much breath left in my lungs, it didn’t matter what was below me. I set my feet and pushed off to shoot to the surface and beyond. Of course, breathing a big breath was the first essential action when my head broke the surface of the water. (Believe me, my preference would be the sand because the hard surface would mean I’d make it to the surface much quicker.)

Occasionally, my cousins, brother, and I would all crouch down under the water at the same time and push off to see who could go higher after breaking through the water. Those were great days. Those are great memories.

We were playing, but remember the strategy if you feel like you’re drowning. You can push against the bottom when life pulls you under. You can break the surface and breathe again. Yes you can!

You can find the bottom. The pit doesn’t go on forever. We so often think of reaching up, and that’s wise. But what if we also reach down. Let’s find the solid footing underneath and use it for a new beginning. 

Push off. Break the surface of the darkness. Breathe again! Now look for life around you and reach out for support.

Yes. Reach down. Reach up. Reach out.


Dr. Kathy Koch (“cook”), is the founder and president of Celebrate Kids, Inc., based in Fort Worth, Texas. She has influenced thousands of parents, teachers, and children in 30 countries through keynote messages, seminars, chapels, banquet talks, and other events. She is a regular speaker for Care Net, Summit Ministries, and Axis. She also speaks for other organizations, churches, schools, and pregnancy resource centers. In addition, she hosts Celebrate Kids conferences through their Ignite the Family conference division. She is also a popular guest on Focus on the Family radio, she was featured in Kirk Cameron’s movie, Connect, and she has written and published five books with Moody Publishers, including Five to ThriveStart with the Heart, Screens and Teens8 Great Smarts, and No More Perfect Kids (with Jill Savage). Dr. Kathy earned a Ph.D. in reading and educational psychology from Purdue University.