Today’s Truth

Do you not know that in a race all runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24 NIV).

Friend to Friend

Before our first child was born, Brad and I took a series of classes to prepare us for childbirth. My Lamaze instructor told us I would need to breathe through each contraction while in labor. She gave specific instructions. “Breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth.” “When you inhale, allow your belly to expand first, then your

chest.” I learned that the way I breathe would affect the way I experienced labor.

I spent time learning how to breathe in a whole new way – so my labor breaths could be purposed and controlled. This required discipline. I practiced, and I practiced the special breathing techniques in preparation for when labor pains came a-knocking.

On the day we welcomed our baby boy into the world, I learned what a discipline breathing through contractions really is! There were times during labor I felt like holding my breath instead of breathing. Times when the pain was so intense that my natural response was to scream instead of to breathe. This type of breathing was totally a learned behavior, a purposed discipline. And on the other side of the pain and purposed breathing came the blessing of life.

I’ve labored through many hard life experiences since my child birthing days. I’m sure you have too.

There are times when circumstances press us in waves, contractions of life that are seemingly endless. When the waves of trials hit our heart and home, the spiritual discipline of trusting God helps us to breathe through the squeeze of each pressure. I like to call it faith-breathing. When we hunker down and put into practice the act – the discipline – of faith.

What do I mean by “the discipline of faith”?

Paul wrote about it this way. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever” (1 Corinthians 9:24-25 NIV).

Just like I learned to breathe in preparation for going through labor pains, Christians learn to breathe through life pains when we implement spiritual disciplines in our lives. Strict training, as Paul calls it, like prayer, fasting, worshiping and reading the Bible. These purposed disciplines bring a greater joy and strength that fuel us to run hard after the prize of God’s promise in Christ.

The more we pray, the more we grow in intimacy with God.

The more we read and learn the Bible, the more we understand God’s will, power and character. We see repeatedly that God is good, faithful, compassionate, loving, gentle, merciful, just, holy, righteous and trustworthy in all things.

We’re encouraged and spurred on by the faith of those who have gone before us.

We learn to faith-breathe!

Life is filled with challenges. Thankfully, God is always with us and is available to help us breathe through the difficult situations we face. Struggles send us running to God for help, for strength, protection and direction. They are often pregnant with pain. Bursting with heartache. Yet, when we yield them to God, He uses challenges to rid our lives of trust-barriers like fear and doubt, and to bring glory and honor to Him.

Trusting God takes discipline.

We don’t always feel like it.

At times we feel overwhelmed and want to soul-scream.

But if we always acted on our feelings, our lives would be chaotic messes. And nobody wants that.

Life contractions hurt all of us, but no earthly pain can diminish the hope of our salvation. We simply need to breathe – by practicing those spiritual disciplines that bind us to the heart of God.

As in childbirth, there finally comes the time of deliverance where what is birthed forth to joy is directly the result of the very pain we have gone through.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, Please teach me to breathe! I’m sorry for the times I scream through the pain. Help me be disciplined to read your Word and meditate on your Truth. Thank you for the joy and strength you give as I trust in You.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn 

What contraction of life is the Lord nudging you to trust Him with today? What would trusting Him with that look like?

Read over the verses below. Write them on note cards and review them until they are committed to memory.
“…all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27b).
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11)

More from the Girlfriends

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© 2021 by Gwen Smith. All rights reserved.

4 Responses to “Learning to Breathe”

  1. Tiny seed of Faith says:

    Thank you for your devotional. I’m soon to be undergoing a second amputation. There is no cure. I received a text message from my sisters church elder. Quite by surprise. He didn’t promise me a cure or a magic wand. He simply said. He would pray that I would be strengthened to endure.

    I dont know why, but I really found solace and comfort in what he said.

    He also said he wants to call today. For no other reason than to pray for me and just chit chat. I honestly, have never met this man face to face. I really am being blessed by god.

    I understand when God gives miracles. Perhaps my miracle isn’t in a cure to prevent the amputation. Maybe its in the healing of my shattered spirit.

    You wrote at the end of your devotional. “I can do all things through him who strengthens me”. It really floored me. I needed to hear this.

    I know you don’t know me. But if you or anyone who reads this would mind stopping for just a second. Please pray that the amputation on Nov 30, things go well. I”m scared. I’m 52. I’m not asking for a miracle cure. I just am asking for all the strength i need to endure.

    Thank you..and God bless

  2. Carol says:

    Dearest “Tiny”
    {Father God…We are asking for a blessing for this dear child. Lord, we need to hold this child up to you in a prayer of healing not only in the physical body but in thespirit. We are praying in the words of Paul, ” We are pressed on every side by troubles,but not crushed and broken. We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happen as they do, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down…but, GOD never abandons us.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 Ling Bible version)
    Please dear Jesus, give this sister a peaceful spirit of reliance on your strength to be by her side during the surgery, knowing that You have this situation in Your hands. In Your Holy name, I pray…Amen}

  3. Debbie says:

    Father God,I am truly blessed by the opportunity to pray on behalf of this woman of great Faith. Its impossible to understand your will for her, its clear that even in times such as this you provide comfort and folks to lift her up. We walk by faith, not by sight, we face difficulties, but we are not alone! I pray that you would be present with her, wisdom and discernment for the doctors treating her. Most of all please provide comfort and peace for this beautiful woman. I stand in Victory for your plans for her life and future.Please provide for her as she embarks on this journey,walking in faith not by sight. Thank you for loving her, thank you for allowing me to love her as my sister in Christ. In his precious love I lift her up to you.

  4. Gerrie says:

    Jehovah Rapha, I join my faith with Tiny’ s and ask for healing in whichever way you deem fit for her. I pray for an increase in faith and closeness to you even as she goes through this. I pray for peace and also ask for wisdom for the doctors and assistants. Let your perfect will be accomplished in her life in Jesus’ Name, Amen!!!!

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