God, Help Me Breath When I Would Rather Yell

Originally published Thursday, 26 September 2019.

We were already late for the second day of Vacation Bible School as I carried one child to the car because his shoes still weren’t on. A plastic toy I could have sworn I’d never seen before quickly became the source of an argument as I buckled the children in and the volume increased.

We are going. You. Will. Have. Fun. 

Stop yelling at each other. STOP YELLING.

As the words left my mouth I knew there was not much I could do to change the trajectory of our morning.  More than the noise, all of our hearts were out of whack. In what my children are sure to remember as the “scary mom whisper” I told them I would be right back and I turned my back on the screams. I walked a few steps from my car, stared at the bright white garage door, and took a deep breath. 

There have been more moments than I like to admit that have demanded I stop and breathe. Sometimes it is a purposeful step away—a breath to bring back peace to my mind despite the chaos surrounding me. Other moments it comes as a sudden sharp intake of breath as I narrowly avoid a traffic accident. A deep thoughtful breath to steady myself before I step into a room for a hard conversation. Listening to my own inhale and exhale as I sit in a quiet room waiting for my name to be called. 

In the moments when my body’s automatic rhythms come to the surface of my awareness, I have realized I need far more than a breath to recover. Instead, I have found I need the Spirit of God to come into the midst of my daily life. I learned almost a decade ago that the word “Spirit”, Pneuma in the original Greek of the Bible, could also be translated Breath or Wind. As I have meditated on that it has taught me to purposefully invite God’s spirit into the moment I am living. Every time I need to take a breath, I also need the breath of God—the Spirit of God to make alive the dead parts of my soul.

There is an obvious difference in my everyday thoughts, actions, and intentions when I take a moment to acknowledge the breath that is already there. Jesus said the Spirit he would send is even better than his physical presence. The Spirit of truth, who brings freedom and desires for those who belong to Jesus to simply walk with him step by step. Day by day.
As long as I am breathing I will need the change that only comes as I allow God’s spirit to direct my days. He nudges in and reminds me in the strangest ways. Like the Galatians verse card from day 5 of VBS that is wedged next to my steering wheel that states, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. “ Though I could sing a song, recite the words, and explain the meaning of all these results of the breath of God over my life, what I am now aiming for is far more difficult. The simple act of living with God just as if I were as desperate for him as I am for oxygen.

Holly Hawes writes to tell the stories of what God has done, especially through her experiences of infertility, foster care, and adoption. She is 30-something and has been married to Josh since 2010. She is Mom to a teenager by adoption, a child she’ll meet in heaven and often “bonus kids” via foster care. She loves creativity, the PNW, books, flowers, and sharing Jesus with hearts that need him.