Saturday, December 17, 2011

Breath of Heaven

Monday evenings can be doozies.

This past week, was one of those.  It was the piranha hour (affectionately named after the habit of my kids to nip and nibble at each other and my nerves) and my carnivorous fish were especially hungry.

Aaron was bickering with Lydia about her affinity for de-constructing his Lego creations.  Lydia was standing her ground with two handfuls of her big brother's building blocks tucked behind her back.

Ashley due to her unfortunate bemoaning of how booooorrrring our house was, found herself spot cleaning the kitchen floor ... and sniffling.

Baby S had her little lamb in a head-lock and was talking loudly, "You wanna piece of me?  Huh?  Huh?"

The Lego war was escalating, Ashley had moved on to complaining about having no one to play with and the wrestling match between Baby S and the lamb had come to a dramatic and fussy end.

I checked the clock ... 5:15.  ...sigh...

On Mondays Brett stays to pick up Norah from gymnastics which means that I had almost an hour and a half before my reinforcements arrived and when they did get here, they would be starving.

I headed to the kitchen to get dinner started and found a sink full of dishes still waiting to be washed.  ...sigh...

I didn't want to join in the piranha feast so I took a deep breath, turned on Pandora and slipped on my yellow rubber gloves.  The first couple Christmas songs began floating through the house.

I have truly enjoyed the past couple of weeks, seeing my favorite carols and Christmas songs with fresh eyes and sharing with you here how they can each point us back to Jesus and the manger.  Even "A Holly Jolly Christmas"!  Now as I stood at the sink, with steam fogging up the window, my heart wanted to turn back to the mystery of that first Noel, but my day (this piranha hour, specifically) was getting in the way.

My kids were grumbly ... and I could feel myself headed that way, too.
But, could I really use the typical challenges of motherhood as an excuse to grumble?

Not with a clear conscience.  I know for a fact that Jesus will help me to keep my head, if I keep my eyes on Him.  This Monday was a perfect opportunity to put this truth to the test.

A renewed squabble in the living room erupted suddenly and without taking the time to remove my bubbly gloves, I separated the feuding fish, sent them off to the "Great Learning Box" to do some learning (both of them wiping down door knobs while holding hands ought to teach them something!). Upon my return to the sink, I found Ashley engrossed in coloring (whew!) and Baby S was chewing fiercely on little lamb's leg.  I decided to take these few moments to put my pent up frustration to good use and scrub a dish or two.

From the iPod came the following words ... "breath of heaven, hold me together" ...

"Yes, Jesus, hold me together.  I don't want to speak or act rashly.  I don't want to share this frustration with my kids.  Hold me together.  Hold me together."

As promised, I could feel the tension dissolve.  (Remember that dish detergent commercial where one little drop chases the grease away ... something like that.)

My kids might still be pecking at my last nerve and it was still an hour before my knight in shining armor would be home, but with my heart tuned to Jesus, my perspective was renewed.  And my spirit, too.

I am not alone in my mothering, even when it's five against one.  Jesus is always present with me.

Here are the rest of the words to that song:

Breath of Heaven
I have traveled many moonless night
Cold and weary, with a babe inside
And I wonder what I've done
Holy Father, you have come
And chosen me now
To carry your son

I am waiting in a silent prayer
I am frightened by the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone,
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now
Be with me now

Breath of heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me
Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven
Light up my darkness
Pour over me your holiness
For you are holy

Breath of heaven

Do you wonder as you watch my face
If a wiser one one should have had my place
But I offer all I am
For the mercy of your plan
Help me be strong
Help me be
Help me

Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven

Now ... I can't relate to every line in this song.  I do not currently have "a babe inside" and my recent travels have been by van, but nearly every other verse resonates with me.

That sense of carrying a burden, a load, in mothering is huge.  I am raising, training, shepherding and shaping four little people ... helping them discover their passions and purposes for life.  No pressure there.  "How can I be trusted with these important people?"

Loneliness in the midst of my herd of children is frequent.  I long to be both alone and in the company of adults with the same intensity!  That random juxtaposition puts me in a pickle on a regular basis.  Brett offers for me to have time on my own and my response often is, "But, I don't want to be alone...what would I do?"

Self-doubt is no stranger to me.  Whether it's mothering, writing, friendships or helping at church and school, I find myself asking that question, "Who, me? Am I the right person for this?  Did you make a mistake, God?  Do you want a do-over?"

All of the answers to these questions are found in the chorus ... Jesus.

He will breath life into mine ... through the power of the Holy Spirit.
He is by my side in the midst of every task ... the cleaning of the house and the raising of the kids.
He promises to be a light to my path ... illuminating my days with truth.
He is my strength when I feel sapped ... empowering me to respond to my mothering challenges with wisdom and self-control.
He is my help ... no matter the time of day or trouble at hand.

I am grateful that in the midst of this challenging job of Mom, I have the breath of heaven holding me together.  And I hope you do, too.


  1. That's one of my favorite Christmas songs... I love Amy Grant, and I sang that song in church years ago while pregnant with Rebekah. Boy, was I nervous! Everyone loved it though. :-D That's how God works!

  2. Love, love this song. Thanks for sharing!


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