Taking Time to Breathe
By Emily Hartford of Lawrence, KS, USA
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. -Matthew 4:1-2 NRSV
Being a mother in today’s world is hard. Societal and personal expectations often create an unrealistic picture of what life should be. I discovered this truth after the birth of my second child. Postpartum depression took hold as I struggled to give 100% of myself to being a full-time minister, mother, wife, homemaker, and friend. I felt like I was failing at all of them.
I sat in an ice cream shop and hit rock bottom. I told my husband that something had to shift if I was to get better. I had tried too long and too hard to pretend for everyone else that I was okay. As I lifted my head, I saw a yoga studio across the street.
I began practicing yoga once a week. I learned how to breathe and let my breath heal me. I learned how to stretch beyond where I thought I could. I learned how to be still and hear the wisdom present in the quiet. I felt as though I’d had a spiritual and physical workout each class.
The lessons I learned in those yoga classes still inform my spiritual life. Taking time to breathe helps me to be a better, more present parent, and to think about how my children feel. When I am in conflict, slowing down and allowing myself (or others) time to stretch my thinking makes for less tearing of relationships. I have to stretch often to ask for help. Being still allows me to discern the direction in which the Spirit is calling me to go.
The scriptures hold many examples of calling out to God in the depths of struggle. When I am at my lowest, my heart opens even wider to allow God’s healing touch to enter.
Look up, and find your light.
God, may my deep hope align with your deep vision. Release in me anything that keeps me from freely following your Spirit. Amen.
Invitation to Spiritual Practice
Breathe deeply as you enter a time of silence. Become gently attentive to what may be restricting you from faithfully responding to the divine invitation in your life. Are there priorities, attachments, tasks, or motivations competing for your response? What does freedom for God look or feel like in you this day?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.