We sat through all those classes, and then I slept through her birth. That little bit of Demerol knocked me out, and all that practice breathing was a waste.
I was quite awake for the boy’s birth, though. Then I understood why, with such hard-hitting pain, people had to give me instructions on how to breathe. A nurse had to look me in the face and remind me to pull in air.
A few nights ago, at 1:00 in the morning, I was having a bad time of it with insomnia. I saw the clock move to 11. Then 12. Then 1:00.
It makes me feel a little crazy, not being able to go to sleep.
I had to breathe through it. There was no nurse this time, just me and Jesus.
And a lung full of Bible verses.
I get this wild-eyed panic, not being able to sleep, like when I entered transitional labor and told the nurse, I think I’d rather do this by correspondence instead of for real.
As I tossed and turned, the Spirit brought up one verse of truth at a time.
Breathe in. Hold it.
One Scripture for each tick of the clock, and I worshiped.
In my sleepless anxiety, I exhaled the words of Job’s wife, “Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9 NIV) It’s tempting to curse.
Why won’t God help me go to sleep?
“Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 1:10 NIV)
I inhaled Job’s question through my nose.
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 42:5 NIV)
Exhaled slowly through the mouth.
I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
The bed that seemed my enemy became an altar where I sacrificed praise.
Lamaze classes happen before the baby comes. You learn to breathe before you need to. And so we need to memorize Scripture on the good days, so that we can inhale them when pain and difficulty come.
Could we all learn a Bible verse today? I’m opening my drawer right now to find a notecard, and I’m going to prop it up against the little snowman above my kitchen sink. What verse would you choose to learn?
One breath for later.