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Dear Mom, Just Breathe

One year ago today we were achingly close to bringing Redmond home from the NICU. They had us take care of him over the weekend with minimal support so that we could handle it at home. After 30 days away, I was anxious to be with my three- and four-year-old. Through those last few days of laboring to learn crisis care for a baby (CPR, feeding-tube care, and home oxygen), I constantly reminded myself to breathe.

Intentional breathing has become one of the mantras of my life. Don’t freak out. Don’t over-react. Don’t say something you’ll regret. BREATHE.

As my husband drives away from the house with the children in the car and fear of a terrible crash that leaves me all alone again in the world flashes over me – BREATHE.

As my daughter registers for kindergarten and my face contorts with the knowledge that a snowball is beginning to form that will barrel it’s way through my life, bigger and faster every day, leading her further away from me – BREATHE.

As my son’s brave face starts to crumble around the edges, revealing that he is reliving the moment when we tore away from him to be with our sick newborn – BREATHE.

As my baby struggles at 13- months-old just to sit up, once again not eating enough to sustain life on his own and we hook up the despised feeding tube one more time through broken tears – BREATHE.

Work your way through today, through this issue, through this fear. Deliver your child safely on the other side of the problem. Breathe. Try to relax. Don’t tense up. It hurts worse then. Wait, wait, wait…

Now PUSH! It’s the story of the life of a mother.

I’ve heard the phrase “labor of love” all my life. And now I know it. I live it.

My daughter cuddles into my lap, relaxing as I brush my fingers over her glorious hair, and softly kisses my arm in a sweet and impromptu moment of tenderness – and I melt.

Every bit of this labor, delivery, and breathing is worth it. I would do it all again, over and over, to experience these moments of magic.

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Breathe through the fear. Breathe through the sad times, the times when you grit your teeth and smile when all you want to do is scream. Labor for your children, deliver them through, and rejoice on the other side of that pain. It never stops – all the labor and delivery, so just remember to breathe.

My prayer, my desperate prayer, is for God to be glorified by my choices and responses in mothering these children He’s given me.

My act of worship is the daily choice to breathe, to relax into the labor of this task, and to be gracious in the middle of hard things.

God help me. God help each one of us to be careful with the precious lives You’ve placed in our hands. Help fear and pride not to get the best of us as we remember to JUST BREATHE.

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