Wednesday, May 22, 2013

For When You Need to Breathe

"Praying for quiet rest; deep, filling breaths of comfort; and answered prayers from the doctor," an email from my friend, Kate, read on Saturday.  It wasn't until I finished reading that I realized it...

I had been holding my breath.

It's tough watching someone you love struggle to breathe.
From infancy, both of my children experienced serious asthma, both needing emergency room trips, countless hours on the nebulizer and, for Braden, hospitalization. 
It's been years since any of this has been an issue. 
We thought we were past the age of danger...that they had both outgrown the condition.

But, unexpectedly, the past few weeks, Braden's asthma has flared - which is my non-alarmist, "quiet my own heartway of expressing that he has been in trouble.  By Saturday, it was serious, with his doctor on the verge of admitting him to the hospital.  Thankfully, post emergency-steroid-shot and continual every 4-6 hour breathing treatments, he is sitting on the couch at home today, making up schoolwork, his breath less ragged...more calm.

In the midst of his crisis, I found myself running full-throttle into the darkness of "worst-case-scenario" thinking.  So before driving myself completely over a cliff of panic, I sent out an all-call to my prayer warriors. Within minutes, a barrage of emails and texts followed, including Kate's words of comfort. It was here that I discovered myself taking the shallow gulps of the terrified rather than the cleansing inhalations of the assured. 

Why does this happen to us in times of trial?
That we hold our breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop, instead of trusting in His care and protection?
That we fail to realize that, no matter the outcome, He's got us? 
That He will see us through the hardest of times, if only to wrap us in His heavenly embrace and rock us back and forth as we slip into the quiet promise of His love?

Sunday afternoon at church, as we celebrated Pentecost, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the apostles, we also read from the Gospel of John about fear...about faith...about His reassurance
About that moment in time when the disciples were locked away, hiding from the Jews and their own shadows, distressed and anxious about being convicted as the leaders of Christianity.  It was at their exact moment of need that Jesus appeared and breathed His peace on them.

He breathed on them.

You see, until that time they were bound by the chains of their fear, afraid to take even a simple step outside of their door without their leader.
They had lost their way and their courage.
They were taking the shallow gulps of the terrified.

But as soon as Jesus walked through that bolted door and stood in their midst, the chains were lifted.
They rejoiced.
They regained their nerve.
They were blessed with the cleansing inhalations of the assured. 

Yes, Jesus breathed on them.
The breath of the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit of courage and truth.
That Spirit that loosens our bonds and sets us free.
That Spirit that releases our lungs, blowing into them total and utter peace.

The Spirit that Jesus exhaled on the disciples surrounds us still today.
And when It does, we cease holding our breath;
we finally exhale into Him;
and once again, we're able to breathe.

Photo credit:  "Woman on beach with hair blowing" from

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