Three Steps to Help the Breathless Breathe

You don’t have to be a runner to be breathless. The woman in the express lane ahead of me was just that. She swiped her credit card, looked at me and asked, “Do you have the day off?”

“I do,” I said. “How about you?”

She was flushed. “No, I’m trying to run as many errands as I can during my lunch hour so I can rush home after work.”

She was clearly rattled. I responded, “Take deep breaths as you drive back to work. You’ll feel better.”

She didn’t wait until she got into her vehicle. As she put her credit card in her handbag and her bags in the cart, she took two cleansing breaths. “Thank you,” she said. “That feels better already.”

As women some of the beautiful things we may pass down from generation to generation include a love of reading, gardening, decorating, organization, and most important, faith.

But faith is more often caught than taught. Children hear better with their eyes than with their ears. Had I asked this woman if she wanted her children to grow up frazzled, always feeling rushed and drained, I believe she’d have given me an emphatic no. Since it was evident she didn’t want this for herself, she certainly wouldn’t desire it for those who follow behind her!

But here’s the thing. Some weeks leave us breathless. Things happen that we didn’t plan. People get sick, move, or celebrate monumental milestones that require extra planning. Some seasons of life are packed full with little to no margin for anything extra.

So how do the breathless, catch their breath? What should be done when we “feel like butter scraped over too much bread”? (Bilbo Baggins) These are the questions I wrestle with in an intense season of writing and speaking deadlines. Here are three ways to help the breathless, breathe.

  1. Begin the day with God. When your feet swing from the bed to the floor, stretch and say “Good morning, God! I bless you! I need you! I can’t do this day without you!” From the moment you wake until your head hits the pillow again, whether you’re in the Word or in the world, seek to live in his presence and rely on his power and provision. “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” (Psalm 5:3)
  2. Breathe. It’s more than taking air into your lungs (though cleansing breaths do cleanse!). It’s a breath prayer that invites the divine into the daily. If you’re feeling breathless or panicked, pause. Look up and remind your heart that he is God and you are not. “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.” (Isaiah 40:28)
  3. Be. You are not the sum of what you do, but who you really are. Listen to what God says about you! You are accepted, valued, cherished, deeply loved, and enough. Not because you checked everything off the list, but because of who you are in Jesus. Not because of your behavior, but because of your birth into him. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

May God, who gives breath to all things, help the breathless breathe for your good and his glory.

Three Lessons Learned from Mr. Rogers

After the attacks on Paris a Fred Rogers’ quote began trending on social media. Rogers said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

While we can sit slack-jawed at horrific headlines, Mr. Rogers shifted the focus from the horror mongers to the helpers. He encouraged us to look for those who were propping each other up instead of tearing each other to pieces. To be part of the binding instead of the breaking.

And as I considered the wisdom of Fred’s mother, I thought of other things Mr. Rogers had taught me. Maybe you can, too.

Just show up. Without fail Mr. Rogers showed up at the same time everyday on our tiny Continue reading “Three Lessons Learned from Mr. Rogers”

Someone Needs You to Believe in Them Today

I can still feel the sting of his sarcasm. I was absorbed in my schoolwork when a popular boy in our 7th grade class leaned in and whispered, “You will make a great poet someday!”

Stunned that he acknowledged my existence and spoke into my secret dream of writing, I asked why.

“Because you remind me of Longfellow,” he sneered. “Look at your feet!”

No need to look. I was painfully aware my feet were longer than his. Maybe the biggest in the class. I tucked them under my chair and took another step deeper into my insecurities. I believed the lie that good plans didn’t belong to ordinary girls like me.

What I didn’t recognize at the time was the work of a bigger bully seeking to steal, kill and destroy a young woman God called His own. (John 10:10)

Can you identify where war has been waged against God’s plans and purpose for you?

One of my battlefields was middle school. In one classroom was a bully, but in the next was Mrs. B. My favorite teacher had this red pen that was always, always with her. That pen was in constant motion, and it did its share of correcting.

But much more than that, it encouraged. Mrs. B. used her red words and her real love for Continue reading “Someone Needs You to Believe in Them Today”