Just Breathe!

learning to breathe pic

I don’t know what to say. Do I have any words to inspire?? Today was one difficult day. Many of you know that I have been struggling with my health and living in bed with severe pain for almost 2 years now. I have a number of symptoms on top of the pain, and some are harder than others.

Last night I struggled just to keep myself breathing. You know how it feels when you go for a run and you’ve maxed out on your mileage and your body is sore and everything in you is saying “STOP”…. So you fight just to take another step…well that’s how it felt breathing. I felt like I was running a marathon and I had to fight just to keep breathing in and out.

I’ve had problems breathing ever since the car accident. My doctor told me that I injured the part of my brain that controls those automatic functions, like heart rate, blood flow, and breathing. Ever since then I have days where I notice I’ve stopped breathing and all of a sudden I have to make a conscious effort to breathe. All of the sudden something that is supposed to be the most automatic thing we do, I have to make a conscious effort to do.

So here I am last night telling myself “breathe in… breathe out” everything in my body was so exhausted it was telling me to stop breathing because it was so exhausted… but that’s not really an option is it?? LOL I can’t even take a break from “breathing.”

It’s humbling to lose control of something that is supposed to be so easy. Even my baby niece can breathe with no thoughts, no struggle she just breathes. I asked my mom to come into my room and be with me. My body felt so horrible, and I just needed my “mommy.” It feels weird after being such an independent person, to now be older and more helpless. To be 22 years old and asking my “mommy” to just sit with me as I struggled to breathe. She laid by me, and prayed for me quietly… and I noticed her putting her hand on my back just to “check” and make sure I was still breathing…

I’m reminded of the song “Oxygen” by Building 429 that talks about how God needs to be our “oxygen”.

“If I could just breathe you in, I’d be sure to hold my breath. Cause you are my oxygen, bringing me to life.”

In the midst of these times where my body is really struggling and I just feel exhausted from fighting to keep my body alive… those are the moments that I have to remind myself to ask God to pour His grace on me… It’s like I think if I ask every morning for God to give me “grace and strength” to get through the day, then I am good. Then I have to do my part and just suck it up and push through the pain. But God keeps reminding me to ask Him every minute of the day that I need help… And sometimes that’s A LOT of “minutes.”

No elaborate prayer I just say out loud “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus… Help me, help me, help me. Grace, grace, grace.”

Psalm 107:28-30 “Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and He brought them to their desired haven.”

If we go a few minutes without oxygen all we can do is struggle to breathe… Why don’t we do that with the Lord?? I don’t mean that every few minutes we have to read our Bibles, pray an elaborate prayer, and spin around in circles saying “hallelujah.” No. That’s so “religious” so legalistic, and sometimes so boring. Why do we put God in boxes??

Sometimes all we need to do is just breathe in His Spirit like we breathe in oxygen.

All I know is that my body feels like it’s crashing and falling apart until I get a breath of heaven… Until I ask God for His grace. Until I spend time being with Him… And then I go from “falling apart” to “I’m ok. I can do this with Him.”

I need Him like I need oxygen. Sometimes I don’t want to be annoying to God… always complaining and always asking Him to help me… but I realize that He wants me to be closer to Him than to anyone else…so that I will ask Him for help even when I have a hard time asking others for help.

He has to be my source of life, of strength, of endurance. And when I look to Him to be that source for me, He is…yes, sometimes He touches my pain or my breathing right away and I’ll notice things get better. Other times nothing changes physically. But I feel rejuvenated with a new strength and perseverance to keep going.

So I just want to encourage you to go to Him about everything. Ask Him for help in anything. There is no limit on how many times you can cry out to Him daily, asking for grace just to get through another minute. Sometimes He answers your prayers the way you want, other times He doesn’t… but He will still answer.

When we are thirsty and we take a drink of water, we don’t expect it to quench our thirst for the rest of the day. We keep drinking and taking a sips throughout the day. Or when we are breathing we don’t expect to take one breath and then be good for the day, we have to breathe throughout the day just to keep going.

Well, when we ask God for grace or strength we can’t just expect to be good for the day, we have to keep going back to Him and taking a “breath” of Him to keep alive.

1 Thes 5:17 says “pray without ceasing.” That means never stop… no I’m NOT saying we should be all “religious” or “legalistic” and say some long eloquent prayer. Sometimes just saying His name is enough… sometimes that’s all you can get out… but the name of Jesus is powerful, so call on it, on Him, and He will fill you with what you need to get through. Whether that is strength to push through, or brokenness to fall on your knees and get closer to Him.

Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”


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4 Responses to Just Breathe!

  1. Matt Frank says:

    I’m sorry to hear about whT you are going through. I just found your blog and I am also facing hardships I never dreamt possible. I am 32 and have a wife and two amazing little boys that are the light of my life. Jesus is my savior and hearing what you are facing makes me remember I’m not alone. One day 17 months ago I was trying to show my oldest (3 at the time) how to do a somersault. I did it off a couch onto some pillows and they collapsed and my full weight came down on my neck. At the time I didn’t think much of it but I damaged my brachial plexus nerve which started a chain reaction in my nervous system resulting in an a-typical case of CRPS (chronic regional pain syndrome). By now every inch of my body is in pain. The worst areas move around but the worst is my joints, shoulders, and low back. Although I am able to walk, it isn’t very far and on bad days I can barely get out of bed. I thought this kind of thing would only happen to someone who is in the twilight years of their life, not a thirtysomething who loves the outdoors, rock climbing, camping, fishing, you name it. I am on nine different prescriptions, and the equal of 20 or more Percocet every day for pain. Only last week that we finally received the diagnosis and now I am heading to the Mayo Clinic to attempt to confirm it. Often times people who are in chronic pain or misunderstood and thought to be taking advantage of the system. But those of us who are in that kind of pain know better. I pray that the Lord strengthens you and brings a miraculous healing despite the years of no answers and no healing. I still believe God has a purpose for my life. And if my pain and bring glory to him then I will praise him for it. But that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been difficult. If I didn’t have the Word if Life in my spirit and my wonderful family, I would not be here today.

    May the Lord bless you and keep you, may His face shine upon you this day.

  2. Natalie says:

    Thanks Rachel. This is a great reminder in the midst of hard circumstances. I’m encouraged by this today! I pray that you can rest today – in His life-giving, comforting arms.

  3. psalmsheb says:

    I love you SOOOOO much. I am sitting here with tears rolling down my cheeks… Holding you gently and firmly on my lap… close to my heart, knowing that Jesus is holding us both

  4. Rachel, you and mom are very much in my thoughts and prayers. I have no words for you. You are a living testimony. A very close friend of us from Germany, who worked as a missionary in India when i was in my 20s had a son here who had multiple problems. He had too many operations and he is in his 20s now and recently he had 4 surgery. The family is in germany now. In all this experience he does not want to believe Jesus. I am proud of you. I am grateful to God that you are still holding on to Him. Would you please pray for this young man to come to the Lord. I am sending your link to his father. I believe God can heal you. I donot know why His time has not come as yet. But He never, no never makes a mistake. Hold on to Him. Love you

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