Exhale and Consider the Joy

exhaleYou want me to call THIS pure joy? I exhale—breathe deeply and try to explain to the sympathetic voice on the line what has led me to make this phone call. I’m thousands of miles away from home and everything seems off kilter.

Another trial stares me in the face and I don’t feel ready for it. Can’t cancer be enough (granted, that trial ended in a miracle ten years ago—but I don’t feel ready to face another trial of any kind).

The words of James pop into my mind again, forcing me to check my Bible to see if I remembered it right just as soon as I finish my phone conversation.

It’s there. In black and white–heavily marked, underlined, color-coded and commented on. James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (NIV).

The Message says to think about those challenges that rush in from every side as a sheer GIFT. A gift that will help me define myself in my Savior.

I KNOW that with Jesus in the vessel, I can smile at the storm. I KNOW that I can lean back and release all of my fears and worries to my Savior. I KNOW these things.

I had conveniently forgotten that when tests and challenges come at me from all sides, I should feel JOY(click to tweet)

And so I exhale again. This time I try to exhale joyfully. I am not in control. Yes, I might face challenges of many kinds—but if I can revel in the power of a squall on the ocean, I can certainly revel in the power of my God in action as he works everything out in his time. I wait. I exhale my frustrations and worries and sheer panic. I inhale the promises, the assurance, the joy.

I’m joining Lisa-Jo Baker and other fantabulous bloggers for Five-Minute Friday. Our prompt this week? Exhale. Grand your pen and paper and start to write–you can do it!

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a ‘recovering cancer caregiver’ who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • “I am not in control. Yes, I might face challenges of many kinds—but if I can revel in the power of a squall on the ocean, I can certainly revel in the power of my God in action as he works everything out in his time. ”

    Anita, tours is now the third post I’ve read about breathing intentionally, about letting go of the fears and desire for control. I think God is telling me something – and I need to hear it. Thank you!

    • I love how God uses us to help and support each other in this community. Praying that he’ll be with you as you breathe!

  • The words of James always help me to remember how I need to treat situations. It’s not always easy, but always right. Great post and wonderful encouragement!
    Jennifer Kostick recently posted…Five Minute Friday: ExhaleMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by, Jennifer. James really knows how to tell it like it is–yet encourage me at the same time.

  • Exhaling joyfully. These words I love! I’m your next door neighbor at Lisa-Jo’s tonight … and visiting here has been a blessing …
    Linda@Creekside recently posted…Bye-Bye AnxietyMy Profile

  • Wow– thank you for sharing so honestly, Anita. May God grant you much grace to rejoice–and exhale–in the midst of trial.
    Courtney Lynn Harris recently posted…Dear Audrey {Exhale}My Profile

    • Thank you for your encouragement, Courtney. I know he’s with me and will supply the joy!

  • Loved This– Anita:
    “but if I can revel in the power of a squall on the ocean, I can certainly revel in the power of my God in action as he works everything out in his time.”

    Oh, how I struggle with the unknown future as I wait lately. Thank you for pointing me back in the direction of the truth.
    Cynthia Stuckey recently posted…No Longer Waiting to Exhale (FMF)My Profile

    • Waiting is not my strong point, either. May you find joy in the wait and the struggles and the trials, my friend!

  • Beautiful words, as always, Anita. My heart goes out to you on the struggles that you and your beloved have faced, and yet, you are strong and empowered by God above. He is with you both every step of the way.

    Much love from a fellow FMF pal,

    Shirley ~Light Love Hope recently posted…ExhaleMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by, Shirley :). You are so right–God EMPOWERS us (I just read 2 Timothy 1:7 this morning).

  • Breathing with you, my friend! He’s got this… He’s got you!
    ~Karrilee~ recently posted…Exhale… a Five Minute Friday postMy Profile

    • Thank you, my friend. I’m exhaling worries and inhaling joy–it’s sure nice to have friends help me out (sort of like a Lamaze coach 😉 ).

  • Amy

    Thank you Thank you Thank you Anita for the reminder to exhale joy. I so often forget that I am not in control or at least I pretend that I am controlling some of it. Today I will exhale joy as I wait in the unknown of a situation.
    Amy recently posted…Exhale {Five-Minute Friday}My Profile

  • Your reframe of perspective is inspiring. With upcomign tests, I will be facing those scary moments and trying to keep this post in my mind. Those squals on the water, the tops of the mountains, that wind blowing through the air.

    I hope the best for you, however you choose to move with this trial. ~Catherine

    • My hugs and prayers go out to you, Catherine, as you face your own trials and questions and uncertainties. God IS with us.

  • Hi Anita! I love the breathing in and out…and the healing that comes from letting go. We’ve all been there. I know I face my own trials as soon as my feet hit the floor every day, but I’m going to remember to ‘breathe’ and take in that wonderful grace.

    Wonderful imagery, I really liked this!
    (I’m allergic to oatmeal. I’m one of those chocolate lovers 🙂 )
    Ceil recently posted…SurrenderMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by, Ceil! Chocolate pretty much is the best thing ever ;). Thank you for your kind words and for stopping by.