Swimming Upstream, Again

by Laura on February 18, 2012

I wrote the following post about struggling a year and a half ago, and I returned to it this week. Because, honestly, it’s been one of  those-– when the computer virus infected all of our websites, when the details of launching a new site caused late nights, when it became official that some of our best friends {actually, two sets of them} are leaving, when the tropical heat challenged our attempts at good-moods, when purpose and direction got lost in a fog. {Like, a literal one. The air pollution index has been off the charts this week because of fires in our area.}

I guess you could say, it’s been a week where we’ve had to swim harder than usual. . . .


Life lately is a swim upstream.

It’s a battle against the current, a struggle against the oncoming tide.

It’s a season where so much seems like a fight–

in fostering my spiritual life and romancing my husband and pursuing Community.

It’s a hard swim against the oncoming waters–

in exercising routinely and disciplining my kids and stepping out to serve.

And I so often want to give up, take a breather, and coast for a while– even if it means the rushing waters take me downstream.  These days I am tempted by the path of least resistance– though usually not better, it is typically easier.

And this path of least resistance for me looks like sleeping in most mornings and watching too much tv most nights.  It’s staring at the computer instead of talking to my husband after the kids are asleep. The rush downstream is ignoring that disobedience and not inviting that family to dinner in the name of convenience.  In my journey on this River, it translates into a Bible that stays closed too often and tennis shoes that don’t have enough dirt on the treads.

And when I think about what my life would look like in a month or a year or ten if I stopped the swim, if I just let the waters take me, I pause. Because the path of least resistance could lead —

to kids that resent me because I missed their hearts,

to an unhealthy body and a dry soul,

to a marriage that leaves me feeling alone,

or to an island that has become a life.

And so, and so, I set my sights upstream.

I clinch teeth, and I move the alarm clock downstairs.

I renew resolve, and I make an exercise chart.

I dig in heels, and I facebook a friend for a get-together this weekend.

And I choose to



To. Just. Keep. Swimming.

Because, if I can help it, I most definitely do not want the view from downstream.


“Rest assured, any movement towards freedom or life, towards God or others, will be opposed.”  – John Eldredge

“That which does not kill us only serves to make us stronger.”  – Winston Churchill

“Love always perseveres.”  – The Bible


Experiencing a day, a season, of swimming hard yourself? Tell me about it. I’d love to pray for you. 

  • http://bahava.wordpress.com Katy

    praying for you!!! and eish what a week….keep on swimming.

  • http://www.angiewashington.com/ @ngie

    I wondered about the silence. I was hoping it was because you were just having too much fun to mess with blogging. Aw, shucks, I hate it when I am wrong. I am sorry you have been having a rough go of it. I really DO pray that you stay strong and that God surprises you with the way that He infuses strength into your whole being. Love to you from way over here! 

  • Sharon O

    I pray you will find peace and the ablility to just ‘know’ HE is with you  in all things.

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      Thanks so much, Sharon.

  • http://www.nosuperheroes.com Chris Lautsbaugh

    I know that feeling….hope knowing someone knows what that feels like helps a bit!

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      misery loves company, right?

      :) yup, i guess it does.

  • Diana Trautwein

    Some weeks are like that – and I’m so sorry this was one of those. Prayers for a renewal of hope, for relief from the heat, for new friends, for encouragement.

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      thanks, Diana . . .

  • Rob Hairston

    You go girl. You have such a Beautiful way with words Laura. They flow just like that river that is trying with all it”s might to hold you back, and push you back to square one, and you don”t want to waste all that wonderful work you have accomplished.   As I have listened to you I realize you are a very strong woman, and that is because of many things but, the most important reason, is that God made you and all of us who believe that way, so that we will be stronger for the ending. We love you here…..and there for all you do, and all that you have done. You are WONDERFUL . Lighten up on the late night TV and KEEP THAT BIBLE OPEN.  I will keep you”re family in my prayers. God bless you. Amen

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      thanks for your encouragement, as always, Rob.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Teri-Miller/100000244322626 Teri Miller

    We have stepped out: put the feelings into prayers, the prayers have become confirmations, and words have been spoken aloud.  Once it is spoken, Hope comes to life, and we begin to feel her breathing, needing, calling.

    And so the swim upstream has begun in earnest.

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      ohhh . . I am intrigued . . . is this related to your ministry with your family? Is this on your blog and I can read about it?!?

  • Liz S.

    Laura, I just appreciate you so. very. much. I don’t comment often, but I read fairhfully. And my heart is in much the same place, lately…and I am just. so. tired. And it’s so hard to keep on that daily grind, over and over, when I am tired. And that river just seems so damn overwhelming sometimes. So, yeah. I feel ya. Thanks for sharing your struggles.

  • quilt4me

    I completely understand what you mean. My oldest daughter is really struggling. It keeps me awake at night. It consumes my thoughts. We had a really rough day this week. I was so relieved when that day was over. I was so thankful that God provided me a new day. A new day – to try again, to have new hope, to say new prayers.

    I started doing the 1000 gifts thing from Ann Voscamp’s book. It helps. Because even in the worst moments, there is something to be thankful for. When my daughter struggled on Tuesday, and was mad at me, and had to turn in a boy for inappropriate behavior, my two quilting buddies rose from their chairs and prayed for me. God was there. In a few minutes, my daughter agreed to meet me for lunch. A small step, but something to be thankful for.

    Hang in there my friend. Ann Voscamp says in her book:
    Dark is the holiest ground, the glory passing by. In the blackest, God is closest, at work, forging His perfect and right will.

    God bless you and yours,

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      Oh, Beth, thanks for your honesty. Thanks for sharing your heart. Prayers for you and for your daughter tonite, from here. .. .

      and YES, Loved reading Ann Voskamp’s book and the encouragement to Just. Give. Thanks– it does help the swim, I think.

      Thanks for sharing your heart . . .

  • Marlana

    oh you know what, last Sunday when the smoke was the thickest in my area, I was drowsy and tired all day — THERE WASN’T ENOUGH OXYGEN. So keep that in mind, no one feels normal when the smoke is that bad. 

Previous post:

Next post: