Breath of Heaven

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It was almost 22 years to the day.

I was 9 months pregnant and due on January 8th. That’s what THEY SAID; SHE had different plans.
When the doctor finished his examination, he calmly stated that I would be having a baby, “TODAY.”

“TODAY, as in TO-DAY?”

“Yes, and we’ll need you to head to the hospital – NOW.”

“What? That is NOT the plan.”

“It is now and if you can’t assure us that you’ll head straight for the hospital, we can arrange for an ambulance.”

I went out to my car,  a baby blue Ford Escort, on an absolutely frigid day in Chicago, ice and snow covering the ground. That little car needed time to warm up, so I sat reluctantly patient for a moment and waited, all alone. I was trying to wrap my head around the fact that I WAS GOING TO HAVE A BABY!

The journey had been a long one. I had prayed for years, endured fertility treatments for years and I knew the magnitude of this event. The day had arrived and it looked NOTHING like I had planned.

My husband was downtown in a pre cell phone age, and I needed to get word to him.
Travel plans needed to be changed.
I still had Christmas shopping to do.
I was told that I could not even PACK my own bag; I needed to get to the hospital immediately.

As I sat there in the car, overwhelmed in the moment, a song came on the radio. Now, it wasn’t the first time I’d heard it, but the first time I HEARD it…

” I am waiting in a silent prayer. I am frightened by the load I bear. In a world as cold as stone, Must I walk this path alone? Be with me now ~
Breath of Heaven, hold me together, be forever near me…breath of heaven… Breath of Heaven, light in my darkness, pour over me your holiness, for YOU are Holy…”

In my hormonal state I sat there and WEPT.

For the first time in my life, I imagined Mary, the girl.

Faith and trust in plans that are not mine.

I imagined her hearing the plans for her and submitting out of faith. I am certain that when the angel told her she was going to carry GOD’S child, it was not what she had imagined for herself, nor was the donkey ride to Bethlehem or the barn in which HIS life would begin, OR the “relocation” to Egypt, but she remained unwaveringly faithful to the plans that were never hers in the first place.

 THOSE words stayed with me.

I’d LOVE to say that it was the naivety of being a twenty-something and I learned EVERYTHING about trust, faith and patience that day, BUT I’ve come to learn, it’s a LIFELONG process.

5 years later, in another miracle from GOD, I found myself pregnant again at Christmas (there was another miracle birth in between, but she was a summer babe. God knew that I couldn’t handle THREE Christmas babies.) With two in tow to the doctor late in the month of December, I was again in a vehicle, which by this time had been upgraded to a van, and this time, I was IMPATIENT.

Both of my other children had been weeks early and surely this one would be too. I was anxious, and fitful, because again, I had a plan; I was ready! Again, timed perfectly, HE placed THAT SONG into my world and again, I cried.

Patience.

This time, it brought me back to Mary and her patience. Patience with God’s plan: not her plan, and I sat still in the reminder, not my plan, but HIS.

I THOUGHT I had learned what I needed to five years earlier. Apparently not, and in all transparency, 22 years later I am still learning, aren’t we all learning as we continue to walk towards home.

As 2016 began, we found ourselves in the midst of plans which were once again rearranged. We found ourselves, in essence, back where we began. Back in Chicago, not expected in any way,(sort of like Mary and Egypt ;)) but through a long year of stillness, testing and coming to the Lord with honest, heartfelt prayers, He has proven again His faithfulness, in His time; always and only in HIS time. 

Refining patience and cultivating deeper faith and trust and patience: WRECKS me every time. 

So, as I prepare my heart for Christmas this year, I find myself dwelling on Mary, her obedience, her faithfulness and her patience. In these final hours of Advent, I am tuning my heart to the grace of abundant, radical faith and patience once again, in a world that would likely laugh at Mary and her response to the Lord.

I pray you’ll linger with Jesus, the breath of heaven, and allow HIM to pour over you HIS holiness. A holiness that dissolves anxiety and brings peace. A holiness that resists impatience and replaces it with trust and faith, even when all hell is breaking loose. A holiness that reflects divine wisdom and truth. It is in that holiness that we can come to a sacred space where we fully and humbly offer those same HARD words that Mary did,

“I am the servant of the Lord. Let this happen to me as you say.” (Luke 1:38)

Lori MacMath

Lori's daily mantra includes praying, "I will take it Lord, ALL you have to give," and a commitment to live out Colossians 3:17 daily. It's her prayer that the energy that fills her spirit be with her till her dying breath! Nearly two years ago, Lori traded the sauna of the Deep South, for the snow of Chicago. After 19 years in Atlanta, Lori has bought herself a coat and some winter boots and is ready for the NEXT adventure at Harvest Bible Chapel / Chicago West. She navigates this road with her husband of 26 years and they have 3 children, ranging in age from 17 - 22. She seeks daily to be creative and use the gifts the Lord has given her. With the heart of an artist and a spirit to live intentionally missional, Lori strives daily to see Him in all that surrounds her. Encouraging women on their daily walk with the Lord is her passion! She has recently stepped out into NEW territory with her husband in the inner city of Chicago. She is on staff at Harvest Chicago West, in the Austin neighborhood, where the Lord is opening her eyes to Urban Ministry and Discipleship. Lori and her husband also have a Business as Missions endeavor that helps empower women and missionaries around the world. She would be HONORED if you'd visit Hope Products International where providing HOPE to the world through fair trade and sustainable products. Lori has served in a number of roles over the years, ranging from Camp/Leadership Adventure Coordinator, a mid week Bible club for elementary and upper elementary students in a local public elementary school as well as being on staff at her church. She is excited in this season to watch the Lord unfold HIS plans for the next step on the journey. Helping others, loving others where they are and seeing the transforming power of Jesus is at the heart of all she does. Her heart for children, women and all those on the broken road is at the core of everything she does. She LOVES playing graphically and encouraging others through visual arts, and her passion for Discipleship is at the heart of all she does. It truly inspires her and fills her spirit.

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11 Comments

  1. Sweet, sweet blessings to you dear Lori.

    Reply
  2. Wow, Lori! This was a great story! We’re really all better off only focusing on God’s plans. They’re always so much better than ours!

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  3. I loved bearing a child at this time of the year. It always made me feel closer to Mary somehow. My sweet boy’s birthday is in a week – 2 days before we celebrate Christ’s birth. Yes, Mary had to be patient and trust God’s plans. Good wisdom for us moms today too!

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  4. Lori,
    I loved this!! And the song gets me everytime too.
    I learn so much from Mary’s obedience and what she faced. Your words are absolutely beautiful!

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  5. This is a beautiful post Lori! So much of our life we waste actually being impatient and pondering the “what ifs”. All of that time could be spent at His feet. This is a wonderful reminder. Thanks girl!

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  6. A beautiful picture of how very patient He is with us – always! Loved it. Thank you!

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  7. Great post. Oh, how I want to be more like Mary in my faith and obedience and how grateful I am that He is such a patient Father.

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  8. Lori, I have to say…I just came from your place and then was completely undone by reading your post. I have flooded eyes right now, trying to type keys I can barely see, with a bandaid on a sore finger…and an ache in my heart…knowing full well the words to this song…for I have heard that one before. I understand your feeling.
    Bless you my sweet friend…

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  9. Lori, this was a BEAUTIFUL post! Thank you! I love this song, too. I have a “Christmas” baby- born on December 21st. I remember being so lonely in the hospital because we had moved to a new home, out of state, and didn’t know many people yet…….. But, our sweet Jesus brings so much comfort and peace, doesn’t he?

    Blessings and Merry Christmas!
    Tracy

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  10. That song is just beautiful and I am with you on the crying part. I squall like a baby every time I hear it!

    I’m behind on my reading but wanted you to know this touched me so much today. Much love to you Lori..:)

    Lisa

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  11. Just read this on a local blog. Before I even read the blog, I could relate to it. You see my now 19 year old daughter has spina bifida which I found out when I was 22 weeks pregnant. I have played this song over and over- twice just yesterday. I even told my family that they are playing it at my funeral. I have used this song by Amy Grant as my prayer.

    Reply

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