Friday, January 5, 2018

Breathe on Me, Breath of God


Genesis 2:7
Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

The breath of life . . .

How many of us pay attention to our breathing?  It is something that transpires within us automatically.  It is a function of living.  We don't need to think about it.

Or do we?

On Thanksgiving morning of last year, I awake at my mother's home with searing pain in the right side of my neck and shoulder.  Agony is too kind a word to describe the sensation.  It is all I can do to maneuver the 11 pound turkey into the roasting pan and place it in the oven in preparation for the rest of the family arriving at noon.  My granddaughter, Virginia Rose, witnessing the frequent grimaces on my face, is so worried about me.  I reassure her that I'll be fine, but I'm popping Tylenol more liberally than I care to admit.

And I question in prayer, "Lord, where did this come from?  Why the sudden onslaught of excruciating discomfort?  Is this my thorn in the side?  Why now, when Mom needs my help so badly?  Please, it it's Your will, let this pain depart."

It abates.  Slightly.  But it seems, as I drive home after the Thanksgiving holiday, it is determined to persist.

As this condition continues, my husband, Danny, who has been faithfully visiting a chiropractor, Dr. Cris, for treatment of his right shoulder, which seemed to practically lock up in reaction to his many recent surgeries in that area of his body, advises me to try the same.  "Martha, it can't hurt to try.  I have so much more movement in my shoulder since I began this treatment.  I'm sure Dr. Cris can help.  Trust me."

I trust.

And I am not disappointed.

By the second visit, Dr. Cris has figured out the source of my distress.  She explains:  "Martha, this is not so much an issue of spinal alignment as it is your body trying to readjust to being normal and in sync with its former rhythms.  With all Danny and you endured this past year, you have been in 'fight or flight' mode for months.  Now that things have calmed down, your muscles simply don't know what to do as they try to relax and adjust.  This is where the treatments will help, but you need to do something else that will accelerate healing."

"What's that?"  I ask, desperate to know.

"It's as simple as breathing," says Dr. Cris.  "We naturally breathe using our diaphragms until we reach the age of ten, or so.  Somehow, at this time, we forget how we are meant to breathe, and begin to send all our efforts to the lungs.  It's time to reeducate yourself, train yourself to breathe correctly.  I promise, this will not only calm you on the inside, but will heal you in the long run."

Dr. Cris then gives me a simple exercise to begin monitoring my breathing and become more aware of the process.  Am I skeptical?  Yes.  But I'm willing, in my current condition, to try anything.

And guess what?

It works!!!

Yes, I am still practicing, thinking, being conscious of my breathing, but lo and behold, my pain has lessened substantially, and I now catch myself diaphragm-breathing even when I'm not purposely attempting it!

So is it any wonder that my word for 2018, the one which chose me, is Breathe?  And as I work through the year to master this peaceful and fulfilling method of breathing, I will also cherish the knowledge that God first breathed life into me that I might fulfill His purposes for me on earth.

So stop right where you are, my friends.

Take several deep breaths from the bottom of your "tummy."

And tell me how you feel.

May the breath of God breathe blessings upon you all in the New Year and beyond!

Amen!

32 comments:

  1. Once Upon a Time the lord gave me breathing lessons in the spirit.he put his mouth on my mouth and breathed. This happened two or three times. I felt like he was giving me new life he was but he was also teaching me to breathe. Well several weeks or months later I don't remember a head-on collision collapsed my lung I had enough breath to say the name Jesus and I could breathe a little better. Oddly and graciously I crashed in front of a fire station and they brought me oxygen.
    Dearly loved this piece you wrote Martha.

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    1. Wow, Kim, what an amazing story you have shared here! God's breathing lessons, I'm sure, saved you life after your accident. He's still working the miraculous in our lives each and every day. Thank you for telling us all about your miracle.
      Love and blessings!

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  2. Those of us who have asthma and allergies know this problem well. Glad you solved your pain-in-the-neck!

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    1. I'll bet you do, Roy, all too well. And I'm happy that the pain in my neck is/was the only pain-in-the-neck I have in my life - LOL!
      Love and blessings!

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  3. "the one which chose me"

    Amen!

    This was encouraging to read. Thanks for sharing it!

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    1. So glad you found this post encouraging, Sandi. That means so much!
      Love and blessings!

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  4. I took LaMaze classes YEARS ago and have used deep breathing ever since! AMAZING! Great Analogy!
    Blessings!

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    1. Looking back, Lulu, I don't know why I never did take LaMaze classes when I was expecting. Well, at least my doctor has me catching up with how I should be breathing all the time.
      Love and blessings!

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  5. "Breathe on me breath of God, fill me with life anew..." Oh, I love this one. I have been sitting here breathing deeply ever since I started reading, and I can see what a difference it makes. Thank you...from the bottom of my heart...and diaphragm!!! Just Breathe!!!

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    1. Pamela, I am thrilled that you've been practicing this way of breathing! It does make such a difference, doesn't it? I'm still in practice mode, but hope that by year's end, this is simply a natural part of my life.
      When I chose the title, my thoughts turned to a contemporary Christian song, "Awake My Soul." The beginning goes: "Breathe on me, breath of God, breathe on me . . . I come alive, I'm alive when You breathe on me . . ." Yes, we come alive in Him!
      Love and blessings!

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  6. Yes indeed, those deep breaths do calm and heal!! Thanks for the reminder!

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    1. Amen, Terri, they really do! I'm still learning and reminding myself, but this whole exercise has been so healing for me, and I hope it will be for others.
      Love and blessings!

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  7. amazing story and so glad it made a difference. I know when i pray, it helps to be conscious of my breathing to slow me down to hear God. Have a wonderful weekend, Martha!

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    1. Yes, Jean, I do believe this type of breathing does silence us on the inside, preparing our soul to hear God speaking to us. I'm going to incorporate this breathing into my reflection/prayer time as the year unfolds. You have a wonderful weekend, too!
      Love and blessings!

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  8. Praying that you and your husband are soon well again. Thank you for a wonderful and thoughtful post, Martha.

    God bless.

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    1. Thank you, Victor, for your prayers and concern. Yes, we are well on the right road to finding healing and relief, and I'm so grateful for the loving God who has shown us the way.
      Love and blessings!

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  9. I'm so glad the chiropractor could help you, Martha. She sounds knowledgable and caring. What she says makes sense. :) I'm so glad you're past that stressful time! Since I deal with lung disease, I often have to remind myself to do the diaphragm breathing. The therapists really stressed that when I went to Pulmonary Rehab. "May the breath of God breathe blessings upon you" as well! Love and hugs to you!

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    1. Oh, dear, Trudy, I didn't know about your issues with lung disease! I will add this to the prayers I'm already praying for you. May your breaths be deep and long, and full of God's blessings, too, my friend!
      Love and blessings!

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  10. Wow! What an amazing post, Martha! I learned all about deep breathing/breathing with my diaphragm when I took voice lessons. Breathing correctly really does help! Concentrating on our breathing seems to help with pain, as well as getting focused and more.

    Love and blessings!

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    1. Yes, Kim, amazingly this type of breathing can also be directed into the area of pain one is experiencing. I'm planning on consciously integrating this practice into prayer and reflection time as well as Bible study. It can be difficult to teach an old dog a new trick, but I'm determined!
      Love and blessings!

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  11. Martha, what an interesting post. A few years ago, I would have been skeptical too. However, a dear friend of mine is a Life Coach. She spoke to me about breathing exercises and relaxation. Wow! It really works.
    I love the way you tie our breathing back to the One who gives us our breath. Beautiful, my friend. I'm glad you're feeling better too!

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    1. Yes, Beckie, it's truly amazing how such a simple, involuntary act as breathing can make such an incredible difference in the quality of one's life. It helps me to practice it when I remember that my every breath is a gift from God.
      Love and blessings!

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  12. I don't normally comment or read much on the weekends Martha, but just felt I had to. This is excellent. Cyclists are told to breathe through the diaphragm when climbing. It is a hard discipline to master but it is actually better. Glad you are finding relief and I pray Breathe will be "real" to you this year.

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    1. That is a neat fact to know about cyclists, Bill! From all the comments here, I'd say this type of breathing is the only way to go, especially when times call for us to pedal uphill. Thank you, my friend, for your prayers, too.
      Love and blessings!

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  13. Hi Martha! I totally am sold on chiropractic since going to one for my back. My problem was 'simple' too. I wasn't using my abdominal muscles, but instead, making my back do all the work. No wonder it rose up to complain!

    I'm so glad that you're feeling better now, I can't imagine how scary it was to feel so much pain, and on a holiday too. I think breathing is a wonderful word for the new year. Breathe deeply and take in the joy and healing of the Spirit!
    Grace and blessings,
    Ceil

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    1. Ouch, Ceil! Back pain is absolutely no fun, and I'm so glad a chiropractor was able to help you and figure out why your back was so stressed out. They are pretty amazing that way, don't you think?
      Yes, I'm feeling much better, and practicing my breathing - it does take some getting used to, but I'm determined. With God's help, I'll breathe easier!
      Love and blessings!

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  14. I love this, Martha! What a good word for the year! And I love when our words choose even more than the other way around. I hope you're continuing to feel better and the year ahead is full of His peace, joy, and countless other blessings. Big Hugs!!

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    1. Yes, Deb, it's absolutely the best when our word chooses us. Yes, I am, thankfully, feeling much better and working on that breathing, thinking how much God has blessed me.
      Love and blessings!

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  15. I periodically consider a chiropractic visit when I have something I think they might be able to help with. But I've never gone. It just seems like too much effort to find one I might trust. ;)

    Dr. Cris sounds like a wise one. I will have to pay more attention to my breathing now, too. :) Happy New Year, Martha.

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    1. Dr. Cris really does know her stuff, that's for sure, Sandra. She is very much into whole health, and has great insight into what will serve us to heal in a way that lasts. If you ever do think you need a chiropractor, I'd ask friends and neighbors if they have any recommendations.
      Happy New Year to you, too!
      Love and blessings!

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  16. Finally getting a chance to read this and I'm so happy I did. I didn't get to read every comment so forgive me if I'm repeating, but in voice lessons, you learn to sing from your diaphragm. You have to breathe from there to get the purest and most complete sound. Just like your breathing and drawing from a "deeper" place, our worship and adoration is intended to come from that place of rest as well. Good breathing is important to all of life! Sorry for your struggles, but so thankful God is using every bit of it to show His goodness and love. Thanks so much, Martha.

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    1. Oh, Jason, please forgive me for taking so long to get back to you! As a musician, I know you know this important aspect of singing. Funny that when I was singing regularly with the praise band, my breathing automatically defaulted to this technique. Now, this type of breathing is slowly becoming incorporated into the every day. How much it relaxes and centers me! And yes, God is showing me His goodness and love in this process.
      Love and blessings!

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