I had a friend who’s little girl didn’t have the gift of healthy lungs. She lived life attached to a machine that helped her weak lungs breathe and then the machine wasn’t enough. She was flown by helicopter to a hospital where she was to get new lungs, but sadly died before she could receive them. Little Isabel taught me not to take my lungs – the easy way I breath, for granted. Every breath is a gift. When your lungs open wide to let oxygen in, it’s a miracle. When your body takes that oxygen and fuels the entire body, it’s beyond what we can understand.
And what about this world we live in with a full supply of oxygen everywhere we go? I heard Nadia Bolz Weber talk about the story of God creating humans and breathing the breath of life into them. She said, “What if oxygen is God’s breath?” What if the atmosphere of our entire environment is God’s breath?
His breath – constantly swirling around us – willing is to live.
His breath being breathed in and out by our enemies, willing them to be redeemed.
His breath keeping us alive, keeping us moving forward toward the good he’s planned for us.
His breath meaning he has not gotten tired of us.
Place your hands on your rib cage. Feel it swelling and then receding. This is proof that God is rooting for you. Let that fact ripple out and calm all your corners where you secretly worry.
Now let’s pretend we can fly back through time and watch God creating Eve. The Bible says men and women together complete a picture of His image, so half is what we describe as female. Would it be too much to say God inhabited Her female side while She created Eve…pouring all Her “female” aspects into this creation?
Maybe we stand on tiptoe to watch over a Her shoulder as God lovingly shapes every part of Eve, bending close, concentrating. She designs Eve’s mind, a perfect reflection of Her own, completely interconnected with a special interest in beauty, fun and relationships. God puts in Eve’s heart gifts for nurturing, just like She does. She creates womankind with lots of open spaces inside her to house great emotions. She knows Eve and all her daughters will mother many ideas and knows this creativity will remind women of Her own vast love for bringing things to life.
And then God sits back on Her heels and gazes at woman. Because She is outside time, She can see all women will be, all every woman will offer. Maybe She cries a little because She knows separation will come and She won’t be able to have woman safely next to her like she is now. Sometimes women will hurt and God won’t be able to reach over and calm them with a touch.
So Mother God gives woman a gift she will always have – every moment she’s alive. She leans down and puts Her mouth on Eve’s and exhales, bringing women into existence. God’s warmth, Her life moves into woman who inhales for the first time. An inaugural breath. Eve’s eyes blink open and she see’s God’s own face, full of love and pride.
Separation did come and we don’t get to watch God’s face light up at sight of us. Because of this, we sometimes wonder if we’re worthwhile; we feel naked and ashamed. But if your lungs billow like sails full of oxygen, God’s breath of life is sustaining you. When we feel the rise and fall of our chests each morning, we have fresh evidence we were God’s idea and He wants us to live. It’s like life saving mouth-to-mouth all day and night for the rest of our lives. The Bible says His mercies are new each morning. Maybe they ride in on the breath and exhale in hope.