Tuesday, February 18, 2014


As a girl I had a thing for trees. Their strength, dignity and steadfastness drew me to love them. When I was 8 we once again moved  to a place that had many old trees still standing amid the apartments and city-ness. Often I would grab a book and somehow make my way 10, 12 even 15 feet up these trees. I would then snuggle down in a barky crotch of branches and read away the day.
One day I was just goofing around in a very big fellow, not really thinking, just swinging around from trunk to branch when my grip slipped, my legs failed and I began to fall. About 8 feet. Straight down.

I landed flat on my back.
 I remember lying there looking up at the benign branches thinking,
“I will never ever breathe again”
When suddenly I gasped and sucked in air, only to realize I was still alive but
my… everything… hurt.
A lot.
I rolled over gasping in breaths of crunchy leaves and knowing I was not going to tell anyone about this. Thankfully no one was around and I could just be still and wait for the pain to leave while I concentrated on breathing again.

Have you ever been there?
Maybe you didn’t fall out of a tree but you know that feeling. The pain covering you like a wave and the very life breath sucked out of you. Perhaps for you it was a more grown up injury, a car accident or an illness. Maybe it wasn’t your health at all but your heart that was wounded.
Sucker punched.
You know the feeling.
You just can’t breathe.

I have had some tough times in my life; from the minute I was born the odds were not in my favor. As a child I lived through divorced parents, family strife, moving every year (or more often). I felt unwanted, forgotten, discounted. I heard and saw some tough things. As I matured and grew older I realized it really was pretty rotten. I went to counseling. I cried and I moaned to people about the terrible things I had to live through. But I kept on living. I kept on moving through life, having some pretty good times too, adding amazing new people to my life. Good memories began to happen. I had come to know Jesus in my young adult years and I would find some comfort from my faith but I couldn't let myself be really happy. I kept going back to the sadness. I just knew that no one understood pain like I did. No one. I had this relationship with God that was strange. I learned as much as I could about Him but it just couldn't penetrate the hurt. I could tell anyone who He was and how he saved me but I still couldn't understand the painful memories.

Finally one day I fell out of the tree.

I knew things in my life were wrong. Not just bad but wrong. Relationships were speeding out of control and I was caving in under it all. The family I had built, the marriage I had worked so hard for, all came loose around me. My life was unalterably changed. The damage had been done. Life as I knew it was over.

As I sat on the folding chair in the empty church building my marriage, my family and my life began to slide out of my grasp. My grip slipped, my legs failed and I began to fall.
About 100 feet.
Straight down.

As I opened my eyes the next morning I couldn’t breathe. The pain came in like a flame, searing me.  I lay there looking up at the ceiling thinking,
“I will never ever breathe again”
When suddenly I gasped and sucked in air, only to realize I was still alive but
my… everything… hurt.
More than anything ever hurt before.
I really didn't care if I did ever breathe again. It hurt too much. 

I used to think I knew pain and I was the best martyr in the world. But then it all came together as the insufficient way I knew God was colliding with the first real true pain I had ever known.

The God I had allowed in my life when I was younger, crying for myself, was one who loved and was powerful in a distant divorced dad kind of way. I knew about Him. And He took care of my needs but He was a voice on the phone. He was a check in the mail. I could get angry with Him. I could distance myself from Him.

 But when my life was blown out of my hands like sand. When I knew I could never breathe again. When the pain crushed my wisdom, my soul. I opened my eyes to find Him near. As I had done before I wanted to hide and keep the shame and fear contained. But He pursued me like a hound from Heaven. He gathered me up until His arms became solid beneath my head and His touch wiped my tears, His breath breathed inside my lungs. He became so tangible I thought some nights that I was crazy to feel the Creator of the Universe rocking me to sleep.

 I certainly am no Job. I did not live through even half of his calamity. But I understand his incredulity as he finally sees his pain for what it is; when he finally sees His God. And He cries out,
                        “I admit I once lived by rumors of you; 
                        now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears!
                        I’m sorry—forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise!
                        I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.” Job 42:1-6 The Message

 For those of you who have fallen. I pray you will let Him catch you up in healing and be your breath. The real Father Daughter relationship I have now with God could never ever have existed without the fall. And in breaths of humility I am now living the end of the book and looking one day to say God blessed the latter part of my life more than the former. 

1 comment:

  1. Encouraging.....well written and thought out. Your words are a testimony of true christian attributes. The Father always just a breath away. Keep writing.