R is for Renewal, and 365 Days of Blessings, Day 3325
Have you ever reached that point when you aren’t just physically dragging, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as well?
There’s only one place I’ve found that can truly give renewal: the arms of Jesus.
Blessings of Renewal:
7.Praise and Thanksgiving.
8.God’s Word: The Bible.
9.Forgiveness and Salvation.
10.Holiness as a free gift of grace, undeserved but full of peace.
3.Writing something completely new.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 1 Corinthians 4:16
We swam with Manta Rays off the Kona coast last night. With no previous experience snorkeling for my daughters or for me, we slid off a Snorkel and Dive boat, The Manta, last night with my husband, two professional divers, and 16 other newbies. The sun had just dipped below the horizon before we put on our snorkel gear, and were handed flashlights that strapped to our wrists. My oldest daughter was nervous about getting off the boat. My youngest had trouble with her snorkel mask a few times on the swim over to the dive and snorkel site from the boat. I’ve had panic attacks in open water before, and felt myself shivering, but I stayed brave for my daughters.
Sound totally crazy? It probably was. However, I knew that we could do it, with the help of these experienced professional divers and snorkelers, in the trusty hands of a professional outfit, while holding onto a floating ring the whole time. The water was dark, except for the bobbing lights in our hands, and the lights of the divers below us.
When we reached the site, we floated, keeping our legs and bodies straight out around the circle of floats, and our lights pointed down into the center of the ring. Divers below us had lights set up on the shallow (at least 40 feet) shelf beneath us. We saw a ray swooping in circles over by another group. We could hear their shouts of excitement. We waited, and waited, just seeing the edges of the rays outside our circle. Then one swam up to eat the krill attracted by our lights.
The rays do this swooping circle to feed, with their bellies flashing white just below the surface. We were floating right above them. At least 6 different rays visited our circle, coming up right underneath us. One came less than a foot away from me, belly to belly, and I just tried to stay as still as I possibly could. I was scared, but elated, amazed, awed, shivering from excitement and a little cold. I made everyone laugh by shouting into my snorkel, “Holy Cow! That’s close enough. That’s good. Close enough. Holy Cow!” as the ray circled again and again, getting closer every time. Afterwards I was a little embarrassed by my corny expression, but most of the snorkelers got out only, “whooh, and whoah!”
The smallest rays that was saw last night were 6ft across, and the largest was 14ft. Thankfully, "Chloe" stayed down with the divers. I wasn't sure I wanted a 14 ft ray next to me. Maybe if I did it again, I would be braver.
The Kona Manta Rays are the only rays that are safe to swim with in the wild. They have no stingers. They have no teeth. They are very shy, and will swim away if people try to approach them or touch them. However, if they come to feed next to you, and you stay still, you can swim “with” them close.
My youngest daughter, aged nine, said it was the best night of her life. My oldest said it was awesome, definitely one of the coolest things she has ever done. My husband bought the professional dive video right away and tipped the crew of the boat . . . after simply saying that it was amazing. He's an actions-speak-louder-than-words kind of guy.