Catch your Breath

shutterstock_158503742When my 3rd child, Landry Rose, was just a little baby toddler, we began to realize how she was born a little more stronger-willed than the other kids.

One day, we were at a bar-b-que restaurant after church with the family. Landry was just a little over 1 year old and she was barely walking. She was exhausted and her afternoon nap was a few hours overdue. Ryan paid the tab as we started to make our way back out to the car. I was holding Landry’s hands carefully letting her toddle through the restaurant as we made our exit. I noticed she was trying to pull away from the safety of my grasp but I knew if she did, she would hurt herself (or try to crawl on the dirty floor) and I wanted to keep her safe.

After pulling and tugging on her trying to keep her with me, I finally decided just to pick her up and I just put her straight into daddy’s arms as we were exiting the restaurant.

What happened next was pretty crazy.

You know how when a baby gets really upset and they make a loud cry but then hold their breath and you just kind of wait for the big scream that comes at the end of the giant pause as they do a huge inhale. Their mouth is wide open and their face is red. You can almost count it down, knowing the explosion is about to commence. 3 ….. 2 …. 1 ….. but this time was different.  I waited for the scream but instead it was just a big inhale, nothing …. Still nothing … and then I just heard a tiny whimper as her head falls forward onto her daddy’s chest. She just falls limp in his arms. No scream. Just silence. I can only see the back of her soft, baby neck at this point which I’ve noticed is completely blue.

“Is she okay?” I yelled.

Ryan tries to look at her but she is limp against his chest. “I don’t know!” as he FREAKS OUT! He put Landry in my arms and I just start beating on her back turning her upside down. I had no idea if she has picked something off the floor and perhaps was choking. I screamed out to the random family that was walking out the same time as I was and told them, “CALL 911!!!!!”

A few (very long) seconds later her eyes kind of focused again and her color began to come back. She just whimpered a little and stayed real still. I think I aged about 15 years in that short minute or so. It was terrifying! Before we knew it, the ambulance arrived and kind of looked her over but she really seemed fine at that point and we had no explanation of what even happened. The paramedic advised us to call our pediatrician in the morning and let them know what happened.

So I did. My pediatrician said,  “It looks like she had a BHS. That stands for breath-holding-spell. About 5% of kids do this. You might see her have more and more of it – it might even peak around 3 years old. When it happens, just make sure she faints in a safe place and just don’t give in or give her what she wants. Stay firm. It’s actually a good thing when she passes out. That is her body taking over her will. When you pass out, it forces your body to breathe again. Your body takes over your will and emotion and it all becomes right again.”

WHAAAAAT? This is like, a thing? Like there is a name for this? And it’s going to happen again? I have never even HEARD of this and I have like a million friends with kids!

Over the course of the next year, it really did happen more and more, especially when she was exhausted. It always seemed to happen at the most inconvenient times. I remember in a bounce house at a birthday party, she got mad because I wanted her to pose for a picture but she wanted to keep bouncing. Sure enough, here it came. The big inhale and pause. She’s only 1 year old, I know that she is not doing this on purpose although it is evident she has a very strong will. She turns blue and her eyes roll back in her head and there she goes. I picked her up and a few people were gawking and screaming, “IS SHE OKAY?????” I got pretty used to it by then. “Oh yeah, she’s fine. Just don’t pay attention. Don’t give her what she wants. She’ll be fine.” … as my child is blue and passed out on the floor LOL!

Once she even passed out on our kitchen floor and I didn’t catch her in time and she busted her nose open.

Now Landry is 7 years old and thank goodness she doesn’t pass out anymore every time she doesn’t get her way, she still seems to be my most strong-willed child. She still gets extremely upset when things are different then the way she thinks they should go.

So it got me thinking … how many times do we throw our tantrums and want our own way. We try to control situations to go the way we want them to go. We want what we want even if it’s bad for us …. even if it could hurt us. We kick and scream and force our will … until we get knocked down. Until life kicks us in the rear. We lay on our backs and take a deep breath. We stop for just a moment and reflect on what just happened. God wants us to just breathe Him in. Catch our breath and lean on Him. He wants to protect us and love us and sometimes we don’t even take advantage of Immanuel – God with us.

Sometimes God wants to get our attention so we can finally STOP doing what isn’t the best that He has for us. Sometimes we leave the safety of his grasp when we decide our way is better. Sometimes when we hit rock bottom, it might just be a blessing. When we get so focused on what WE think we want, we have no idea that right around the corner, God has something amazing for us but we have no clue because we are so focused on our own wants.

Some of you may be at your rock bottom right now. You think that your life couldn’t get any worse and you think that everything is falling apart.  Just stop. Breathe in His grace and exhale His praise. Rock bottom can be a GOOD thing! Lean on God and let Him show you how to get back up again. He will! He’s just waiting for you to ask! He will help you catch your breath.

If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath. {Psalm 34:18}

Written by Amy Ford

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