How to Just Keep Breathing {on a Monday}

‘Tell me I can do this,” she says it into the phone.

And I wait for her to breathe heavy through the mother wave cresting up around the child swelling and I say, “Yes, you can do it.”

She’s in labor over love. Her body tightening, hugging a child into this world. It’s always fear that brings tension — the tension that brings the pain. And then it’s the pain that makes us think that we can’t go on… So when the world contracts tight… breathe deep, and let it all come with no fear, no fear.


“Remember?” I whisper it gentle. “You’re a bag of sand and there’s a hole in your toe — and the sand just keeps trickling out. Just let everything that comes on, trickle on through. Don’t hold on… Just breathe and let go.” All the torn places in a life show us to how let go.

And the work of birthing a child is the work of raising a child —  knowing how to let go. We breathe slow together, letting what He gives in this moment fill us, run through us, move on out into the world.

I don’t know how many times a day I still midwife myself and these children, “Just take a deep breath… Breathe. The beautiful labor over a child never ends. Our every breath is a murmuring of His name, YWHW.

“The letters of the name of God in Hebrew… are infrequently pronounced Yahweh. But in truth they are inutterable….

This word {YHWH} is the sound of breathing.

The holiest name in the world, the Name of Creator, is the sound of your own breathing. That these letters are unpronounceable is no accident. Just as it is no accident that they are also the root letters of the Hebrew verb ‘to be’… God’s name is name of Being itself.

~Rabbi Lawrence Kushner

She’s inhaling now, soft whistle breath calling Him, her very existence an unceasing invitation for Him to come. And she exhales, breath returned to Him, a circular ventilation of the soul. YHWH. YHWH. Breathe — and call the name of Being Himself. Keep breathing — and pray without ceasing. This is how to labor over a child, a life: breathe, inhale prayers, exhale prayers, breathe. YHWH. YHWH.

I breathe prayers all morning. I watching the hands of the clock and feel the everlasting arms underneath.

And when the phone rings, I catch my breath, and it’s her voice and I wait to hear and she whispers it happy– “A girl!” And I throw back my head and laugh wonder! Five girls in a row!

And the day a baby is breathed into being, her daughters come and her daughters and mine, they make cookies and laughter and community together.

I watch them in the light and marvel that another wee woman-child joins this sisterhood of pray-ers and deep breath-ers and life-knitters, the mothers and laborers and lovers.

Everywhere, light and love that fails and let’s go and holds on.






Everywhere, His love unfailing.

And when the newest of our women folk is placed into my open arms, this curl of warming wonder, I behold grace and breathe the unending prayer of women everywhere:

“O Thank you, Lord.”



… still midwifing into the fullest life, breathing the prayer of thanks, that one that keeps us breathing deep and giving glory #2171- #2181 of Thanks for the Thousand, Endless Gifts

#2171 … more pink

#2172 … women folk together

#2173 … breathing with sisters

#2174 … cousin-made cookies

#2175 … community

#2176 … endless love laboring

#2177 … swaddled flannel

#2178 … newest yawns

#2179 … sun everywhere in January

#2180 … “Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. ~2 Corinthians 2:14 (MSG)

#2181 … the fragrance of thanks in the sisterhood of women

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Today, if you’d like to share your own celebrating, your own marking towards 1000 Gifts of thanks — (please, jump in!) — just add the direct URL to your specific 1000 gift list post… and if you join us, we humbly ask that you please help us find each other by sharing the community’s graphic within your post