Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Overcoming Obstacles

Overcoming obstacles

"15 months after diagnosis, non-stop chemo, Y90 radiation and even a failed attempt at resection - constantly searching for a surgeon willing to operate again - he finally had his tumor resected on 10/31! We've been in NYC for the last 3 weeks - his (amazing) surgeon was Dr Tomoaki Kato at NY Presbyterian / Children's Hospital of NY. The procedure took 14 hours - the tumor was approximately 7" in diameter. My son did very well and was released in just 6 days. We are SO relieved that this beast is out of him, but know that there are many challenges ahead. We will learn more about the next phase of treatment within a few weeks. For now, we head back to Memphis and St Jude - just in time for the holidays - with MUCH to be thankful for. So many on this page have been incredibly supportive and helpful in this endeavor - thank you to each of you! Wishing you peace, love and health - Happy Thanksgiving to all!"     -an update from a mother in a liver cancer group

"Love updates! Thank you for sharing. Praying for your baby boy and your momma heart. May the Lord use this time to refresh your soul! Breathe. Big hugs."     -my response

"Thank you - I hadn't thought about that!! Guess it's time to stop holding my breath for a few days!"     -the mother's response

We can become so caught up in our pain we forget to breathe. The word breath in Greek and Hebrew means, "spirit". When Adam was created it was God who breathed life into him. 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. Genesis 2:7 This reminds me our body is a lifeless shell until God brings it to life with the means of His "breath of life." Without His life-giving breath our bodies are dust. Therefore, our lives and worth come from God's Spirit. 

Jesus helped His disciples receive the Spirit of God by breathing on them. And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. John 20:22 There is life in the breath of God. Man did not come alive until God breathed into him the breath of life. God's first breath made man different from other forms of creation. Through the breath of Jesus, God imparted eternal spiritual life. With the breathing came power to do God's will on earth. 

A few years ago, I walked through unexplained deep dark waters. This was a huge obstacle which caused me to be mad and anger. I wanted to go back to who I was before. I wanted out of the web of darkness. During this time, I found benefits of a breathing exercise. Some days it was all I could do to manage relaxing my body. My daily life began benefitting as I healed. My worship time pressed forward one day at a time. I found Him closer as a new season of spiritual growth was being planted.

Maybe you are like the momma at the beginning of this blog post not thinking about taking a breath. We all face obstacles of different shapes and sizes: staying home with three small children, walking through a tough spot in our marriagea hard day at the office, a cold which causes our child to run fever for seven days, a spouse away with military duties, last week of your college semester, days before a break from the kids in your classroom, tending to an aging parent, walking through grief of a lost love one, etc. My encouraging hope is you find Him too no matter which obstacle is before you. Breathe. Breathe His life into your lungs. Refresh. Relax. Grow. Be open. Take one day at a time. 

You may even like to try the breathing exercise. This exercise can release the feelings of being overwhelmed. If so, open one of your hands, it does not matter which one, stretch all your fingers out. As if, you are going to trace your hand on a piece of paper. Turn your hand over so your palm faces you. Use your pointer finger from your other hand. Start on the outside of your thumb. Using the pointer finger trace up the side of your thumb, then down the inside of your thumb. You will continue doing this on each finger. Each time you go up, breath in through your nose - smell flowers, and each time you go down, exhale through your mouth - blow out a candle. This can be done anytime you think about it. No one has to even know you are practicing this exercise. Do it sitting at a red light, before you go to bed, in a waiting room, at your desk, lunch, walking through the park, etc.

The feelings of being overwhelmed is not of the Lord. It causes our bodies to hype-up which increases our heart rate causing us to breath fast and shallow. Our body then tries to escape the threat of danger by sending unmanaged amounts of blood from our brains out to our limbs looking to escape the challenge of danger. Stress hormones flood our body causing stress and tension-headaches, back pain, indigestion, depression, etc. 

When we practice this exercise, it provides balance. A chance for our bodies to respond redirecting rational thoughts safely with self-control, Galatians 5:22-23, a fruit of the Spirit. This then slows the heart rate with focus providing sensory feed back to our brains. Our bodies gain oxygen, a healing "breath of life"-strengthen the heart, tone muscles, slow down effects of aging, increase energy, improve digestion, alleviate some emotional problems, etc.

INHALE                                                  
clarity                                     
strength                                                                  
peacefulness                                        
positive outlook                          
fresh start                                     

EXHALE
stress
fear
tension
bad stuff
the past

For a moment of worship, listen to Kari Jobe's song Here.

Happy Thanksgiving friends! Remeber to breathe this holiday season. I am thankful for you, my readers, more than you will ever know. Share This Post Tabs are located at the bottom of this post for easy sharing. 

Have you practiced this breathing exercise before?
Do you classify your problems as different then others?
Are you overwhelmed?
Are you breathing?

Thank you to the mother who agreed letting me share this portion of her families’ story. She has already touch my heart. I hope others are touched as well. May you be inspired regardless what you are walking through to breathe. 

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