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I don’t know about you, but my life feels like I just move from one crisis to the next. Oh sure, some moments would probably better be defined as irritating interruptions to my schedule than a full on crisis. But still. It. Never. Stops.

So I pray for a break. Just one week where nothing goes wrong. Just one weekend in a cabin, in the woods, alone, with no alarm clock. Just one evening where I don’t have to cook dinner or drive anyone anywhere or clean up gold glitter fingernail polish off of every single surface in my bathroom (yes, I’m serious). It’s always something.

This week I’ve said at least a dozen times that all I want is a moment. Just a moment to breathe. A selah. A holy pause in the midst of all of the crazy. And guess what? Life was determined that I wouldn’t get my moment this week. But sometimes you just have to push back on life. Sometimes you just have to set responsibility to the side for a moment. Sometimes you just have to TAKE a break. Because if you wait for a break to be handed to you on a silver platter, well, I’m afraid you’ll be waiting an awfully long time.

Today I decided to stop. It’s raining. I love rain. It’s 72 degrees in July in Arkansas (that’s just crazy y’all). And I’ve done nothing but go full steam ahead this week. So I stopped. I’m sitting in my favorite coffee shop next to the window. It’s distracting me. The rain forming rivers on the pane of glass. The leaves on the holly hedges drip, drip, dripping. The rain dancing in the puddle. I’ve paused at least a hundred times in the last hour as my attention has been drawn out the window. And each time I look outside I hear a gentle whisper “selah”. So I pause. I let myself enjoy the simple pleasure of rain in July. Then I hear a “ding” in my headphones and my attention is brought back to my laptop and the new email in my inbox.

Back and forth. Work, pause. Stare at the laptop, stare at the rain.

As I stare I whisper, not with words but with my heart, Father, rain on me. Refreshed my dry and parched soul. Send your living water to dance in me.

“Selah” is a musical term to denote a pause or an interruption in the music. It’s a holy hush before the next line of the song. A breath. A time where the baton in the conductor’s hands sits still and every eye rests upon him waiting for the signal to continue their song. Selah lasts just a moment. It is not the silence between songs. It is not the absence of song. It is the breath within the song. The musician’s eyes follows the music on the stand until the selah. Then she looks up and watches. Watches the hand that leads the song. Her eyes re-position. Her heart stills. Her hand waits on his direction. And as he lowers the baton, she continues her song.

Today, in the midst of emails and phone calls and kids who need my attention and grocery shopping and piles of laundry and, and, and…. Right here in the middle of it all I chose to pause and look at the One who’s orchestrating my life. I choose to fix my gaze on Him. I choose to lock eyes with Him and breathe.



Keep Breathing

The average time it takes to recover from a tonsillectomy is 5-7 days. Open heart surgery? They say the initial recovery period is 6-8 weeks, and it can take many more months to heal completely. Regardless of how invasive it is, all surgery is followed by a time where the body heals. Most surgery recovery includes incision care, limited activity, extra rest, pain medication, and other rules that must be followed to insure that complications don’t set in.

We know this. Anyone who’s had surgery knows that the recovery process is slow and oftentimes frustrating, but necessary. Anyone who’s had surgery would also tell you they’ve disobeyed their doctor’s orders and tried to rush things. All that gets us is more pain and frustration. You can’t rush healing.

Why then do we fight so hard against the process of healing for our hearts? When our hearts are broken, when our dreams are shattered, when trust is betrayed, when death comes we want to rush through the healing process. We want to rush past the pain. We look for shortcuts and ways around the long journey of restoration.

We understand that physical healing takes time, but can’t seem to grasp the same concept when it comes to emotional healing. The simple fact that we need healing should tell us that it’s going to take some time. Healing is never instantaneous.

If you rush physical healing you can wind up with an infection, back in the hospital or, worst case scenario, even die. With emotional healing we can rush ahead, skip steps and pretend that we’re recovering faster than we actually are. We can act like we’re healed while hiding the fact that we are actually dying inside. The only difference between rushing physical and emotional healing is you can fake one and not the other.

I find myself in a recovery phase. And I want so desperately to rush through the process. I want to run ahead and skip steps. But I know that doing that will only leave me weak and dying.

The question was asked of me recently “Do you want relief or do you want to be healed”? I want to be healed. I know that relief is the quick fix, the easy way out but the slow process of healing brings strength and life.

When the pain becomes unbearable, when the nights become too long, when answers seem far away the temptation becomes so strong to throw in the towel, quit the process, and not trust God. But He can be trusted. Even when relief seems so far away. He promises us that joy comes in the morning, no matter how long the night may last.

So if you’re walking through the valley with me, let’s not run ahead. Let’s listen to the instructions from the Great Physician who longs to heal our hurting hearts. Let’s keep walking. Keep trusting. Keep breathing. Let’s be healed.