Breathing With Friends, week 1

Okay, Lord. Here we go on this new adventure You have set before me. This is the first week of the plans You have laid before me, as I wrote to You about in my last post Catching My Breath. I am so grateful and excited about this Breathe Ladies Bible Study that You are allowing me to do with Keitha and Sarah! Keitha will be leading us on this study… Breathe: Making Room for Sabbath written by Priscilla Shirer.

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As I have arrived, I am so nervous. It’s been awhile since I have been able to see some of the ladies. I am also missing Irene being able to do a study with me. I miss her going with me to church, ladies events, and just being here. I know I will see her in heaven, and I thank You for giving her a loving home and pain free life. I just miss her. ❤ Hug her for me!

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You encourage me with the thought of seeing Sarah, Keitha, and other familiar faces I am sure I will see. Everyone loves doing a bible study with Keitha! Just to spend time with her is a precious gift from You! We ladies know that when You have Keitha leading, we WILL be given a MEATY serving of Your Holy Word, and that we will have MEANINGFUL and LOVING conversations, and of course a lot of LAUGHS! You tell us laughter is good medicine… so that makes Keitha good medicine! 😉

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine:
but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
– Proverbs 17:22 KJV

As I go inside the church I have never been in before, I get in line and meet a couple of new friends… Carol and Pat are my new sisters in Christ! As we talk, the person in front of them turns around and I see a familiar face! Stephanie! We are so excited to say hey because it has been so long! Last time I saw her she was single. We had kept up in touch via FB, so I knew she was married now. 2 years they have been married already! It was so nice to be able to catch up! We got signed in, got our books, a paper summarizing an outline for the study, and went to find a seat at the table.

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Sarah! We see Sarah right off to our right and were able to sit with her! It was such a gift to catch up with her as well! I was hoping to find out how her infant nephew was doing. He is doing better, but is still in the NICU with underdeveloped lungs. It is taking a toll on her sister and brother in law. It was Sarah who had given me a heads up about the study and put my name on a list that allowed me to receive the email from Keitha! Thank you, Sarah!
We all did some fellowshipping and snacks while Keitha went over what we would be doing. We then went around the table, each lady telling her name, her church, and something she loves to do to relax. It was awesome to hear so many different backgrounds! At least 10 different churches, some even “looking” (I like that word better than unchurched), and so many different ways to relax: reading, napping, massages, sitting in a porch swing, going out of town, time with family, hiking, running, exercising, exploring graveyards, spa visits, hair salon visits, shopping, and many more. We even did door prizes.

Then we went to watch the Priscilla Shirer video made for the study.

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We took notes as we listened to fill in the blanks.
This was week one: The Freedom of the Sabbath

 

We had discussion afterwards on the video, the notes, and just in general. We then gathered in a circle, some holding hands, as we took prayer requests, and prayed. Lastly, we were each given a book marker with a bible verse relating to the study.

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It was such a blessing to be able to do this study, Lord! Thank You for including me! Thank You for letting me see Sarah, Keitha, Stephanie, so many familiar faces, and meeting new sisters in Christ! ❤ I pray for each one of the prayer requests mentioned (and unspoken), each lady attending (an unable to make it), for all our families, for the church who opened their doors for us, for those who brought and/or served snacks, for those who served in any way, and for anyone that You know needs a special prayer. Praise You, God!

Oh and I did do my homework! 😉

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Catching My Breath

Sitting here in this car, Lord, I had to pull off somewhere. I needed to get away from the frustrations, and the world choking me with petty quarrels. I needed so desperately to find a moment with You. I pulled as far away from traffic and people as possible. I have the car turned off, the windows downs, and my eyes closed. I take in a deep breath. My body appreciates it, but I’m still struggling to hear You. And somehow that breath doesn’t seem complete… or like it’s enough. So many thought running through my mind… including… “Well do I pray? Do I listen first? How long should I listen before I pray? Are You trying to talk to me? Want me to talk to You? Or just listen.”

I hear traffic. I hear birds. I hear the wind. They’re distracting noises. So I apologize for allowing my thoughts to wonder. Yet as I apologize You seem to say, “Be still. Listen.” I try to focus again. Here I go apologizing again for anything that comes to mind or that I hear. And You tell me with emphasis, “Be still! Stop worrying about how you should think or what you hear, or even what comes to mind. Be completely still. Listen! What ever you hear… listen to it. Whatever comes to mind, think on it. Just be still… listen.. and be.” 

Suddenly I hear the birds sing. I hear the wind, as I feel it blowing through the car, being so tenderly playful with my hair, feeling so cool on my skin. And then the blog I did called Look Up, and the one called CHOOSE LIFE come to mind. I am reminded to look up. And so I do. **light gasp** Oh how marvelously wonderful You are! I see You… in Your beautiful sky! The firmament in which You have placed such gorgeous dark clouds. Any other day I might been weary of them. I have experienced the importance of reading bad clouds. You use these thoughts to remind me of what You’ve brought me through… of times when You were there. And how You looked after me.

Now You have me close my eyes so that I can see You… YOU! I see warm light. I feel You. I see You! How my heart smiles! I feel Your breath coming through the window… breathing Your Spirit over me… breathing in me new life. It flows over me so mercifully. I soak it up as long as I can. I have forgotten everything else. It reminds me John 20:19-22:

Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.

I feel such a calm. I can feel my body relax all over… completely relax. I am mindful of this because very time I go to a doctor’s appointment, or any of my therapists, I am told I can’t relax. Even when they help me to relax more than when I came in, they tell me my body cannot “completely relax“. They say my body is “holding onto the stress” in whatever area they are working with. They say they need to “retrain my brain” to communicate with that area. Electronic testing shows there is very poor communication… sometimes it’s my brain not sending the signal, and sometimes it’s the affected area not responding to the signal. So even just this moment with You is golden! You are telling me to, “Let go. Stop holding onto the stress… even the strings to it. Give everything to me… and breathe. Just be”.

Life calls and interrupts. I knew the moment would be brief. That was part of the stress. How to make 10 minutes be a meaningful moment to Be still and know that [You] are God. Psalm 46:10. You have reminded me that “I” don’t make it meaningful… You do! Just by being there! ❤ However, it’s time to take my son to work. On the way, he wants to play the radio and hears a favorite song. He turns it up and tells me to pay attention. When it’s over another song comes on. **GASP** You are so awesomely personal!! ❤ A song comes on singing our very personal conversation… “Just breathe… Just Breathe. And be… just be“..

Just to hear him say this… and actually pause… with a very well played music to draw you right in to a dramatic pause. I instantly take in a deep breath… a good one. And oh… the release is just as relaxed and complete. How can a song do this? With Your touch, of course! I YouTube it when I get home. The opening pace seems a little quick and annoys me at first, but as I read the words while I listen I realize it’s perfect. It’s describing and sounding like the frantic pace in my life… in my brain. Yet again, as soon as it sings the first line of that chorus, and I draw in that DEEP breath. As I breathe out I am no longer affected by the other quick part, sometimes I don’t even hear it because I have followed the words to Your chorus exactly where You said to go. And oh, was it wonderful.

CHORUS:
Breathe, just breathe

Come and rest at my feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe

I read the other lines, and each word is like confessing all those little things that vie for my time, and my peace of mind. Well, except the coffee. For me it would be tea or soda.

Alarm clock screaming bare feet hit the floor
It’s off to the races everybody out the door
I’m feeling like I’m falling behind, it’s a crazy life
Ninety miles an hour going fast as I can
Trying to push a little harder trying to get the upper hand
So much to do in so little time, it’s a crazy life
It’s ready, set, go it’s another wild day
When the stress is on the rise in my heart I feel you say just
Third cup of joe just to get me through the day
Want to make the most of time but I feel it slip away
I wonder if there’s something more to this crazy life
I’m busy, busy, busy, and it’s no surprise to see
That I only have time for me, me, me
There’s gotta be something more to this crazy life
I’m hanging on tight to another wild day
When it starts to fall apart in my heart I hear you say just
So I sing these words (or really listen because it’s less stressful 😉 ), tapping along. I definitely feel like I’m falling behind all of the time, as though I’m going 90 miles an hour, I love how that 2nd stanza ends with “when the stress is on the rise in my heart (with that rising rapid beat in rhythm and sound) I feel you say just... And that therapeutic chorus comes. **SIGH** I am in complete peace with You!
It’s amazing how “I can be busy, busy, busy, and it’s no surprise to see that I only have time for me, me, me.” I mean we’re taught if we’re busy it gets our mind off of ourselves. But if my alone time is so busy that all I am focused on is “Am I?” “Do I? “How do I? “What do I?” That is just me, me, me. I need to be silent. Not just outside of my head. Because it is then that “when [my day] starts to fall apart in my heart I hear you just say… Just breathe…” I can come and rest at Your feet. I don’t care if chaos is calling. I only hear You. You are all I need! ❤
You finish with instructing me on WHY I need to breathe.
Is to take it in, fill your lungs
The peace of God that overcomes
Just breathe (just breathe)
let your weary spirit rest
Lay down what’s good and find what’s best
Just breathe (just breathe)
After I sing for a bit, I come across a FB Inbox Message from my dear friend Sarah letting me know that our dear friend Keitha has will be leading an upcoming ladies bible study. Then I receive an e-mail from Keitha with all of the info. And what was the name of the bible study…. 🙂 BREATHE!!! ❤ I am so excited, and so thrilled to know you have plans for me! And with such precious friends! You had been speaking to me, encouraging me to be involved in an activity with the church ladies. You worked everything out according to Your well laid plans… according to Your Holy Will! ❤
SO now I will lay my head to rest, thinking on Psalm 4:4:
Stand in awe, and sin not:
commune with your own heart upon your bed,
and be still. Selah.