We’ve all had Dory’s little tune from “Finding Nemo” stuck in our heads at one time or another. Given her memory limitations and their unknown course to Sydney, Australia, her tune kept Nemo’s father and Dory both moving forward, even through some pretty troubled waters.
I thought of Dory this week as I lay reclined in my dentist’s chair having a crown put on one of my very back teeth. At one point, I counted 2 sets of hands with 7 tools all working in my mouth at the same time!
I was stuck. I couldn’t talk or move or do anything. All I could do was try to keep breathing through all the pain, pulling, and poking.
Just keep breathing. Just keep breathing.
I was stuck in that position for about 80 minutes that morning. But when it was over, an old filling and years of decay around it were removed and replaced.
“If anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
If we are to become the new creation God has for us, we each have to go through some pretty troubled waters. We each have to go through pain, pulling and poking under God’s mighty hands to carve out the old, decaying flesh and replace it with a new spirit. And sometimes, in that hard, it’s all we can do to just keep breathing.
I’m reminded of our first childbirth classes 18 years ago. Wasn’t the whole point of the breathing techniques to get us to breathe in a way that allowed us to push through the pain? If we could focus on our breathing, we would not focus on the pain, and we’d be able to get through to the miracle moment of holding our precious baby.
“Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:17
There is a miracle moment that waits for us beyond each trial that comes- that moment of rest and peace that God brings in after a season of working hard on our souls. And there will also be that ultimate miracle moment waiting for us beyond all the trials of this world when we behold our precious Savior.
When Chris and I were dating in college, we helped chaperone a canoeing trip down the Guadalupe river. In a patch of rushing water around a quick curve in the river, the canoe I shared with two girls tumped. And as we came up out of the water and tried to get back on ground, I grabbed into a bush full of fire ants which I was very allergic to. Ant bites covered my hands and I went into full anaphylaxis. (The God moment in this story is that everything had dumped out of our canoe except the Ziploc bag that carried my Epipen for allergic reactions!). The short version of the story is that Chris and his buddy loaded me in a canoe and paddled me back up stream where we could get help. As I sat in that canoe, watching the hives come up over my body and feeling more swelling in my throat, I was afraid of dying. All I could do was “just keep breathing.” I remember focusing on one breath at a time, in and out, thankful to still be alive.
The ambulance came in time, and the story has a good ending. Our kids enjoy the story of how Daddy saved Mommy’s life! I’ll always remember those breaths that day, and how God carried me through to the moment of rest on the other side.
I see God’s mercy in the trials that really stretch us.
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed but not in despair, persecuted but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:9
He will sometimes pull and poke us to the point where all we can do is depend on Him to pull us through- and just keep breathing. Life is a gift- and each breath comes from His hand. As long as I have breath, may I look to God to sustain and see me through.
“Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!” Psalm 150:6
Blog Update: I am going to be taking a break from “Ministry Moms” for a couple months to write a devotional book for moms of children with special needs called “A Special Hope.” If you are interested in those devotions, please let me know. May God continue to give you strength, wisdom and joy for your journey! ~Lori