Take my breath away…

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away”

Hearts are melting, you’ve all seen this on the pallet sign you have saved on your Pinterest boards to hang above your bed…or print on wedding invitations.  This has become the hipster Carpe Diem of sorts.  I just wonder if every marriage that displays this quote, or every woman that claims these words as her own can remember them even when the storm hits.

I absolutely love this quote but probably for reasons far different from the average mamma bear.  I lost my my mom in a tragic car accident when I was 20 years old.  I had just spent the day with her the day before and I was volunteering at church that morning.  I had grown up in that church and she had worked there for over 12 years as the church secretary…she knew and loved everyone.  I got there a few minutes late and everyone was looking for me (I wasn’t that late and this was before cell phones).  What happened next I will never forget as long as I live…the family pastor took me to the parking lot and told me that my mom had been in an accident and had been killed.  He said it was like a band-aid, you just had to rip it off and deal with the pain.  Did I have any questions?  I never understood his lack of caring in that moment.  But that moment, took my breath away forever.  I have healed in many ways but in some I never will.  I am forever changed.  I am a daughter without a mom.  This year I have now lived as long without her as I did with her.

I remember people asking me during the early days after her accident how I was dealing with everything…my answer was always GRACE.  God wrapped me in His grace and carried me through.  Then the anger hit and I tried to do things my way on my road.  That didn’t go as well.  I had several years in the wilderness.  God didn’t go anywhere, I did.  I pushed and I struggled and yet still I could feel His spirit tugging at my heart.  I knew that wasn’t the life I wanted.

When I met my husband, I felt like God sent neon signs and construction road crews to get my life back on track.  Our life together has been amazing…not perfect or easy but AMAZING.  He is my best friend.  That means that we love hanging out together more than with anyone else.  He is the first person I think of when I have something juicy to share or an embarrassing moment to confess.  He also annoys me sometimes but I know that has no bearing on whether or not he’ll still be my best friend.  We have faced things with our children that most people only see in made for TV movies, we started his company on a house note and a prayer, we’ve remodeled houses together that most people would’ve walked away from… somehow we just get closer.  A marriage of moments that have taken my breath away.  Like the day we found out our daughter has a cyst on her heart… and we had to wait together to find out exactly what that means.  I couldn’t breathe.  When my son broke his tooth in half and my husband swam in the pool until he found the other half on the bottom so that it could be fixed right.  Small examples of moments shared in this crazy life together.

I think when we see this quote or print it in a wedding invitation or hang it above our bed, we better be ready for ALL of life’s moments.  There are going to be amazing moments that leave you breathless for sure…walking down the aisle, holding your child for the first time, passionate kisses…I could go on and on with the positives because those are easy and happy to think about.  Those are easy to face and embrace together.  Everyone wants to measure life by those moments but those aren’t really the moments that make you I’ve learned.  Job loss, sick kids, death…those are the moments that test the fibers.   I grew into the person I am today in those dark and difficult moments that I had to survive.   They might have taken my breath away and they definitely changed me, but the real key has been learning to decide how they would change me.  Learning that I did indeed have that power to decide and live accordingly.  I have chosen to live a life well measured…in other words, not stuck in one moment defined by the odds.  I want to move beyond certain circumstances and grow from them.  Yes, they have changed me but not destroyed me.  I’m still breathing and living.  I love this quote because it reminds me that no matter what life brings, it will be the life defining moments that change you and grow you.  Anyone can bide their time and navigate a day…only the brave truly live.

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