Willing to breathe

She lay on my chest as I sat uncomfortably low in the waiting room chair. I breathed in and out twice for every breath she took, painfully slow. In and out. The doctor was taking too long. In and out. Why wouldn’t she wake to eat? In and out. Oxygen tests and breathing treatments and three doctors later, and she’s still sleeping. In and out. Masks and medicine and nights in the hospital, staring at her heartbeat on a machine. In and out, willing her to keep breathing.

It was one month since she’s been pulled into the world. At first, it was so quiet. Much too quiet. I held my breath, waiting for a gasp or sigh or cry. I held my breath, willing her to breathe. When she finally cried, I cried too, and released the breath I didn’t know I had caught and held hostage.

“The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” – Genesis 2:7


Sunday night, I held her against my chest while we sang hymns in church. I sang the words projected on the greenfield screen ahead of me, and I felt her breathing adjust to mine. I would let my breath out as I sang, and she would breathe in. I would draw in another to prepare for the chorus, as she pushed the air from her body. In a few quiet moments, we traded breath for breath, as I directed the words of Amazing Grace into her, willing her to breathe in more than the lyrics, but the Grace itself. I was lost, but now am found.

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.'” Ezekiel 37:9


I find my prayers for her are that she would seek and hold to the breath of life, that breath that reanimates the dry bones and sinews of a broken life, that she would search for an encounter with YHWH, the God who breathes.

My youngest daughter is a challenge to me. She is brilliant, movement and sight and sound (quite a lot of sound), and she observes her surroundings with keen interest. Our relationship is full of laughter and smiles and hugs and kisses and bedtime routines where she brushes her warm lips across mine, and I breathe her in.

**During February, I am focusing on relationships, with our family, friends, co-workers, significant others and Christ. I start with the smallest, but by no means the least, of these very important relationships in my life.**

How do you breathe into the lives of others?


24 responses to “Willing to breathe

  1. By being present and encouraging. By helping them find their purpose.

  2. Kristin, this is an absolutely beautiful post. Our 2nd daughter Hope almost didn’t make it to birth. My wife had a low progestrome count from the start and bled throughout her pregnancy. It was so scary, and as crazy and ornery as that kid gets at 3, we’ll never forget the miracle. So happy for your miracle as well. Thanks for posting.

  3. As I read your words, I can “feel” the love of a mother for her child. Beautiful!

    I breathe into the lives of others by being an agent of hope. Why? Because that’s what God has called me to be, and often times, that’s what I need myself.

  4. I hope and pray by my actions and how I carry myself.

  5. What a beautiful post. Sadly, I don’t think I’m much “breath” to anyone, though maybe I just don’t realize it.

  6. wow, really cool post 🙂 I try to speak encouragement into younger kids at church — elementary and middle school kids. I go to church in the city, and there are a lot of kids just kinda floating along. I try to inspire them a little, wake them up a little.

  7. This is a great post, Kristen. Thanks.

    For me, I try to listen and offer encouragement and prayer–just be available.

  8. Intentionally preferring others.

  9. Beautiful post. My former pastor’s son (now 8 years old) spent his first month in the hospital and wasn’t supposed to live. After so many prayers for God to breathe for him, the doctors said he was almost breathing too much.

    How do I breathe into others lives? That’s a hard question for me. As far as my daughter, by praying for and with her, and just being an example, and by spending time with her.

  10. I love this. One of my favorite posts of yours were the two videos you made with your girls. They are absolutely adorable.

    I breathe life two ways. I’m an affirmer. I do it so much that I make people uncomfortable. I’m also a toucher. I show love with my touch. I hug, I wrap my arms around people, I connect physically. Some people are way uncomfortable with that but I press through it and they usually can accept it.

  11. I breathe life by striving to be an encourager and trying to honour those around me through service.

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