My son and I are currently hanging out in our RV at a naval base in California. This morning I heard chanting on the path behind our camper and looked outside to see a squad of naval cadets jogging. They were doing what the military likes to call a “fun run." Or the less fun term, squadron PT. In the front was the leader, carrying the squadron flag and leading the group chant. Directly behind him keeping in perfect formation were the other cadets. They were keeping in pace with the leader, repeating the chant as they jogged closely behind him. Then quite a distant behind the group were two stragglers. A female cadet obviously struggling to keep moving. The other cadet was stronger, and seemed to slow his pace to stay beside her. I watched them for a while. Every few minutes he said something to her. While I could not hear what he was saying, I imagined it to be words of encouragement. Maybe telling her how much farther she had to go, reassuring her he was going to stay right beside her. Or maybe he was simply reminding her to breathe.
I used to be the strong one, or at least I could keep up with the group. But these days I am struggling, tired, emotionally depleted.
My son was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy when he was four. He is now twenty. In the beginning I would pour over the internet looking for information. Keeping up on the latest research and hoping for a cure. These days I barely glance at the articles that come across my computer. As my son's disease continues to cause him to decline, our life has significantly slowed. I struggle to have the energy or the desire to even think about the future. I know it is another season of life, one that I don’t completely understand or how to get through. I wonder if there are others going through something similar? I Don’t have much wisdom to share in how to get through it. Maybe we can run this season together.
Sometimes we just need someone to remind us to breathe, to stay the course.
Remind us to breathe: God is not only walking beside us, he holds our hand and will not let us go. "So do not fear, I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (Isaiah 41:10 NIV).
Remind us to breathe: God will give us what we need when we need it. "Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV).
Remind us to breathe: If we allow him, God will help bear our burdens. "Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior who daily bears our burdens" (Ps 68:19 NIV).
I pray God will show each of us in a very real way that he is right beside us. As he slows his pace to match ours, I pray we will listen to his whispers of hope and encouragement to us in this difficult season of life.
Psalm 27:13-14 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.