Thirty years ago, I gave birth to my first child. After the long birthing process, I can remember the release of one last push and the elation of seeing our child face to face for the first time. But it wasn’t until I saw that he was breathing in and breathing out that the joy was full. The cord had been wrapped around his neck and his heart rate had dropped quickly, so there was great relief when I saw with my own eyes the eyes of my first child, Zachary Josiah. I held him in my arms, I looked in his eyes, and I thanked God that this baby boy was already doing what I couldn’t do for him–he was breathing on his own. It was pure joy to see his little chest go up and down and to know that his little life was sustained outside of me. His breathing on his own was an indicator that the beautiful process of becoming independent had already begun.
Today, I’m sitting in a hospital again. 30 years have passed, and I now have 6 adult children who are beautifully breathing on their own. Zac was joined by Josh, Austin, Hope, Chase, and Tanner. These gifts of mine have been growing in independence for decades now. They all have different rhythms and dance to the beat of their own drum, their own heartbeat.
Today, I’m sitting in the hospital not to welcome my oldest, but to be there for my youngest as he goes through a surgery. He’ll need folks to help do what he can’t, to fix things he can’t touch, to regulate his oh-so-courageous heart that can tend to get a little out of sync. He’ll keep breathing but he won’t be conscious of the breaths. He’s given up control of things and is letting others, doctors, nurses, and technology gurus take over to do what he can’t, fix what he can’t fix, and put in preventative measures that he could not produce or provide on his own. He’s relying on others to meets needs he can’t fill.
So am I. For him and for me .
You see I’m quite aware of some broken places I can’t fix on my own. I have ails that only God can heal. I have parts of my life that only God can redeem and I can thankfully say that I’ve seen His hand. He’s shown such grace through redeeming hard things in our family. We are a work in progress for sure but I truly believe that what we bring to God He can change for the good….and breathe new life into and redeem.
That’s the irony though. You see, as a mom, it was my job to help my children breathe on their own, learn, develop their gifts, and branch out and grow in independence. But the older I get, the more I see the need for me to grow in my dependence. Dependence? Yes, dependence. I want God to breathe through me—to direct, to fill, to tear down the old and make it new. To take what isn’t fruitful and prune it.
As I sit in these hospital walls, I want to be like Tanner and acknowledge my need, relinquish my will, and ask God to fix what is broken, heal what is ailing, redeem what seemed lost. And do you know what beautiful, beautiful truth I know? He will say yes. Because in the same way that I wanted my child to breathe life-giving oxygen into his lungs , God wants to breathe abundant life into our Spirits not through stuff but through His presence.
It is ours but for the asking . So as I sit in this place I thank God that what I can’t do, He can. When I don’t know what to pray His spirit will intercede. What I can’t fix He sees. When I can’t catch my breath He will catch me.
So today friends in this crazy crazy world that can make us lose our breath and so suck the life out of us, I am praying for those who read these words—that we would allow God access to move in and through us. That we’d breathe in His truth and subconsciously exhale His light and love. That we’d lay ourselves on that operating table and be honest about any malleable conditions that need to be gone. That’d we’d call sin sin. That we’d not dance around dangerous mindsets and we’d acknowledge our need for grace. I pray that in seeing our own need that we’d have eyes wide open to see the needs of others. And in seeing needs of others we’d encourage healthy dependence and humility (for It is my opinion that “self made” is quite an erroneous term for none of us are the Creator.)
We all start with humble beginnings like my sweet new born on day one. We all breathe our first breath physically in our lungs and are intrinsically aware of our need for oxygen. How beautiful it would be if we were just as aware of our desperate need for God’s presence in our lives (individually and collectively )- as if our need for Him were as great as our need for oxygen. In this world that can suffocate, may we breathe in the life-giving gift of His Presence—and in doing so, breathe it out into a world that so needs to breathe.
p.s. This song is so good and has been on repeat all morning. 💙
“He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.”