My husband and I escaped with our sons to California a few weeks ago. We reunited with our first born and our weekend plan was one that we wouldn’t ever forget.

On the day that we arrived at the lagoon, I smiled as I watched our sixteen year old drive his dad out onto the water course. They puttered in a slow and careful motion. After about twenty-five minutes, I saw my ride coming in towards me–so I kicked off my flip flops and dropped our car keys in front of the manager.

My decent onto the beach slowed to a snails pace as I looked at the wave runner rocking in front of me.

“Jump on Mom,” they said.

There my eighteen and thirteen year old sat, grinning at me like cats who just ate mice. I tried to get my thoughts to submit and calm down while my husband and newest driver were still out making their  rounds among the buoys. There was no one there with skin on to give me wise council, no one to tell me to wait for another ride, no one to make sure I took off my favorite sunglasses, or leave them with my car keys. So, I climbed on the back of the three person seat all while it sloshed back and forth in the shallow water. My loose life jacket shifted around me. I felt nervous clinging onto the muscular waist in front of me. The boys let out a naughty giggle at my verbal outburst when we took off with a lurch.  I confess, it wasn’t my finest moment.

“Oh–crap,” I said.

My eyes folded into slits and I couldn’t see anything but a blurring horizon. I tried to keep them open at first but ultimately closed them in fear. It wasn’t until I hit the brick wall exploding with water that I realized that I had flown off of the wave runner. My mouth took in the salty water and my puckering life vest raised under my chin, lifting me up, and out to catch a breath. Our oldest was laughing as soon as I opened my eyes and he cheered when he caught his sinking sunglasses. My hand raised to my head but instead, mine were cascading to a sunglass graveyard at the bottom of the lagoon. I began to kick at the water and my breaths were short and shallow. A sharp pain in my left rib cage held me back from the escape I wanted to have from the fish infested water. Joseph sat laughing and dry while I tried to hoist myself up with a hand from our oldest. I just couldn’t get off of my stomach because of the side splitting laughter and the excruciating pain. I pulled and twisted on the unstable platform while tangled in my own life vest and then made a willful declaration.

“I’ve given birth to you people–I can do this,” I said.

The laughter was too much though–we all plunged into the water again.

My husband sputtered up beside us. He joined the onlooking highway traffic watching me fight to mount the slippery seat again. He could see my pain and caught my glare long enough to know that I wasn’t doing well at all.  He asked me to come to him but the idea of swimming over to his wave runner and lifting my body onto another jostling hunk of slippery vinyl for the third time in fifteen minutes, did not thrill my heart.

It wasn’t long after we accelerated again before I choked out another mouth full of briny water thanks to my chauffeur. Those waves were just too tempting for my son I suppose. I wasn’t laughing after my newest landing and I welcomed the rescue my husband offered as soon as he pulled up next to me.  I surrendered to his plan. My breaths were quick while the motor began to hum and accelerate across the waters. I sat there limp, worn out, filled with pain, and regret.

I knew better. I didn’t listen to that still small voice or my husbands pleas. I didn’t have a plan and I am still paying today. Every sneeze and cough stab me with pain and take my breath away.

Have you ever felt like you were muddling through life without a plan? Have opportunities come your way when you wrestled with your thoughts? Have you taken that risk–sometimes against your better judgement? I too found it easy to ignore that still small voice that said–”Wait–stop…” We think we know better until we are sitting in a lump, pathetic, and desperate for someone to care for and rescue us. Then, we look back with regret and are surrounded by the natural and painful consequences.

I understand, sometimes the results aren’t fun or pretty. The next time I’m faced with a difficult choice–I hope I’ll pay attention to that still small voice of wisdom.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”  
Proverbs 14:12 (NIV)

“A man’s steps are directed by the LORD.  How then can anyone understand his own way?” 
Proverbs 20:24 (NIV)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)