Just Keep Breathing

I want to believe that there is beauty to be found in any circumstance, good or bad.  I only wish I could see it, no matter what challenges I face.

Well, everybody’s got a story to tell
And everybody’s got a wound to be healed
I want to believe there’s beauty here
So, I guess you’re tired of holding on
I can’t let go, I can’t move on
I want to believe there’s meaning here

I was praying with a friend of mine at church on Sunday.  At one point she asked me to take a few deep breaths.  It was then that I realized I was holding my breath.  Not really.  I was breathing, but barely, or so it seemed.  I’ve been holding onto so much tension, worry, doubt, fear and sadness over present circumstances.  Most days, it’s not pretty.  I lose my fight to remain steadfast, and I kick and scream and don’t understand.

How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

But God understands my weakness. He understands when I lack the faith to see that there is beauty all around me.  And He continues to give me the strength to just keep breathing.  In and out, in and out, deep cleansing breaths until the weight of the world falls off my shoulders and into the arms of the One who promises to carry me through to the other side.

What do you do when the world seems to crash all around you, when some of the things you’ve hoped for and dreamed about your whole life are no more?  Or, at least it’s different than you dreamt it would be.  I am learning to ask of God.  What does He say?

“God, what are you doing?  What are your dreams for my life?  Come and show me your beauty in this moment.”

My eyes are blurry, watery and tired, but I know that there is beauty to be found here in this place.  I must keep seeking. I must keep asking.  I must keep knocking.

Standing on a road I didn’t plan
Wondering how I got to where I am
I’m trying to hear that still small voice
I’m trying to hear above the noise

I may be standing on a path I did not dream for myself, but I must keep breathing.  I run to His Word, which gives me hope, and there I seek out beauty, hidden among the black and white, with strands of red woven through.  I don’t know what the future holds for my family. Unemployment has caused us to live with financial uncertainty day to day for over three years.  But of this one thing I am certain — I know the One who holds our future, and we are confident that He will not leave us in this place.  He is faithful and He will bring us through.

I know that He understands my human heart, which breaks open, and pours out weakness. He understands that I lack the faith at times, and He’s right there to say,

“Come, my child, keep breathing.  I will fill you with strength.  I will give you the faith to go on.”

Though I walk, though I walk through the shadows
And I, I am so afraid
Please stay, please stay right beside me
With every single step I take

I may feel weak, but I will not quit.  I will not stop believing.  I choose to believe that God is good, that there is beauty to be found, and that He will give me and my family the courage to keep believing, and the strength to keep breathing.

*The song Need You Now (How Many Times) from Plum has been ministering to my heart this week.  I pray it will minister to you as well.  All of the quotations in this post are lyrics from the song.

When circumstances arise that are different than what you had hoped and dreamed for your life, do you stop looking for beauty?  Do you ever feel like you just can’t hold on until beauty is once again staring you in the face?  Please share your experience in the comments below.

24 thoughts on “Just Keep Breathing”

  1. LyndsD says:

    Oh my sweet friend I pray The Lord wraps you in his loving arms and sings to you the lullaby of his answers. That you feel his peace during this time. That while he is holding you all the fear and doubt and things that are not of him will become a vapor in the wind. He is right with you and he is good he will reveal. His footsteps are the ones you see. Breathe in him and he will sustain. You know Jeremiah 29:11 and in the valley I know it doesn’t bring much comfort but he is faithful to his promises and he will prosper in this time. 2 Timothy 1:7, Philippians 4:6,7, 1 Peter 5:6,7, Hebrews 4:16, Mark 11:24, Matthew 11:28, Psalm 119:114 … He is protecting you. Rest in Him dear friend and know I’ll be praying with you on this journey. Blessings.

    1. Barbie says:

      LyndsD, thank you so much!

  2. Jenn Peterson says:

    Oh thank you for sharing, we all go through times of holding our breath, we all do. We all struggle and question God.We all go through valleys. Prayers and hugs and love you much. Love that song too!!

    1. Barbie says:

      Thank you Jenn. You’re a blessing!

  3. Mary @ Redo 101 says:

    I went through 12 years of nightmare with our Romanian orphanage adopted child. I finally came to the end of God and the end of myself. It was good to come to the end of myself (I don’t give up easily in trying to make things the way *I* want them to me), because God hadn’t gotten to the end, He was just waiting for me to give up! A miracle awaited, joy overflowing. Praying God’s blessings for you today, sweet sister in Christ.

    Mary @ Redo 101 recently posted..New Link Party – Gratitude Weekly

    1. Barbie says:

      Thank you Mary. He is faithful!

  4. Wendy says:

    We have had a couple of those seasons friend. D was laid off and unable to find a job for over a year and a few years later he was hurt in an accident that kept him out of work for another year. It was a very hard time and I struggled to find Him in the midst of it. I know this place friend. But I can tell you that our God is faithful even during these times our faith falters. He was even more visible in this time when I felt we were forgotten. Know that I am standing with you here friend. That I am lifting you up to Him in prayer. I so love your heart and am thankful for the gift of you. Blessings and much love.
    Wendy recently posted..The Gift To Be Unwrapped

    1. Barbie says:

      Thank you Wendy, for your encouragement. Yes, my God, He is faithful. He will bring me through. This I know, but sometimes I just have to remind myself. 🙂

  5. ~Karrilee~ says:

    Oh sweet Barbie… praying for you my friend! I love your honesty here… love your faith that is stretching to stand tall… stretching to say I don’t just know these things… I believe them, Lord! (Lord, help my unbelief!) He’s got this… He’s got you… I have walked through a season of having to mourn the death of dreams… it hurts and it can invite the enemy in to whisper lies that sound so true… but the dream just takes on a different path – it doesn’t mean the Happily Ever After won’t happen!
    Love you!
    ~Karrilee~ recently posted..Transitional Shifting…

    1. Barbie says:

      Thank you Karrilee! I am holding onto hope of the happily ever after! I know that with God, all is possible.

    1. Barbie says:

      True, my friend. I’ve been praying for you this week. 🙂

  6. Lisa @ four simply living says:

    oh baby I LOVE that song… blast it from the roof tops. I am positive people think I am nuts when I drive by. Hold on till the blessing my friend, hold on. God is in control and he does love you my friend. You have read enough of my words to know I know your struggle, just in a different way. And what do I do I hold on to the raging bull of life.
    Lisa @ four simply living recently posted..The Answer to My Salvation

    1. Barbie says:

      Thank you for sharing that post. It somehow slipped past my eyes. Yes, girl, I’m hanging on to the raging bull, with both hands. I will not let go!

  7. Dolly@Soulstops says:

    Dear Barbie,
    I love that song by Plum, and I have lived it. I have been praying for you, my friend. You are amazing…truly!
    Your faith in clinging onto God in the midst of your trials is beautiful. Keep breathing His Spirit in and keep writing out your journey as I know you are blessing others. He can handle our questions and our grief. I have learned it is only when I am honest with my pain then He can comfort me.
    “The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you {Barbie}; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deut. 31:8

    Hugs to you,
    Dolly@Soulstops recently posted..When you find joy as you live your dream

    1. Barbie says:

      Thank you Dolly, for your constant encouragement to my heart. I love you, truly!

    1. Barbie says:

      I love you my friend! Thanks for always stopping by.

    1. Barbie says:

      Thank you Traci!

  8. Kimberly says:

    Hey, sweet friend. So glad you share your heart so fully here. It is a blessing to see you clinging to the Lord and turning to Him, reminding yourself that He IS good and that He can be trusted, even in the midst of trials and pain.

    Praying for you!
    Kimberly recently posted..She Thinks She’s All That

  9. Tereasa says:

    Oh Barbie, I feel the pain your processing in this post. I am so sorry that things are still so hard. I love how you honestly give it all to God and share it with us. It sounds so trite, but I know these times have the potential to bring us close to God. I love the song you shared. I am glad it is ministering to you.
    Tereasa recently posted..For When They Say, “I Told You So.”

  10. Missy says:

    I’m not sure what trials you are living, right now, Barbie, but God is so clearly using you to encourage and equip hearts to charge forward – trusting in His goodness. I love coming to your blog and reading about your faith, and how it melds and sometimes leans hard against your trust in God. I count you as one of the cloud of witnesses that bear testament to the power of a faith that clings.

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