The Breath of God

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Last month, our two youngest started sharing a room, after years of sleeping blissfully on their own. (Actually, that’s not exactly true, since our middle child has often migrated into our room. So often, in fact, that there’s a toddler mattress ready and waiting for her.) Let me begin again…

Last month, our two youngest started sharing a room, which has been full of hold-your-breath moments, since our middle child is not and has never been a peaceful sleeper. So this has been a bit of an experiment, if you will, trying to see if sleeping near her sister – instead of near us – would be a help to her without being too much of a hindrance to our blissful, sleeps-through-the-night-unless-she’s-sick littlest one. (With me now?)

Most nights it seemed to work better when the sleepiest one went to bed first, fell asleep and the other went up 15 minutes later. This does demand a bit of self-control on their parts… and a bit of trust on ours.

It was on one of these nights that our preschooler amazed me. Really, though, I should say that God amazed me, working through her.

Katherine, our two-year-old, was safely asleep, so I was walking Elise up, reminding her that we would whisper our prayers and give kisses in the hall and that there was to be absolutely no talking whatsoever once we entered the room. So after prayers and kisses, we tiptoed into the room, slipped her into bed and silently signed I-love-you to one another.

Before the door was completely closed, however, I could already hear her footfalls. Peering in through the tiniest crack, I watched as she moved across the room to her sleeping sister. And she just kept getting closer… reaching the bedside… leaning in… breathing on her.

It was all I could do to keep myself from slipping in and scolding her, although I knew that would guarantee Katherine being woken up and, so far, her older sister was being perfectly silent. “Trust,” I told myself, after all, she’d never woken up her sister before.

And then it happened. Such unexpected grace, which I easily could have missed… and almost prevented from happening.

Our spirited little preschooler, whose face was separated from her sister’s by the smallest fraction of an inch, whispered, “Sleep well, precious child of God. I love you.” And then tiptoed silently back to her bed.

Ah, the breath of God.
Full of blessing, full of love, full of peace.
Healing, empowering, renewing. Gift freely given, poured out upon us. For me, this year, that moment was Pentecost:

Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.” John 20:20-23

Jesus sees us. He delights in us. He breathes on us… and in us… and through us. No matter what is happening in our lives – in our moments of delight and in the midst of our trials, in our doubt and in our faith, when we fear and when we trust. Jesus sees us. He delights in us. He breathes on us… and in us… and through us.

God of All,
You who first breathed life into us,
You who continues to fill us and shape us with your own Spirit,
Renew us, O Lord.
Empowered by your love,
May we be your Breath of Blessing
Wherever we go. Amen.

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