Sometimes when you finally come up for air you realize that you've forgotten how to breathe.
The filling and emptying of your lungs grows painful and labored. You wonder if your chest might just cave in.
We've had a week of learning how to breathe again.
For over four months we have been transitioning to a new life that involves doctors visits three times a week, constant testing and monitoring, new ways of cooking and eating, and dealing with the emotions and uncertainty of it all.
I don't know if we are doing all the right things for our daughter.
I don't know if the tonics she is choking down
or the adjustments to her spine
or the extra tests we perform
or the attention we pay to every item of food that crosses her lips
are going to make a difference.
I don't know if we are doing the right things but I do know we are doing our best...and beyond that we are keeping our faces pressed to the floor in worship and submission to the God who knows exactly what He is doing.
The breathing these days is hard...it has taken it's toll on our lungs...and our hearts...
As I stood over the sink of dirty dishes I silently asked God what I should do in the middle of my uncertainty. In the middle of my fear that dips it's toe into full-fledged panic.
Even as my chest pinched in pain, I felt the whisper of a suggestion...just smile.
I laughed out loud which made me...well...smile.
And in that moment I felt a tension I didn't realize I was carrying release from my face. A wave of peace made it's way down the rest of my body and I felt myself letting go. Sometimes we keep ourselves so tightly wound up in a situation that we don't realize the energy we are putting into staying there...in a knot. This week releasing myself from that place started with a smile.
You may have heard people say to just 'force a smile' but the reality is...a smile is never forced.
It's a more natural and relaxed position for our lips to form than a frown or a clinched jaw. And so over and over and over for the past three days I have reminded myself to let go enough that my face falls into an expression of joy...of contentment. And that simple act of expressing joy on my face immediately brings peace to my heart every. single. time.
If you don't believe me - try it.
Every time our face smiles our heart remembers there is always something to smile about.
Maybe life has been pressing hard into you lately.
Maybe, like me, you have felt a heaviness that is oppressing.
Maybe you are wrapped up so tightly in a difficult situation that you feel like your very body is being crushed.
Today I wish I could take your hands in mine, look you in the eyes and say, me too, and then let my lips turn upward offering you a soft and simple way out of that hard place.
Let's start with a smile today.
But promise you'll come back tomorrow when the real unwinding will begin.
It's First Friday time again and the truth that we will uncover just might cause our smile to stick.