Don’t Hold Your Breath

I heard a beautiful message this morning on Genesis 2:7 “Then the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.” (NLT)

As I listened, I imagined God breathing life into His creation. I’ve always thought of this verse in regard to the beginning of man, but God reminded me this morning that He is always breathing new life into His children. It isn’t necessarily CPR, but it can be. It is, more often, a gentle filling that sustains the heart and sates the soul.

Relaxing into obedience is testing my faith and taxing my patience, but I am slowly learning to stop striving and trust that God knows what is best for me. It isn’t easy for me to be still, but I have experienced periods deep stillness over the past year. The stillness that came in those moments created beautiful connections that made me want more.

I asked God to breathe new life into me this morning, and He reminded me that He would be happy to if I would stop holding my breath. I smiled when I realized it is impossible for Him to breathe into me when I’m already full. I know it’s a survival response to hold my breath, but it has become a habit with me. I’m not sure when the habit started, but I think it may have begun when I almost drowned at five.

I tend to hold on to that which I should release to God. Like holding my breath, it keeps me from the new life He envisions. He will never force me to let go of my breath, but He will give me a sweet sense of peace when I relax long enough to catch a deep breath of His Son’s sweet love. Breathing is involuntary, but fear can break its natural rhythm. Hearing God gently bid me to exhale reminded me that His love banishes fear.

Nothing is better for the heart than breathing deeply, and nothing is better for the spirit that exhaling completely and allowing God to breathe new life deeply into my heart. It is what revival is all about, and I’m ready for a revival!

Embracing the New:)

I love beginning a new year. I seldom go out on the town and end the old year sound asleep, but I love waking up to a brand new year. Like a blank canvas or sheet of paper, the new year begs for me to begin a new story, a new painting, a new song, or just a new doodle:) It doesn’t matter as long as it’s new.

Getting stuck in old habits is a common problem, but I’m learning to get rid of the old habits that keep me from moving forward. I catch myself slipping backward at times, and it’s great to toss those thoughts that don’t belong.  As I pack and move to my new home, I’m loving letting go of stuff I don’t like, need or want. Like the new year, the new place begs for me to begin anew. I love having a big blank canvas and am embracing the emptiness as I clean and prepare for the new furnishings.

Moving is a lot of work, and I’m sore right down to my bones.  I’ve been sleeping like a baby after all the physical labor, the laughter, and thoughts of living with my son and his sweet family. It is the stuff of peace-filled sleep, and I’m loving it.

I was astounded by the quiet at the house. I’m used to traffic and noise, so the silence got my attention when I was there alone. I stopped, looked out the window, and thanked God. I have to say that I am praying more often than ever in my life. I can’t help but pray each time I walk by a window, hear a loved one, or look at the girls running around the house. God answered my prayer for deeper understanding of His love in a beautiful, unexpected way:)

Mylah went to the wire rack where I kept their little books at my apartment and gave me a puzzled look. I decided to put their books in my bookcase under the beautiful stairway and use the wire rack for my books.  When Mylah brought my copy of “Practice the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence, I asked her what she thought of his ideas on living in God’s kingdom now.

She smiled that sweet little smile of hers and dropped it on the floor. Kids know how to practice the presence of God until we teach them to pay attention to us!! There were no pictures in this book, so she dropped it on the floor and grabbed Langston Hughes and dropped it too. We quickly showed her the mountain of books ready to go in the bookshelf by the rocker. She found one she recognized, grinned, and handed it to me:)

Gina and Rita created a beautiful place for reading while I played with the girls. I absolutely love it! It’s a perfect example of what a difference it makes when you let go of the old and embrace the new. Books are where they belong, and all’s right in the world.

New Beginnings:)

It’s December 1st, and the month promises to be an amazing one. God has made it clear that He has new beginnings in store for me. Yesterday, I went to see the home I will share with my son’s sweet family beginning on January 1st:) For a decade, I’ve lived alone as my journey involved a new beginning on September 1st, 2002 when I left my marriage of twenty-nine years. I’ve done a lot of hiding during the past decade, but I’m ready for the open spaces God has in mind for me.

As I toured the beautiful house, my heart felt right at home. I’m ready for company, and I can’t think of anyone with whom I’d rather share a home than my son and his family. Lillyann was so excited that Gigi was going to be living with her, and little Mylah gave me a smile that took me back to when her daddy was her age. Living together is what God has in mind for His children, and my grandmother lived with us for six months out of the year until she died.

Grandmother Banning was a big part of my life. I loved sharing meals with her, and I used to sit in wonder as she braided her long hair each morning and twisted it into a bun. She would unwind her bun and take out the braid each evening before going to bed. I can still hear her humming and singing as she sewed. She loved to sew, and mama had to tear the hems out of pillow cases and clothing to keep her busy.

During my mini-skirt phase in the sixties, grandmother would pull at my shirt as I walked by and ask if there was a hem that could be let out:) Lilly Belle Banning was a quiet presence who sewed and helped with household chores. I don’t recall playing with her, but I know we interacted. I pray that I will be a loving presence in the lives of Lillyann and Mylah and plan to play and enjoy the precious time I have with them. I know God will continue teaching me through them. I may be in for some graduate studies:)

Three years ago, my heart made some serious changes as I learned I could love and walk in God’s kingdom before I got to heaven. The journey took a turn that challenged my heart but taught it the importance of honest communion when it comes to loving and living as God desires. Love is not as complicated as we humans tend to make it. God is love, and He wants me to love Him and those in my path. It isn’t rocket science, but it does require a level of honesty that would have made me shrink away three years ago.

The lessons in love prepared my heart to open up and give God the space He desires. I had to smile when I saw the windows in the house. Natural light flooded the rooms, and breath-taking views of beautiful mountains were at every turn. I could not only see God as I looked in and out of those windows, I could feel His love pouring into my heart like the sunlight pouring into the rooms. Arthur Brisbane said that a picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll use one rather than try to describe the scene.

Heavenly Light:)
Heavenly Light:)

God not only opened doors, He placed some amazing windows in my path yesterday. I love it when He wows me, and He definitely wowed me yesterday. I may just stand and stare out the windows and pray that I never take Him or His beautiful handiwork for granted. The open floor plan, the windows, and the beautiful pool overwhelmed me, but the look on Lillyann’s face when she squealed, “I’m so excited!” and Mylah’s sweet grin were the best features of the home.

I love a new day, a new month, a new year, and a new song! God’s timing is always perfect, and His plan is so much better than my own.  Jeremiah 33 and Psalm 96 have reminded me  this week that God is a god of new beginnings, and He has a special one in mind for me. That makes me want to squeal like Lillyann:)