I pray He blesses you with a breath of peace, inspiration and hope!
Have you ever asked God to use you? Ever longed to be involved in a ministry in His name? My guess is that many of you are shaking your head yes. I know I have. Sit down, take some time and be welcomed before God’s throne for a glimpse at a very different sort of ministry that daughters and sons of the Most High King can easily put into practice.
Do you feel as if you are always scrambling with too much to do? Ever asked God for an extra hour or two in a day just so you may be able to catch up? We are all busy, not one of us is truly any busier than the next sister or brother out there. Honestly. We’re all busy, often times feeling like we’re in a spinning hamster wheel with no purpose or direction. We struggle to feel necessary, even though we are needed on so many levels. We desire to see something accomplished as we zoom through each day. Some days we just want to escape and take a nap and accomplish nothing. Time management is a huge issue for me and there came a time I had to bow to the discipline of making extremely detailed lists of each and every move in every day to make sure I am doing what needs doing rather than becoming frozen by the sheer fear of the volume of moves a single day demands. It took the mighty hand of God to take my heart to this place and I’m such a novice at it all. I pray He continues to gently guide me as He burns off the dross within me.
For years I could not embrace the thought of “me time” that society throws at us. I fully enjoy going off with my girlfriends and especially love and look forward to the occasional quiet dinner out alone with my husband. I guess hiding out late at night in a lovely warm bath when the house quiets down is definitely just that and I never labeled it! I confess I had quite a judgmental attitude toward those who shared that they needed “me time”. Since I had never been to the point of feeling desperate for that, I didn’t understand and let sin take me to the wrong place with this issue. Several years back, over a period of several months, with some huge changes in the demands on my time and my husband’s employment situation, God slowly took me to a place of feeling like I was losing myself. I don’t mean the healthy loss of self for Jesus gain either. I let simple tasks for work fall by the wayside and began to feel like that hamster wheel would never give me a moment to jump off. I was led to become a morning person. Believe me, to have God ask that of me at my age was not something I was doing flips over but I clearly heard Him call me to meet with Him early in my day, to give validity to my desire to know Him more. To my great surprise, rising early was a joy rather than a chore. I praise God for this time with Him and when my flesh craves sleep and I ignore Jesus’ invitation in the early morning hours, my days reap the sad repercussions. Even with these precious times with Jesus every morning, I was plagued with this feeling of suffocation and it was so foreign to me that I was pleading with Him to reveal why I was there and what I was to do with it. A precious daughter of the King who has been used again and again to impact my life for Jesus came to my heart and she and I began to work at arranging some time to get together. It seemed between her schedule and mine, this may be put on hold but I kept asking God to make it possible. God, in His loving way, cleared our schedules and we praised God as we watched Him at work in our lives. When God brings she and I together, we often experience extended times of prayer and have been blown away by the things the Holy Spirit has revealed so we both anticipated that this must be what God had in store since He had made it possible. As the afternoon and evening progressed, we caught up with one another, talked through many different things and both waited for God’s Spirit to show just where He would lead. To our great surprise, it became clear that He had simply ordained what we had already been experiencing. Being SPOILED by having time to simply sit and do nothing but share our praises for God’s work and share our hearts about the struggles He was walking and carrying us through. Having supper cooked and served to us by her fantastic husband also spoiled us! He was truly God’s hands and feet to us! We said good night and as I closed that bedroom door I was overwhelmed by the presence of the Holy Spirit and I just stood there and drank it in. Questions raced through my heart and mind… do I fall on my face before you God? Do I dance with joy? Where do you want me right at this very moment? Imagine my surprise when He clearly led me to simply crawl up into that bed. Then it hit me. Here I was with NO demands on me. I had been spoiled all evening by Jesus to sit with friends and been granted this sojourn on top of being waited on. Now reality was sinking in. A few months before, when this same friend had blessed me with experiencing God at a Joyce Meyer Conference, the first session had dealt heavily with judging others and she cut no corners in her lesson from Jesus about the damage we do when we judge. Before your mind takes you to our usual thoughts about judging, let me tell you that her lesson went far deeper into our everyday thoughts and possibly a better description would be shallower. Stick with me. Often we easily earmark judging and the things that others and we judge about one another. You know what they are, infidelity, stealing, child abuse, and those major, easily identified sins. We rarely recognize that many of our simple thoughts and snide remarks are truly judgments of another. Joyce shared about how God had taught her tough lessons when she had done just that and as I stood alone in that lovely oasis of a bedroom in my friend’s home, I realized the impact of what God had been allowing in my life for several months. He had to take me into the need for “me time”. He had to let me spiral down so that I could understand the depth of my need for His Breath. He wanted desperately for me to be able to relate to those very souls who need that time apart just to survive, even though I was never one who felt that desperate before. So, why God? I pled with Him to fully reveal just what His plan was as I stood there waiting for the next step I should take. All alone in my pj’s, knowing that no child would come knocking this night and forgive me Bill, but no snoring would stir me. (I snore as well so that’s fair right?) “Please God, let me clearly hear” was my heart’s cry. So there I was… commanded to go to bed! Wow! Well, God made it so much more than that. This room was serene; this ascent into this plush bed was so much more. As I crawled in and laid my head down, suddenly I knew right where I was, in the lap of Abba Father. I felt that bed envelope me and realized God’s arms were all around me with a warmth and love that I can still feel today. At the mere thought of it, He takes me right there and says “Take a Deep Breathe Darling” just like He did that night. One deep breath and I was fast asleep in His Arms. I awoke before my alarm and excitedly picked up His Word. I knew that there was so much more to hear. I understood the “why” of “me time” now, the desperate need for hope and fulfillment. The need is for a true “me time” with Jesus. Not a simple respite from reality but a purposeful time to be swept up in His arms and transported in sweet relief before the throne of God. I couldn’t wait to hear the next step. On my face before Him, I asked Him to turn off my thoughts, to let His breath flow so fully that I could only hear what He wanted me to do with this revelation. “Keep listening” was His reply. “I had to take you down this path so you could understand fully the desperation others feel. The need for escape, the need to breathe. I needed you to understand that it’s real and that your judgment of others had to be cleansed out of you. But I didn’t do this for you, I did it for me and your need for obedience in this has only just begun.” I sat up. Was His plan to take me deeper into despair after allowing me to be set free and sleep wrapped in his arms? Fear is not from God and I should have just stayed there but He allowed me to take a break. I guess He really let me take a deep breath right then even though I didn’t realize that at the time. I went to take a shower. At this point, some who know this friend and her testimonies of God and the shower will be drawing in a breath. Often times she has testified to hearing God speak while she is in the shower. I’m thankful that at that moment I did not think about that. I’m not sure if I was escaping or if I was using it as a deep breath moment but God really does want us stripped of everything that is our own, to stand humbled before Him and know our incredible need for Him and there, as that water poured down and washed away any doubt, His plan for Deep Breath Ministries was clearly revealed. Before my shower, I realized I had forgotten deodorant. Not funny for anyone who would be around me that day! I had to humbly ask if she had any extra and of course, there was a brand new one waiting for me when I returned to the room to get ready for church. As I chided myself for being forgetful, God’s Spirit said ‘No, this is a symbol for you. Listen and hear.”
Worship that morning was sweet and special as I was blessed to see many dear friends and to meet a soul who would shortly be used by God in one of our daughter’s lives. His planning and timing are just too astounding for words! As we returned from church, my friend and I talked about how differently our time together had been than what we had anticipated. We smiled and laughed at ourselves for thinking we had a clue what God was up to! At that point I shared with her what God had done and said about this new path and that I had a mandate to get quiet before Him and write down His messages whenever He told me to. That deodorant kept surfacing in my thoughts. We can often make the simple things from God way too complicated can’t we? I put a few dollars on the counter to pay her back for the deodorant and there it was… as she resisted saying “No, I’ve got a big pack of them”, I pressed those dollar bills in her hand and heard God say “it’s a symbol for the next soul who needs a sojourn”. I told her she had to take the money in honor of the next one who needed an escape and she gladly accepted. We were further spoiled with a wonderful lunch out and the time too quickly came for me to head home. At the same time, my heart was so full from all that God had granted that I couldn’t wait to get home!
My husband will tell you that the gas tank in my car is rarely found on full. More often than not, it’s around a quarter of a tank. As I drove toward home, I was distracted thinking about a bill that needed my attention and how to cover that expense. Then I thought to look at my gas gauge, which had been close to 1/8th of a tank when I arrived at my friend’s home. I was so shocked to see the needle on FULL! My thoughts scrambled as I tried to figure this out. Then it hit me. Her husband had asked for my keys to move my car out of the way and I vaguely remembered thinking “she could just back up” but we were so lost in conversation that I didn’t pay attention. The cost of that tank full of gas was just enough to cover the bill I had on my mind just a minute earlier! The Deep Breath blessings from those 24 hours with Jesus just kept on coming. Did her husband know about that bill I had? Of course not, but I’ll always believe He was being obedient to the Holy Spirit as he carried out his own covert blessing opportunity! I bawled like a baby for many miles and just cranked the music up so loud that I know a host of angels was celebrating all God’s goodness with me. I had all that time alone with Jesus on the ride home to keep listening and to keep asking for more details.
So what is Deep Breath Ministries? How can you and I live it out? First and foremost it’s NOT from me. It’s straight from the heart of God and born out of my need to spend time alone listening to Him and to hear and acknowledge Him in the loud times too.
One thing God made very clear was the simplicity of accomplishing all this, in Jesus name, for others who need it. You see, this ministry doesn’t have a roof or a storefront. It needs no boardroom; it can use each one of us, listening to hear and walking in obedience to the still small promptings of the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t necessarily take money. In some aspects there may be costs, but God will make sure they are covered through His leading. He will put the people in place to carry out each step, if we just listen, hear and obey. We must be patient and not try to work it out for Him. . Prayer is our first move, listening quietly the next, and the Holy Spirit’s illumination to confirm things the next.
There are those in need of A Deep Breath, both men and women, who need a time away from home and responsibility, a time to be completely quiet and be spoiled by Jesus so they can hear Him and be blessed to fall asleep, worry free for a night, in the arms of Almighty God. It’s the ultimate “me time”, ordained by God for His Glory and that person’s good. Has He positioned you to be used to make sure a soul in His kingdom gets that chance for a deep breath? Or do you need a breath yourself?
Are you wondering how you carry it out? Are you possibly experiencing empty nest syndrome and could use that empty room to occasionally host a soul that needs a holy escape. Are you the quiet, listening ear or simply the one paying for lunch? Do you know someone who could host a night like this? If you can’t do this in your own home, can you afford to pay for a hotel room or do you own a vacation home? Can you partner with others to make this happen? Perhaps you make and serve the meal while someone else hosts? There are endless ways and ideas that can be used to give someone the deep breath they so desperately need and I stand firmly believing that if God wants it done, He’ll use you if you are willing. It does not take loads of expense Keep your heart and ears open and act when He shows you that person. You may be the one to make the call to someone else who can open his or her home or you may be the one who has the home. Whoever you are in the plan, talk to Jesus and then take action. For me, the marvelous thing about any lesson God teaches us seems to be that it’s never just for us and it always has more action to come. I believe that the whole purpose for providing someone a Deep Breath Night Away is to further the times that each person involved will recognize the deep breath moments in their own lives and further glorify God because of each one of them. Some things discovered will be known; some will only be between God and the individual. Both are valuable, necessary and will bless others because they are from His hand. What you will find here in the blog posts and future ones are some of these moments God has given so that you can stand with me in praise of our Awesome God and so that you will be inspired to see and share with others those times He gives you. My prayer is that they reach into just the right spots in your heart that God wants them. I don’t want to miss a single Deep Breath he has planned for me to hear and I long to grant them to others in His name. It is my prayer that many of you feel the same. May we collectively take many “Deep Breaths”.
To RETREAT is defined as: to withdraw to a quiet or secluded place.
What a Deep Breath IS and ISN’T
- It IS a time spent communing with Jesus
- It ISN’T a time to be on the phone, computer or other electronics.
- It IS a time for the participant to be given quiet and freedom for introspection.
- It ISN’T a time to “fix someone else” or “reform behavior”.
- It IS a time to dive into Scripture and enjoy your favorite Christian Music.
- It ISN’T a time for a television or movies.
- It IS a night or possibly two away from the demands of everyday life.
- It ISN’T a girls or guys weekend, a party, or a traditional get together for friends.
- It IS time to reflect, to turn up our Spiritual Hearing Aid and press in to Jesus.
- It ISN’T a time for work or family related “catching up”.
- It IS an escape… a healthy, necessary retreat from reality.
- It ISN’T a vacation… it’s SO much more!
- It may or may not involve time with another person… the Holy Spirit will lead this detail. The facilitator may just be close by to serve, or Jesus may have them more intricately weaved into the purpose.
- It IS designed for following the leading of the Holy Spirit.
- It ISN’T to include an agenda or preplanning except for provision of meals and needs.