| from Melissa Hannigan |

“See those big rocks right there? Make sure you let the current take you right over them, ok?”

My eyes widened as I looked out the window of the van to the spot he pointed out to our group. We were being driven to the drop off point for our tubing adventure as our experienced guide pointed out landmark spots in the river that we were about to embark upon.

He showed us the big rock with the deep waters where we could jump in safely. He pointed out the bridge that would be our signal to begin to head toward the shore because our pick up point would be just beyond there. But the most important message he shared was to allow the current to guide our tubes.

Of course, I would let the water guide my tube, I thought incredulously, why he even needed to tell people that I didn’t understand.

It didn’t take very long, however, for me to realize how much I underestimated my desire to be in control. The first indication should have been when our guide suggested that we wade out to the middle of the river before we got into our tubes. He explained that it was deeper in the middle of the river and the current was strongest there. But did I listen to our wise, experienced guide? For some reason I did not. I thought it would be fine if I just waded a little bit into the river before getting into my tube. Why did I think I knew better than our guide?

The moment I sat in the tube I instantly became stuck. There was no current at all, just a bunch of river rocks holding my inner tube right where it sat. I wiggled and squirmed, I grunted and pushed, all while attached to my youngest child who did understand why weren’t floating along like the rest of our crew. After a lot of effort, I was able to move us, a few feet. It was frustrating and a little humiliating. The rest of my family listened and followed instruction and were moving swiftly along, while I was struggling to catch up. You’d think I had learned my lesson, but apparently, I am hard headed.

Once I found the current, I was relieved to actually be moving along. It was beautiful and so peaceful, flowing along with the current. Not having to work so hard. But it didn’t take too long for me be fighting the current, finding myself no longer going with the flow once again. Why don’t I learn lessons the easy way?

I could hear the rushing water ahead. I could see the big rocks that our guide pointed out on our drive to the drop off. I could still hear his voice reminding us to go over the rocks, to let the water carry us over, and yet up close it looked so much scarier and my instinct was avoiding the rushing water at all cost.

I paddled as far to the side of those rushing rocks as I could. And as I did that, my tube began to drift to a slow stop. I wasn’t in the current any more. I was not heading toward the rocks, but I was not heading toward anything at all, I was stuck once again.

At this point I knew I had to make a decision. Do I stay where I am safely in charge of my tube and where I would go, or would I trust the current to take me even if it might be over a scary looking pile of rocks. The Holy Spirit reminded me of a powerful truth in my life, I can either fight against God and where He is leading me, or I can choose to submit to His leading in my life, even if it takes me through some scary waters.

I think of the many times in my life that God clearly explained what He expected of me through His word and I still decided to do things my own way (I do this more than I’d like to admit) and that never turns out very good for me in the long run. I also think about the times that I trusted God and went the way that He led, even when it was scary (like when God called our family to homeschooling and I was terrified) but how amazing the journey turns out to be. I know that God is trustworthy and always know what is best for me and my family and yet I still struggle to submit to His ways. Why am I so hard headed?

I am happy to share that eventually, at least on the river, I learned to stay in the current and go with the flow. I allowed the current to carry me over the scary rocks and made it safely to our pick up destination. Hopefully, next time I will follow the instructions of our guide the first time and maybe I will have compassion when my kids don’t listen to my clearly given instructions but help them understand the same lessons that their hard headed momma had to learn herself.

I bet I’m not the only one who struggles to go with the flow. I am sure I am not the only parent who has to learn some of the same lessons that she is trying to teach her kids. If that’s you too, let’s commit to seeking God’s help and reminding ourselves how much better life is when we let Him lead the way! 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5

As a homeschool mom of four kids, Melissa Hannigan uses her background in child development and counseling to keep her family from going completely off the rails. Melissa discovered her passion for helping kids meet their fullest potential over 15 years ago. As a therapist, she has worked with children in head start, foster care, and in detention facilities to provide them the tools they need for success. Melissa has also served hundreds of young people through her local church. Her unique sense of humor, paired with a desire to make tough topics easy to talk about, makes her relatable to most parents struggling to keep their head above water in today’s cultural climate. Whether she’s serving the “Happy Hannigan’s” or the “Hot Mess Hannigan’s” (it depends on the day!) she does it alongside her best friend and partner in life, John. Melissa is an Associate with Celebrate Kids where she writes and speaks about a variety of topics.