catching my breath

Let everything that breathes praise the Lord. Hallelujah! Psalm 150:6

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This is me four years ago. It was the end of August. My son’s fifth birthday. And I was full. Full of praise and fully expectant. Fully alive. I was happy. That’s because I had an awakening of sorts. My dim spirit was revived as God lifted me from the mire and the muck and made me new. Formed from the dust of the ground, He breathed the breath of life in my nostrils and I became a living being (Genesis 1:7). And a seed was planted in my heart. A calling. A prompt to write coincided with the fresh wind that filled my lungs.

August of 2011 is when I first felt it. And in the following months, I typed up endless words that surged from my heart and soul. Day and night. My energy was boundless. I wrote and wrote for no less than two years. Then I formed a blog. I wrote and wrote two years more. When He inspired me, I moved. Because it was a dream He gave me. And ultimately, that dream – and God – moved me to a huge writing conference last month. I felt assured I was supposed to be there. And yet, my heart felt dulled. My spirit suppressed. When the other women praised God with wild abandon, I stood there with hands to my side. I mumbled the words of the songs till eventually, my lips stilled altogether. I became lifeless. Breathless. And inexplicably, my heart broke right in two.

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The hand of the LORD was on me, and He brought me out by His Spirit and sat me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them. There were a great many of them on the surface of the valley, and they were very dry. Then He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” Ezekiel 37:1-3

I began chasing God four years ago. He was my goal. And the wonder is I found Him. And when I did, I came to life. And when His breath entered my dry bones, He awakened me to my purpose. A calling. Writing was a passion buried deep within but I’d forgotten about it. Didn’t know it lie in wait. And so for the very first time in my life, I was full of conviction. I knew the direction I was headed. However, I kind of put God to the backburner as I began chasing the dream instead.

It was the dream that led me to Concord, NC. And it was there, four years after implantation, I thought I should pluck the dream from my life. Because I quit. The writing conference tripped me up. The message I heard was come away and rest. Be alone. Quiet myself. So I thought I should put writing away altogether. You know, take a year off. Perhaps I just needed to catch my breath.

But then I came to this week. I saw something like this on Facebook…

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Truth is life will always be busy. There will always be storms of some sort. Some misty, some torrential. The art of life, though, is balance. And nimble feet… learning to dance through the puddles when you encounter them along life’s highway. And so I realize my thinking was faulty. Because putting away the very thing God placed inside me to do is not the answer. I will always have moments in which I need to catch my breath. But the wonder is, He is always there ready to give me air. When I am weak, I become strong. Because He is my strength. My source of life. My renewal.

I will cause breath to enter you, and you will live. Ezekiel 37:5

A loved one said something so dismal yesterday. He said he was discussing life with another family member and they don’t believe the golden years exist. In aging, everyone seems to be either sick or tired or depressed. And that makes me so sad. Because this is my family! And where is their hope? Where is their drive to live? Without God, and His life force, is there purpose at all? Are they really living or simply existing?

See, I believe life is a choice. You have to choose how you’re going to live it. And a piece of me knows just where my loved one is coming from. Because at times I feel sad and depressed, too. Like recent days. Just last week, my husband wanted to know when his wife was coming back. That’s because my demeanor has been reminiscent of my “animated corpse” days. This is how I was described two years ago. ( https://pamandersonblog.com/2015/03/04/a-corpse-bride-2/ ) Back then, I wasn’t living – I purely existed. Just a dry bag of bones. Seems the dryness returned…

This Summer, though, I think I just veered off course. I put away that which makes me feel most alive. And writing makes me alive. Because in this season of my soul, it’s one of my purposes. It’s what God places before me. And denying the thing He has for me to do sucks the life right out of me. And for those times when I feel I just don’t have the time to do the thing… He makes the time. If only I put Him first, He seems to pave the way. Puddles and all.

“I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them, My people, and lead you… You will know that I am the LORD, My people, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put My Spirit in you and you will live…”  Ezekiel 37:12-13

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You know, when I attended that writing conference last month, I was beat. Absolutely worn out. Dry. My time with God all but withered away so busy was I chasing my dream. And when I found myself surrounded by 800 women, singing and praising God, I just couldn’t bring myself to join in. It felt false to me. Like I was a fraud or something. After that conference, there was a retreat to plan for. Then a three day family vacation to the lake. By the time the above picture was snapped, I was utterly exhausted. And time with God was severely lacking.

But this week, I renewed my focus. And my aim. My direction became more clear when a certain Scripture captured my full attention yesterday morning. It was Psalm 42. As a deer pants for the water, so my soul longs for you. The words of a Psalmist. Deeply distressed. Disturbed. Downright depressed. However, in the midst of his trouble – or puddle – he said he would yet praise God. In other words, he would praise God anyway. No matter the circumstances.

This is my lesson. No matter the storm, or how deep the puddle, I should do the same. Oh, I may have a bad day or two. But you know, I will praise Him yet. It’s my purpose. It’s what I’m supposed to do. And if I don’t do it, His word assures me even the stones will cry out. That which doesn’t have breath will sing His praises. And here I am, full of breath but at times silent. Hands and arms stilled. But today I know the truth. I am breathing. And that in itself is worth praising. It’s just as Psalm 150 says… “Let everything that has breath praise His name.” And so, in writing, that’s what I aim to do. I praise His name. Hallelujah!

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