Polar Bear Plunge

Have you ever heard of the Polar Bear Plunge? Well, a few years ago, I was faced with this challenge. My father-in-law (whose sole purpose in life is to get a good laugh:) promised fifty bucks to any of his children or their spouses who would take the plunge.

Before I agreed, I discussed the deal with my husband. With money tight, I wanted to be sure if I was going to jump, I would be able to spend the money how I wanted.  He agreed. So – that November afternoon in Missouri, as much as I hate cold water, this Florida girl dove into the frigid lake outside my mother and father-in-law’s home. In turn, my father-in-law lost a fifty, but gained a good laugh.

At the time, the idea of having fifty dollars to spend any way I wanted was a huge treat to me. However, each time I thought about where to spend the money, a family friend back home came to mind. I could think of no better way to ‘spend’ the money than to give it to someone who truly needed it.  So, rather than buy something for myself, I made a promise to the Lord to give the money to Justin; and for days, I was genuinely extremely excited to do so.

Have you ever had an idea like that? One where just the thought of doing something kind for someone brings a smile to your face? Where you can think of nothing more satisfying than to fill a need in someone else’s life?

Well, that is exactly how I felt that day, too.

The idea of blessing someone in need with this money sounded delightfully good. But as time passed, I began to have second thoughts. The closer I got to home, the more tightly I held on to the money in my heart.

The change that took place on the inside of me was something I had never experienced before. And it was drastic. I went from feeling over the moon about giving it, to almost sickened at just the thought.

Have you ever been there? You have a grand idea about giving something to help someone in need, but somehow, when faced with actually doing it, it isn’t near as easy as you expected? It started as joyful, and as time progressed, it became anything but?

All afternoon, I wrestled in my heart with giving this money to Justin. I wanted so much to have the joy I felt when I made the decision to give it, but – bottom line- I simply was not joyful about giving it anymore.

As I lie in the bathtub that evening with an unsettled heart, I whispered this prayer.

“Lord, help…”

I hadn’t even gotten all of the words out when I was flooded with an overwhelming joy about giving the money again.  While no one else could see it, I could physically feel the difference. The change in my heart was undeniable. And it happened instantaneously. There was no possible explanation for this infiltration of joy other than that, once again, the Lord of the Universe had heard my quiet prayer for “help”.

 2 Corinthians 3:5, “We know we are not able in ourselves to do any of this work. God makes us able to do these things.”

This moment served as a great reminder for me. All too often, we struggle through life trying to change ourselves and our circumstances in our own strength. We wrestle with emotions and desires that won’t go away- no matter how hard we try. We battle, fight and forge ahead in an effort to change something that cannot be changed with human hands…. Meanwhile, the Lord of the Universe is waiting to answer our cry for help. If we would simply take a moment to declare our dependency on the Lord Jesus Christ and ask, He would step in and do what we cannot do on our own.

Is there something in your life that you need to hand over to the Lord today? Are you struggling and striving to change something that only God can? Take a moment this morning to lay it down. He longs to help you this very hour- if you would only ask.

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5 thoughts on “Polar Bear Plunge

  1. Chad


    I have read several of your posts and you do a great job. I like the the way that He has you approaching things. One thing that I know that I tend to do is focus on what great thing is God doing right now in my life. If there is nothing there in the present then I may feel like that I have nothing to draw strength from. You write about your past experiences alot. I think that it is a good reminder for me that if all else fails that i can always draw strength from the wonderful and supernatural things that He has done for me, to me, or through me in the past. Thanks for bringing this to mind again, Amy.

    1. admin

      Thanks Chad! One of the greatest tools we have as Christians is the art of remembering. I firmly believe that when we recall God’s faithfulness in our lives from the past, it helps us have faith for our future. David did it when he went to fight Goliath. What a great example for us. I am so glad you are enjoying the posts. I appreciate you sharing it with me.

  2. Chad

    Amen. You are right on with David….He chose me. Surely He is with me. Where were David’s eyes in his time of unfaithfulness. Not where they should have been. But Father used that bad thing as a good example for us to learn from.

  3. Debbye

    Wow, Amy! What a story that will be to share with your kids..I want to hear the rest of it sometime too. Did others of the family join in? What did it feel like? YOU must have a fun bunch of in laws, too! All that aside, it is hard to lay things everything down and I wish, oh wish I was better at it, because I KNOW that is what he wants me to do. Gotta write those promises down and drill them in. Thanks for sharing this …God bless you..so enjoyed hearing you speak the other night–brought back old times.

    1. admin

      Aspen was quite young at the time. She was crying and begging me not to do it. I think she was more traumatized by it than I was… My father-in-law had about 10 takers on the jump (and we have video to prove it.) Landon’s family is always making me laugh! (I used to pray for a funny child. God is sooo good. He gave me a whole family full of comedians:) And yes… It can be hard to “lay it down”, but I have found that if I can think of the thing I fear most about the possible outcome and make a decision to trust God with even that, then it makes the process much easier. (On a side note – I heard one time that 70% of the things we think will happen, don’t usually come to pass. And of the 30% that do, 70% are no where near as bad as we thought they would be….)At any rate, you are not alone. HELP!!! is on the way.


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