I am still breathing.

Last week I asked you to pray for my nephew, Christopher. He is 37 years old and had a minor stroke. He is home, doing very well, and is very thankful for all the prayers. And so am I.

It all began just the way this stuff always happens, the day started normally and then I got that phone call. The one where you can tell by the first words you hear that something is terribly wrong. And in the blink of an eye, you can feel your whole world change. One of those moments where time seems to stop, and you have to remember to take your next breath. And just as I started to cry, I saw the word “Breathe” on my dashboard.

I told you last fall that we read a book in a woman’s group at church where we were challenged to choose a single word to center our life around for a year. My word was breathe. I was given a sticker with that single word, and I stuck it to my dashboard so that I would see it every time I got in my car. I picked that word for several reasons:

I wanted a word that was very simple and very common. What is more simple to do then breathe? We do it all the time, most of the time without even thinking about it. If we see someone unconscious, the first thing we do is see if they are breathing. It is one of the things that we can’t live without. It is at the core of what makes us live.

I wanted a word that is an action. Again, we are constantly breathing. If you are upset, you are told to take a deep breath. If you are in pain, you are told to control your breathing and think about each breath. When the kids were little and couldn’t go to sleep, I would talk them through slow breathing. By controlling our breathing, we can alleviate pain, stress, nausea and fear. Concentrating on breathing is a great way to refocus.

I wanted a word that connected me with the word of God. I wanted to be reminded with each breath that I am only here because of the Father who created me, and gave me life.

Job 33:4 “The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

When I saw that word, right at that moment, I found some peace. I knew that God was there in the car with me. I knew he was in that hospital room with Christopher. I knew that no matter what happened to him, that God would be there to help he and his family through. I took a breath, and I thanked God for His love.

Dearest God,
Thank you for the gift of life. Thank you for each breath.
Amen

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