Every Breath Counts

The breath goes in and leaves again
My soul is so aware
In ways I've not felt when
It was commonplace

My days were commonplace
I thought
Moving here and going there
Whenever I chose

But the moments have stilled
Inside alone stretching ahead
Questioning my worth
When time feels muffled

And the question comes
Where is my worth
What is my value
If only breathing is left?

Is it true? 

That every breath counts?
That God numbers every hair
That He sees every sparrow falling?

The breath goes in and leaves again
My soul is so aware
That Holy Spirit breathing in me
Is life enough for eternity
--bg

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Matthew 10:29-31 NIV

The Occipital Neuralgia pains had begun to return, and I knew that I needed to be honest with the Pain Specialist at my visit last week. So when his words echoed over the Virtual Visit airwaves, “Don’t be discouraged, this often happens, and if the nerve gets irritated, sometimes it has a hard time letting go,” I wondered at the choice of words he used. As I listened to his recommendation that a strong burst of a steroid pak be given for 6 days, I thought that wouldn’t be too bad. After all, I am well acquainted with steroids and still on a low dose of Prednisone.

But the dose pak was a different kind of steroid, and my hyper-sensitized body was not happy. As I lay in bed, barely able to move, with severe muscle pains and weakness again, I wondered how long these things would continue? I heard the Lord so close to me, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to stay in this place any longer.

Where was the value in living like this?

And my words fluttered around me like the sparrows falling in Jesus’ story. I was still clinging to my own vision of worth, wasn’t I?

As I lay awake with the pains flowing, I prayed for those who can never get out of bed. I prayed for those who don’t have the option of stopping a medication that wreaks havoc on their systems. I prayed for those alone on the streets, unsure of when or if the violence in their city would ever stop.

And when I woke in the morning, with the discouragement still lingering, I heard Him speak again, that He wanted me to write what I felt. The despair wasn’t lifting, even though my muscles were beginning to find a little strength again. The fog in my heart wasn’t clearing, even though I found the walker near-by and made my way to the little rooms of my house. HE was keeping me here, answering my questioning heart when the Doctor had spoken those words.

“That irritated nerve sometimes has a hard time letting go.” And my irritated sense of worth was having a hard time letting go too.

When we have faced an unknown future with Chronic Pain or Chronic Illness, we have been given an opportunity for insight that we might not have known if we had stayed on the fast-track of living.

Life is more than the doing.

And while that sounds so simple, and so “Well, of course!! I KNOW that!” Do we? Do we live as if that is true?

I believe very few of us actually live that way. There is only ONE who fully lives that way. The One who brought us breath in the first place. And He has been calling us to see the beauty of breathing in Him ever since He breathed that first moment of life into Adam’s lungs.

We will never see clearly the purposes of living and working and serving Him, until we first take a breath, and breathe in Holy Spirit life. Moment by moment, tasting our worth in the Breath of God.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV

In this place and time, I have only begun to see the fullness of His love, even though I have followed Him for so many years. And I know that I will not have plumbed the depth of that love, even when my last breath is finally given here.

But HE has known me and He has loved me before I was born. We are born again into that love when we accept His gift of forgiveness. And we will be born anew in that Kingdom when we see Him face to face.

This song has chased me down the years, over four decades, but my heart still trembles when He asks me to look more deeply into that love:

Will you pray with me here?

Dear Lord Jesus,

We are astonished at the way that You love. It is nothing like the way that we love. We are so used to loving for a reason, choosing something attractive, or fixing upon a purpose. But Lord, YOU have loved us with an everlasting love. Thank You for the grace that bubbles and breathes and flows through our history. We cannot comprehend it. But we long to join You in that loving. Help us to lift our hearts to You and to receive the gift of loving that You have already showered over us. Thank You that You count every breath so precious, so valuable in Your Kingdom. Open our eyes to see the way that You see. Open our hearts to love with the love that You have given.

In the Name of Jesus we pray,

Amen.

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

Jeremiah 31:3 NIV

I am linking with: #RememberMeMonday #TellHisStory #GraceAndTruth

48 thoughts on “Every Breath Counts

  1. Oh, Bettie! I am so sorry for you pain yet I am rejoicing with you for your discovery and obedience. When you turned your pain to selfless prayer – oh, friend, I thought – that’s when God moves – when we pray selflessly – not for ourselves but for others suffering, needing healing, needing hope – not for any benefit of our own, not for making our days easier, but for selflessly loving others! That is God’s love, my friend – that’s being His hands and feet, even though you couldn’t move! So simple – but so WOW! That’s when God moves! Thank you for being real about the suffering, the depression and despair – so we could better see God’s glory – and how to better love others! Bless you, sweet friend! ~ Maryleigh

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Maryleigh,
      Yes, you are so right, that HIS love is moving us to love with same selfless love, whenever we lift our hearts in prayer. “Not for ourselves but for others suffering, needing healing, needing hope” such a precious picture of how His heart moves in us. Thank you for your dear comments and prayers. You have brought such encouragement to me, even here in the hard places, God joins us together with each other. It’s all through HIS grace so much! May you be blessed with His love today.

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  2. Bettie,

    I am speechless and the depth and beauty of your heart and words. I have never known anyone with such a surrendering, loving heart. The Light of Christ shines through your written words, revealing both your heart, and His… intertwined.
    This poor beggar, prays for you each and every day.
    It would be such gift to be included in yours.

    God bless you ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Colleen,
      I am so grateful for your precious prayers. Jesus sees us in our weakest places, and He finds our smallest prayers as such beautiful gifts to His heart! And your prayers are such a gift to me also. I am so thankful that He allows us to be joined together as we pray for each other on the dark days. He is the one who calls us to Himself and helps us surrender each moment to Him. I pray that you are wrapped in His love today.

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    1. Dear Lauren,
      Thank you for your sweet comments and prayers. And thank you for sharing my poem with your friends. I pray that Jesus will bring them His own dear comfort as they pause with Him. Blessings to you.

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  3. Dear sister, the Holy Spirit dwells in you. I’m not afraid. Every moment counts…. I hold on dearly to the moments we have together with those we love….
    I love you Dear Bettie…. pain or No pain, God loves you deeply. He holds you firmly in His arms sister

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    1. Thank you Dear Ifeoma,
      His love is so dear and so firm for us. Thank you so much for all of your sweet prayers and words that you share with me. He is so precious to give us these moments with each other, and with those that He has given us to love! May we both rest in His arms today. Love you my dear friend.

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    1. Dear Regina,
      Thank you so much for your dear prayers for comfort and relief. Our Savior and Redeemer is so worthy of all of our praise, even in these hardest of times. I pray blessing for you today too, dear sister.

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  4. I read this this morning after a night where again I woke up feeling like I wasn’t breathing right. Each time it happens (usually right after I fall asleep and then not again all night) I feel like I’m going to die. I sit up and prop up my pillow and go back to sleep but last night I just felt so odd and then I was upset because I am so sick of all these weird medical issues. I said “God, what is the point of me? I can’t do anything anymore. I’m always tired the next day because I don’t sleep right. It’s either this weird thing with the breathing, the congestion in my nose, acid reflux, going to the bathroom all night, etc., etc. I’m over weight and can’t lose the weight. I’m tired of being this worthless person.” Even as I said the words though, I felt him telling me to press into him. I prayed and I asked him to help me press into him when I don’t feel like it. To press into him even when I think this is it and I’m going to die and leave my family behind. It was just so odd when I saw your title today because breathing (at night anyhow) has been so odd for me for a couple of years now. In other words, I needed this post today. thank you. I’m going to read it over and over this week.

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    1. Oh Lisa, your words brought such tears to my eyes. It is a miracle the way that God weaves our paths together to bring His own encouragement to us. Your stories have been such a gift to me. You may not think so, but the stories and characters that God has helped you to write about have become such an encouragement in my heavy times, moments of hope in the midst of a world that tries to make us feel like nothing good will ever come again. They are not just “escapes from reality” but they are glimpses into the “real” reality that God wants us to live in with Him–to actually care and love each other. You are in my prayers so much. May the Lord bring you His relief and comfort this week. May His breath flow through your aching places. Sending love and hugs across the miles.

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  5. Oh dear sister, again your obedience to Him, to write when it is physically and soulfully hard, has blessed me. I pray right now sister that His breath, new and fresh, lift your spirit in new ways. He so loved the world … with that everlasting love Jeremiah penned. I love you. I joined your prayer at the end. Sharing this post with a friend who is physically ok but in seeking His peace. Love, Julie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Julie,
      Thank you so much for all of the prayers you have shared with me over these many months! Your encouragement and Spirit-led connections have been such a sweet gift. I pray that you are feeling that same Holy Spirit breath now too. And I join you in praying for your friend to be blessed with the Lord’s peace now. Love & Hugs dear sister.

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  6. This is so beautiful Bettie. The Holy Spirit reminds us of our value. It is not of this world. From your place, from all our places we are, we have something to give. And you are doing that, with God. From your window today, I pray God has for you His wonders of even the little sparrow or firefly. You bless me too, remembering that all is His and all is valuable and wonderful through Him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Lynn,
      Thank you so much for your precious prayers and blessings. Yes, from my window there were beautiful fall birds flying through yesterday and today. I can hear them before I see them–the soft squeaky sounds of the Cedar Waxwings. I love how smooth and crisp their feathers look! And it is such a gift when God brings the wonder of His nature right to us! He truly does want us to know that we each are so valuable to Him. Blessings and prayers for you across the many miles dear friend!

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    1. Thank you Dear Mary for all of your prayers and encouragement. I am so grateful for the ways that God allows us to pray for each other across the miles. His Holy Spirit truly joins us together in Him. Blessings to you this week also.

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  7. Oh, Bettie, such a beautiful and powerful poem. Reading it made me think of Jesus as the breath of heaven. So sorry to hear your pain is intesifying again. I pray the breath of heaven breaths comfort and life into you!

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    1. Oh Karen, thank you so much for that reminder of Jesus being our “breath of Heaven.” I love the song with that name! Truly, He is our very breath. Thank you so much for your prayers. May you be blessed today.

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  8. Dear, precious friend, May Jesus lay His healing hand upon you soon. I am continuing to pray for you and trust with all my heart that there are brighter days ahead. Sending much love and many hugs to you today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Dear Cheryl, I am so very thankful for all of your prayers. I know the Lord is blessing every one of those prayers, and I feel His encouragement so much. I’m sending much love and hugs today to you too!

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    1. Thank you so much for your sweet comment. It brings tears to my eyes too, to know that the Lord joins us in His care and love is so amazing. I am praying for your friend today to know the comfort and love of Jesus for them also.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh, Bettie, what beauty of Holy Spirit breath lies in your words, poetic and otherwise! And how wonderfully well you express yourself in the surrender you continue to make over and over again as you wait for a treatment option to bring sweet relief from the intractable pain. How my heart aches for you, dear friend, my eyes filling with tears at your plight. I’m filled with awe because of the way God brings such vibrant beauty and wise insight out of the ashes of living such a pain-filled and circumscribed life. These words are so relevant: “When we have faced an unknown future with Chronic Pain or Chronic Illness, we have been given an opportunity for insight that we might not have known if we had stayed on the fast-track of living.” Yes, it is just as you say here, though some, like you, reach that awareness far earlier than others.

    God has gifted you with tremendous insight into the spiritual significance of the depths of surrender and suffering which chronic pain and chronic illness requires. And more than that, you have a hugely compassionate, praying heart which considers others above yourself even during your own darkest trials. That characteristic alone makes you extra precious to God and to others. You are always in my thoughts and prayers. May a healing, strengthening breakthrough come soon, Lord. Sending much love and grateful hugs for your beautiful poem and insightful thoughts. They are full of God’s goodness, grace and love. Coming here is like stepping on holy ground. The breath of God can be inhaled and sensed all around. xoxo 💜

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    1. Dear Joy,
      I hardly know how to respond to your precious words of comfort and care my dear sister. I know you understand how dark the days can feel, and how impossibly slow this pace can seem. But our Lord is so gracious to bring His wisdom to us right in these places that seem so full of nothing but ashes. Thank you for sharing the wisdom that the Lord has covered you with on your own journey. It has meant so much to me to have a traveler along these paths, across the other side of the world, and yet joined in HIM. Truly we are given His breath for these places of His compassion to shine forth, and I have felt that great gift from you too. May the Lord keep showing us how the light of His countenance is always upon us, even as you wrote today in your own post. The darkness is as light to Him! Thank you for sharing that light with me. Hugs and love and many prayers for you tonight, too, dear heart-sister. xoxo

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    1. Dear Lisa,
      Thank you for bringing such encouragement to my heart. It’s not always easy sharing the hard things of my days, but when He shows me the blessing that is from His breath, I could only share what He gave. Blessings and love to you tonight, dear friend.

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  10. The cry of our heart is Breathe Holy Spirit until my breath becomes yours!
    Bettie your breath is becoming His dear one…speaking out, sharing His love & comfort in the depths of pain so that others may know His name.
    Sending gentle hugs, ♥
    Jennifer

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    1. Thank you Dear Jennifer for your precious comfort. You are a gift as you share such words of encouragement. I love this prayer: “Breathe Holy Spirit until my breath becomes yours.” Amen, let it be so. Love and gentle hugs to you too.

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    1. Thank you Dear Susan for your love and prayers. I am grateful that Jesus is interceding for us, even now, and I am so thankful for your book on John 17 now too. A year ago I was immersed in that chapter for months, and now I am reading it along with you. He cares for us so deeply!

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  11. Dear Bettie, your words leave me speechless and breathless. Your pain makes my heart ache. Your words make my soul weep as the profound beauty you expose. In the end, we are the breath of God breathed into the dust of the earth. And to think, Jesus died to redeem that dusty-breath. Such incredible love. May God continue to bless you and sustain you, breath by breath, with His everlasting love. May His love be the thing that lingers long and hangs on. Hugs and love, precious sister.

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    1. Dear Melissa,
      I love your statement here: “And to think, Jesus died to redeem that dusty-breath. Such incredible love.” I appreciate your encouragement so much. His love for us truly is so amazing. May we keep our eyes and hearts open to see His love lingering long and covering us through every moment. Your prayers mean so much to me! I pray that you are blessed tonight too. Much hugs and love to you, dear friend.

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  12. Bettie, Thank you for your beautiful words. I am grieved at your suffering, and yet rejoice at what Christ has revealed to you. “Life is more than the doing”, and no I don’t always live like i believe that. I think that is why our Lord chooses to bless us betimes with the gift of suffering. It is there that He meets us, in intimacy too rich for words. May His presence envelop, hold and keep you as you walk this journey with Him. Thank you, Bettie.

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    1. Dear Donna,
      It is such a struggle to let go of that “doing” mentality isn’t it? I agree with you so much, that in the suffering, “He meets us, in intimacy too rich for words.” Thank you so much for your dear prayers to be enveloped in His presence. I am clinging to those words as I go forward in Him. May you be blessed and strengthened this week as He leads you on His pathway also.

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