"Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!"
I mean it. Go on and exhale. You know - deep breath in, deeper breath out.
My watch has a feature on it that made me laugh at first. Periodically, I would feel it vibrate on my wrist and then I would see its colorful prompting to remind me to take a moment to breathe. It seemed laughable... until I tried it. I realized I couldn't remember the last time I allowed myself time to inhale slowly and then to simply breathe it out.
There was no time for such nonsense in the harried life of a teacher, wife, and mother. Until you realize how desperate you are to breathe anyway. Then, oh then, you make time. It's like making a doctor's appointment after feeling awful for weeks. Suddenly, you're all better. Suddenly, you're willing to make all those changes you've "been meaning to" make. When your body starts to show you all the signs that you really should have been intentional about taking care of yourself, or at the very least taking the time to breathe, you start listening.
I'm thirty-five and I'm teaching myself to breathe again. How silly is that?
I'm teaching myself to stop racing toward the next stop and to see what surrounds me where I stand. I am learning to look long in the eyes of my ever-changing children, to listen intently to their stories that can (to be brutally honest) sometimes seem irrelevant to find just what it is they are needing to tell me. I ask my husband how his day was, then sit and listen. I am more willing to step over the toys in the bedrooms of my little ones as I watch them disappear from the bedrooms of my big ones. Life is moving fast and I am unwillingness to make it move any faster.
I am more willing to slow my pace as I watch the finish line come into sight.
Forever five minutes late, I am learning to be more intentional about allowing myself the freedom to walk out the door before every.little.thing. has been thought of and I'm learning to show myself grace when I still fall short or show up late. I'm finding that balance between reaching for dreams and being comfortable in my own skin. Fifteen years of growing a family has been so beautiful and yet so daunting. I've been changing diapers and tying shoes, advocating and protecting, bathing and instructing, packing backpacks and signing folders, driving to practices and refereeing fights so many hours of so many days that I think I forgot somewhere along the way that I should be intentional with my own days, too.
Surely I'm not alone.
It's all good because the Lord has been incredibly faithful, filling me as I pour into them. He's held us together, guided our steps, given us a hope and future far beyond anything we could have ever created for ourselves even if we were trying our very best. I wouldn't change a thing. I simply don't want to miss a thing in the days to come. Instead of chasing every whim, I want to chase Him. I want what He wants. I long for Him to establish the work of my hands, to live a life of more purpose and less panic. I want to focus on what He has set before me and trust Him more with all that is to come. I want to see like He sees and love like He loves - everyone including myself.
So. Yeah. That's where I am.
Forgive me while I'm a little haphazard with my writing over here.
I'm learning to breathe again.
With every breath, may I praise Him more.