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  • Writer's pictureRachelle Keng MD

Surfing at Baby Beach - A Devotional

Updated: Apr 17

Mom and Baby on Beach

This month's guest blog is a devotional by Rachelle Keng, MD, OBGYN, and author of Woven in the Womb, Peace for the Pregnant and Postpartum Soul.

(Editor's note: This blog is for every mom at any stage of life who needs reminded of the steadfast love and faithfulness of our Lord).


I hung up the phone in tears.


No school during the pandemic? I relied on the school to give me respite care for my disabled child. I needed those school hours to save my sanity. But here we were in 2020, amidst a pandemic, stripped of the supports that usually kept me afloat in already tumultuous waters. Being a parent caregiver, the demand to be "on" all of the time is intense. Already a mama, a therapist, and now a homeschool special education teacher- this was more than I could bear. We were on vacation, a week away from going back to school. I had been looking forward to the respite after so many weeks of being “on” during the summer.


We were in Kauai when I received the phone call. That same evening we went to see the sunset at Baby Beach. I was grumbling on the way to the beach, complaining to God that I had nothing left to give. I helped my daughter down the sandy stairs between the houses that lined the shoreline. As we stepped off the last step, I looked up and saw the Hawaii-5-O surfers riding the waves and basking in the sunset. The waves were high and only for the most experienced surfers. I rubbed my eyes. Did I hear the GPS incorrectly?


Our Visit to Baby Beach

Baby Beach?! This was a surfing beach, not a beach for babies!! And certainly not a beach for my child who already had trouble with balance on even ground.


But as we turned the corner, I saw babies with their families playing in calm pools of water by the shoreline. The water gently bathed the babies' thighs as they sat happily in nature's wading pool.


I looked back to the horizon trying to squint through the sun’s reflection on the water. Had I imagined the surfers? No, they were still there. Surfers barreling into huge waves. I looked back at the shoreline - Babies playing in a gentle pond. Both within a few hundred feet of one another. The contrast didn't make sense. These babies sat peacefully, watching the surfers as if they were on the ESPN channel. These babies were oblivious to the life-threatening waves that raged next to them. 


I looked closer at the waves that separated the surfers from the babes. How were these babies protected from the fierce waves? On the ocean floor, there were thousands of rocks acting as a defensive line to the waves that pressed into the shoreline. As the surfer's wave crashed over the rocks, each rock tamed the wave until it became a gentle ripple lapping a precious babe. At first glance, the protection was not obvious. The rocks were underwater and not visible from the shore. But it was the presence of these rocks that made all of the difference for these babies at the shoreline.


Isaiah 43:2 says that "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." (NIV)


This verse was written by the prophet Isaiah to the Israelites. God was encouraging the Israelites not to fear, even in the midst of trials and challenges. Whether they faced overwhelming circumstances symbolized by waters and rivers, or intense situations symbolized by fire and flames, God promised His continuous presence and protection.


"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Isaiah 43:2 NIV

Even when the waves are high and coming at us full speed, they do not drown us. Why? Because He will break the waves down into a gentle ripple. He will break down the insurmountable task if we just wait at the shoreline for Him to work. The waves will not sweep over us when we are where God has called us to be. Like a baby who trusts in the protection of these rocks, we can even start to see the beauty around us.

Woman at Beach sitting
"The waves will not sweep over us when we are where God has called us to be. Like a baby who trusts in the protection of these rocks, we can even start to see the beauty around us." ~Rachelle Keng

The problem is when I see a big wave, I want to buy a surfboard and get surfing lessons. I want to conquer the wave, not sit in it! But maybe sitting is part of how we see God’s goodness. We let God rescue us. As He promises in Isaiah 43:2,  God will protect us from drowning even as we pass through our most desperate circumstances.


At this moment at Baby Beach, I decided to be the baby and not the surfer. I decided to trust that He was going to break down the wave that was crashing down on my life. And in this place of waiting on Him, I began to see the rest in His gentle pools.


"He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. Psalms 107:29 NIV

Special education homeschooling was tough during the pandemic. But God provided for us. He sustained us with a nanny that gave us respite care. He protected us from the virus that could have detrimental effects on my daughter’s disabilities. He did not let the wave sweep over us. And we found a place to rest. My problem wasn't solved, but my heart was filled instead. My place of desperation was where He could fill my empty soul the most.


Because even if you feel like you're drowning, the water will recede eventually. He may not take away the waves, but His presence and protection will be there with you always. And in this place, you can rest as a baby - and maybe even enjoy the view. 


Reflection Questions:

  1. How can you be the "baby" that trusts Him to break down the insurmountable task in front of you? 

  2. Where do you need to trust God knows what He is doing even if it doesn't seem like it at first glance? 

  3. And where can you learn to rest In God instead of fixing it all yourself?


Author image

Rachelle Keng, MD, FACOG is a board-certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist who specializes in women’s health and delivers babies in Charlottesville, Virginia. She cares deeply for women who are facing unplanned pregnancy, and for women who are experiencing the griefs of motherhood. Her own motherhood journey has not been straightforward. Rachelle is the busy mother of two girls, and she is an advocate for her daughter with Angelman’s Syndrome. She writes from a place of overwhelmed motherhood to encourage the disillusioned mother with truth and hope.


Book image

Her new book, Woven in the Womb, Peace for the Pregnant and Postpartum Soul, is available on her site rachellekeng.com and through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other major retailers.


 

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