“She’s taken some breathes on her own.” Those seven words brought a dramatic and noisy change to the hospital ICU waiting room. My family all cheered and laughed after too many days of careful, cautious smiles to one another. Hope is an amazing and powerful commodity. We cannot conjure it up on our own as hard as we may try. As believers we know that God is good and that He loves our mother even more than we do. So we hung on to that very real and deeply planted knowledge.
A few days later I asked Him where He was because things were not going well for our mom… His answer came swiftly, “As close as your breath.” I recognized a small theme. Breath. Machines can breath for us, but it is our own breath that keeps us truly alive. His breath. My mother had taken a few breathes on her own. Those little puffs of air carried hope. They carried rest. My own breathing became more relaxed and deeper.
I knew that my God held my mom as close as a breath. I stopped holding my breath and waiting for her last one. He had it in His hand and she was fine with that. God is good. Breathing is good. Hope is a lovely thing.
Eventually a machine once again assisted her breathing. God still held her close, as close as His breath. Trusting Him for the outcome became complicated by the tubes and whirring contraptions all around her in the ICU. Were we still resting in Him? Now she was surrounded by high-pitched beeps and low pitched hums. Did we take her out of His hands?
“I still have her. I am still close.” He never did let go of her. The machines did not come between them. We did not come between God and His child. Our manmade contraptions are not too big for God. His goodness is better than ours. Our very best, pales next to His best.
The 19th of May will be the 3rd anniversary of the day that our mother’s breath stopped on earth, but began again in Heaven. She moved from painful and labored breathing, to free and easy breathing in her real home, her final home. The home she has talked about since before I was born.
Next Sunday is Mother’s Day. I will be thinking of my mom and remembering the way she smiled under that hospital ventilator mask when we talked to her about “going Home”. I don’t know what she is doing or how she will celebrate Mother’s Day, but I will not be sad. I will be full of hope. Because God is good and He is still as close as my breath.