Friday, April 27, 2012

Intentional, Purposeful Breath

It's my last night in North Carolina for now. It's been a week of quiet and naps and books and food and medicine and my family-love and praying and sorting out thoughts and wrestling emotions... all the while, breathing in and out with intention and purpose.

It takes a lot of energy, you know - slow, deep breath in, slow exhale until empty, breathe in all that good, salty aerosol. The respiratory therapist named Rex called the mouthpiece for the nebulizer my "peace pipe." I smoke it like a good asthma patient, silently trying to imagine what the moisture-fog is actually doing inside me... I'm told it reduces inflammation in the lungs, so in a way I guess it brings peace to some of the angry and anxious places deep down. So in and out I breathe and pray for the Spirit to bring peace, to ease inflammation, in other places, too.

After the nebulizer comes vibration - shake it up! In the hospital ICU, there was a very fancy bed that vibrated and moved all over... When I was promoted to 6th floor status, the bed was not so impressive, but there was a huge vibration piece that reminded me very much of the buffers used to polish the Tin Man in the merry old land of Oz. At home, we have a thing that looks like a big wand that does the job. In Fort Wayne, my bed can vibrate, so that will do the job. At any rate, my left side gets a nice massage and my voice sounds all gravely if I try to talk. Again, I wonder at what is going on inside of me... mini earthquakes, an unsettling, like tilling the ground to make sure it stays soft and airy. Lord, do this in my heart, too. Don't let it get too settled and hard... keep it good, loose, healthy soil that you can use.

Then I must let the cough-assist machine blast a full lung of air in and suck it back out quickly, and try not to fight it but go with it and allow the force to enhance my strength to cough. Rattle? Wheeze? Squeak? (yes, I have done some squeaking.) Clear the throat, cough again from deep down, deep breath again... four sets of five. Mentally, it is hard to relinquish control over the inhale and exhale... like the daily surrender of my control and expectations and schedule and confidence in self. It is not natural, but necessary. So in this exercise, I pray that I will allow the Lord to move me according to his will, and infuse his power into my weakness.

Who knew that breathing treatments twice a day could teach disciplines that would draw me closer to my Lord... breathing in, breathing out...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A part of His story

"I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will be told, in memory of her." ~ Mark 14:9

Can you imagine, being forever personally connected with the message of the gospel of Jesus? To realize that in every country, in every language, throughout the generations, whenever people hear the good news, you are a part of this story too?

I wonder how the poor woman took this prophecy... the woman who was bent low with teary eyes and hanging hair and a broken bottle in her hand and a sweet fragrance all around her. I wonder if she even knew the significance of what she was doing when she did it... or was it just this urge in her to give up and let go of something extravagant that had captivated her for too long... or had she just come to a point where she could hold nothing sacred or precious beside Jesus... nothing at all mattered to her but him, so there was no such thing as waste or expense or value left in her life to hold. "What she has done..." was whole surrender of herself and all she could boast of, and it spilled all over Jesus until nothing was left. Her name, family, relationships, livlihood, background, later life, death - all of that is lost and forgotten, and all that remains is that her life was given completely to the Lord and hidden in him, to be a mention in his gospel, for the sake of his glory.

And because of that decision, that act, she is a part of his story.

What is the gospel? It is good news about Jesus! He came to earth, he lived among us, he healed and restored and blessed and taught and set an example of love, he died so that we could be forgiven and washed clean, he rose again so that we could have victory and life and hope, he taught us how to live and gave us power through the Holy Spirit to do his will and bring glory to him. The gospel is all Jesus and all about Jesus, but also all about Jesus inviting us into his story too. He laid down his life for us, so that we can lay down our lives for him and join him in true, life-giving, transforming relationship that will change ourselves and change the world. If we let go of us and take hold of him there is freedom and joy and peace.

And when we do, we become a part of his story too.