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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Just Breathe

You know how I told you God was going to heal my asthma?  (If you have no idea what I'm talking about you can go back and read the blog post entitled "No Matter What."  Or you can just jump in right here.  Totally up to you.)  Well, I realized recently that although I had told everybody out here in internet world that He was going to, I failed to mention that He had.  Rather than feel guilty about that and ruminate on the story in the Bible where only one in ten lepers goes back to praise Jesus for healing his leprosy, I'm going to send a quick "sorry" heavenward and remedy the situation.

So, yeah... I don't have asthma!  And, no, it is not that just at the present moment I'm not feeling any bronchial discomfort.  I mean I'm breathing better than I ever have in my entire life.  It was like there was a whole level of breathing I had never been exposed to, except in the brief moments immediately after using my emergency inhaler.  My "normal" was so not normal.  Consequently, I'm feeling like some kind of superhero with special breathing powers.  I take so much pleasure in just the simple act of drawing breath.

I don't know the moment I was healed.  I know that after God had promised me He was going to heal my lungs, things go worse.  Downright scary in fact.  I could hardly breathe sometimes and had a perpetual cough.  I just did my best to ignore it and I didn't panic.  Then things went back somewhat to normal.  Sometime after that, however, "normal" became extraordinary.

I noticed it while I was running.  You see, I had what is called "exercise-induced asthma."  (It was also stress-induced, pollen-induced, food-induced... you get the idea.)  Anyway, I would have to take a couple hits off of the puffer before I started even light exercise or in no time at all I would be reduced to a panting, wheezing, red-faced blob.  On the occasions when I would go out for a run prior to God's word on healing, Phillip would always call after me, "Do you have your inhaler?" for fear I would collapse on the street somewhere.  It was fairly serious.

But, as you know if you have been reading, I've been on quite the running kick for the past two months or so and haven't used an inhaler.  Not once.  And it hasn't been because of grim determination; I haven't needed to.  My lungs don't just feel fine while I'm running, they feel better.  Like everything is open and wide in there.  It makes me giddy just thinking about it.

So after my running realization, I decided to try something else out.  Yes, it is true; you should not put God to the test.  You are not going to see me pick up any rattlesnakes or anything unless I get a very clear directive from God to do so.  It's not the same thing, though, to realize you are healed, in accordance to a personal promise from God, and try to do something you couldn't do with your affliction.  It would be silly if God healed a paralytic but they continued not to walk.  So I took my own version of those first steps... in the kitchen.

You see, there were certain foods that triggered my asthma.  Delicious, wonderful, healthy foods that if I ate them even in reasonable quantities could possibly kill me.  I once scared Phillip to death on a dinner date because I ate all of the grape tomatoes in my salad (because they are DELICIOUS) and then a few moments later was unable to speak and turning a bit blue as I rummaged madly in my purse for the puffer.

So it was with a keen sense of excitement that I returned from my run and made myself a feta and tomato salad (with a little balsamic vinegar...delish).  It was a monster-sized one too and I ate the whole freaking thing and then spent a few minutes gloating and breathing with not so much as a wheeze.  Since then I have eaten other priorly forbidden foods with the same result.  Avocado, watermelon, how I love thee.  I even guzzled a big glass of milk and then went for a run, which in the past would have needed to be preceded by the writing of a suicide note.  I have the bronchial tubes of a champion.

Before this all happened, when God had told me it would but hadn't healed my body yet, I was talking to a woman about all this healing stuff.  She knew my present struggle but the conversation had turned, as it always tends to, to Eddie and all that I'd been through with that.  She asked me how I do it.  How I live without him, day in and day out.  I told her some days are easier than others.  Some days joy is right there waiting for me when I wake up, but on other days all I can do is just sit with God and breathe.  I don't pray really; I just breathe.  She made the observation that this was interesting to say when now my breath seemed to be being taken away from me. I smiled, realizing that this test of my faith was no different than any other.  I needed to ignore what "seemed to be" true and just breathe.

I'm grateful that I can now breathe with abandon.  That I can breathe with a greater depth and a greater awareness of what a privilege it is just to draw air into a pair of healthy lungs.  I'm so grateful that I had asthma so that I know what it is like not to have that privilege, to live restricted.  I pray that I never forget or begin to take this all for granted.  That every time I bite into a tomato that it taste all the sweeter for the fact that I can have it and continue to breathe.  Just breathe.

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