My sister is the best. She buys me the coolest, trendiest things. Often times, she opens up my world to possibilities I never consider myself. Clothing, accessories, coffee creations and restaurants. And the best part is, she never steers me wrong because she knows me so well.
Nothing points this fact out more clearly then when she visited after the twins came to our home. Life was overwhelming. Not just because of the twins, but because I was still trying to figure out how to run a household for 9- something I never imagined doing in my wildest dreams.
Christin observed. She loved on her nieces and nephews. And she gave me a gift. A bracelet.
Now, I like jewelry. But bracelets seem distracting to me. I see it and feel it and sometimes they get in the way. So not my favorite thing.
But this bracelet was different. I wanted the interruptions it might offer.
You see, this bracelet is made of clay. With an elastic band. It isn’t fancy, but it is the most beautiful thing I’ve worn on my wrist.
On this chunk of hardened clay was imprinted this word: breathe.
I left it on everyday for over a year and thought about that word daily. When the stress piled and I didn’t think I could manage anymore; or when the frustration and annoyance built up; or even when I had a moment to myself- this word was fitting to dwell on.
The reminder to breathe did many things for me.
1. It calmed and soothed. When you focus on breathing for a brief moment, you realize that stressing out and being anxious makes the most simple of tasks seem foggy. The most basic? Breathe. If I can step back and take a breather, I can break a mounting obstacle into small tasks. (Matt. 6:34)
2. It reminded me that life is not a hurry. We are trained to think that life is to be rushed through. Go from one thing to the next. When we savor something, what do we often do? Breathe deeply. Slow things down so they can be enjoyed and not just quickly observed. (Eccl. 3:13)
3. It reminded me of who I am. I am a child of God. He created me and breathed life into my frame. I am precious to Him. And those people around me, my “tribe”? They are from the breath of God as well, and I need to cherish them like He cherishes me. (Gen. 2:7)
4. It reminded me of where to turn daily. Not myself. Not my can do attitude. No, I need to breathe in the God-breathed Word. The Bible. Inspired means literally “to breathe.” If the breath of God made me, then it also must sustain me. (1 Tim. 3:16)
5. It reminded me to pray. Even when I didn’t know what to pray exactly. I recalled that even when we can barely breathe out a prayer, the Spirit utters it for us on our behalf. (Rom. 8:26)
6. It reminded me of how quickly this life passes. The craziness of child-rearing will be replaced by an empty nest soon enough. Life is but a vapor- a breath. (Jas. 4:14)
This word was the word I needed to hear often in that first year as a family of nine. I still need the reminder. The band on my bracelet wore out, but the message has stayed in my heart.
And now? When I am unsure of the next step to take, or the tension mounts, or I need to step back and enjoy when everything screams to keep mindlessly busy- I breathe.
P.S. If you are looking for a bracelet to be a reminder to you, visit mudlove. Not only do they provide beautiful, handcrafted gifts for you and your loved ones, but their customer service is also superb- if your band wears out, just mail it in and they will replace it for free! And if that’s not enough, every purchase helps provide clean drinking water to people in need.