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In the Exhale

Lately, it feels like I spend so much time holding my breath. I’m so unsure of the future. I wrestle with the profound unknown that has come to be the present state of my life. There are more questions, than answers. More possibilities than realities. I feel like I just take one step every day and ask the Lord to walk with me into this unknown. I hold my breath, afraid of what is awaiting me or what the Lord may be asking of me.

As I continue to walk this desert experience, I hold tight to Scripture and my faith. I know that the Lord has promised that He will always be with me. “His rod and staff, they give me courage” (Psalm 23). Often I feel alone in this experience, unsure of how to share the depths of my heart and make sense of my feelings.

So as I am driving past a local adoration chapel, I feel the Lord beckon me in….

I walk in and sit down in the soft chair… there is a comfort here. The warmth of the little chapel. The glow of the monstrance. The old lady who tenderly smiles at my presence.

 I’m immediately at peace.

As I lean back on the soft chair, I feel the ache of my shoulders, the stress of the past few days remains there. My head is pounding, my body longs for sleep… but my mind keeps going. So many thoughts… so many boxes to check. I try to clear my mind… and be present.

So I take a deep breath… and I exhale, letting out all the air in one big breath. I felt like it had been hours until now when I had had an opportunity to gather my thoughts and calm myself. In that moment, I felt so much relief as I cleared my lungs and my mind of the burdens of the day thus far. In those fleeting seconds, I experienced… freedom.

It seemed as if to take another inhale would be to allow myself to resume the activities and thoughts that brought so much distraction and stress.

In that moment, the Lord said to my heart, “I come to you….in the exhale.”

During that first five minutes of my quick 20 minute adoration time, the Lord shared this beautiful reflection with me.

When we are tired, worn out, and exhausted from tackling all the duties and responsibilities of the day, that is when we can more readily receive the Lord. He comes to us at the point when we have nothing left… in our emptiness, so He can refill us.

When we are empty of all our distractions.

Empty of all our own thoughts.

Empty of all our needs… even air.

It is in the exhale that we have been completely emptied of ourselves and there are no barriers to His presence.

No barriers….

There is a physical vulnerability when we fully empty all our lungs. We are trusting that we will be able to inhale again and experience the benefit of that breath.

We often don’t realize how much tension we keep in our shoulders and neck. Or how often we hold our breath in various situations, unsure of how to handle what information is coming at us, or what is the best decision for us to make.

The Lord was reminding me that He wants to bring peace into our chaos. He can’t be where there is no peace. He will meet us in that place where we experience the most peace that we will have… in the exhale.

And as we breathe out, our exhale should be one of surrender.

We surrender to the one who gives us breath. We offer all that we have for His glory.

tammi mccarthy

I think about how I know this to be true in my own parenting. Oftentimes when I am frustrated or growing angry in my correction, I feel the need to take a deep breath and exhale.

It is in this exhale that I regain the focus of my correction. It is in this space that the Lord reminds me that I do not parent out of anger but always in control. It is where I find the Spirit.

You do not have a Spirit of fear or cowardice, but of power and love and self-control.”

2 Timothy 1:7

The Lord wants us to sit with Him in that place of exhale, to allow ourselves to experience that abandonment of our needs, and to live in a place of complete dependency.

It is the Lord that keeps us in existence.

When I think of the ultimate “exhale”, I think of Christ on the cross: the bloody beating that his body had endured, the exhaustion of every physical step, and the struggle to breathe. I think of the emotional stress as He saw every sin that nailed Him to that cross. He felt every defilement of His Spirit.

His last words were: “‘Into your hands I commend my Spirit’ and when he said this then he breathed his last” (Luke 24:46).

He surrendered His body to the Creator.

The last desire of His human will was surrender… in the exhale.

Where are you holding your breath for, awaiting the relief of the exhalation?

The Lord will meet you there.

Ready to take on your burdens and your stress.

Ready to refill your lungs with His peace and strength.

Ready for you.

About Author

Tammi has a heart for people and a need to communicate her love through blogging about parenting, homeschooling, marriage, and her faith journey as a Catholic. As a former teacher and now homeschooling mom of five, Tammi sprinkles humor and sarcasm into many of her Instagram posts and personal blogs. Both Franciscan University alumni, she and her husband of over 22 years live in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Through her authentically Catholic blog she strives to “fill the banquet table of the Lord” through writing about His whispers of love and faith. Check out her blog: www.whispersofloveandfaith.com

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