Breathing Again

It felt a little bit like I hadn’t taken a deep breath in about a year.

Sometimes, you don’t know you’ve been holding your breath. Like when the car in front of you stops a little too quickly, or when the girl in the scary movie runs upstairs (WHY?!). You hold that breath and try to make it through until things right themselves again. You ignore the tightness in your chest, and the anxiety rising up inside as you focus on the thing right in front of you. And then things do right themselves, and you let that breath out and draw a new one in.

And filling your lungs feels a lot like relief.

That’s what last week was for me. In South Carolina, I found more than time away, more than new friends, more than a break.

I found relief.

The whole week was rest for me. It was relearning how to breathe again, when for such a long time, I’ve been holding my breath, and I didn’t even know it.

Almost a year ago, there was a night when I woke up with no air left in my lungs, and no way to let any in.

It’s been almost a year, and I thought I’d come to grips with this part of my story. But last week, I said it out loud. I told my story to a group of women, most of whom didn’t know the whole of it.

I told them that it had been a rough year.

I told them that I felt a little like I was just beginning to come out of the fog.

I told them that after Nathan was born, I had two pulmonary embolisms.

I told them that I should have died.

I told them that I didn’t, because God broke that blood clot apart before it killed me.

And I broke. In front of these women that I really didn’t know super well. Not in real life, anyway. But I cried, harder than I’ve cried in a while. The kind where you couldn’t stop if you tried. And it came from the inside, from this place I didn’t know about, because the tears really surprised me. I was not expecting them. I thought I’d gotten past this.

What broke me is that it was the first time I’ve said those words out loud. The first time I knew they were really true.

God broke that blood clot apart before it killed me.

When I’m telling people the story, which I don’t really share often anyways, I always just say that the blood clot broke apart as it passed through my heart and landed in my lungs. I don’t typically give God any credit.

The last eight years of my life have been full of a lot of disappointments. Big ones, like my mom dying, and my marriage taking every bit of strength we’ve got, and my daughter being born sick. And I know that God is good, but I have had a hard time believing that God was good to me.

breathing again -

The speaker on the last night of Allume talked about how sometimes we approach others with our fists up, rather than our arms outstretched – even when the arms of others are stretched out to us in welcome. He was talking about our relationships with our neighbors, but I realized that the person I approach with my fists up is God. The things that have happened in my life, the way my plans have fallen through, have left me feeling like I have to protect myself, because I can’t trust Him.

But last week, I remembered. I remembered that that is a lie. In the quiet spaces of traveling and reading books and reading the Word and having space to actually hear my own thoughts, He reminded me. In His incredible sweetness, He left His arms stretched out to me and reminded me of how good He is. And He used my own words to do it.

God broke that blood clot apart before it killed me.

The words fell out of my mouth without my permission and it was like He was correcting the story I’d been telling for the last year. And all of a sudden I knew, I knew that I have been so wrong, and He is so good, and He saved me, and why on earth would I keep my fists up to protect myself from the One who saved me?

And I could feel my fists coming down. And the gratitude and repentance all mixed together and overflowed in the tears running down my face. The tears I couldn’t control. Because who am I? Who am I to be saved when so many are not? And how can I deny the magnitude of His grace and mercy and pure goodness toward me when it is apparent every second of the day, in the very fact that I can breathe again?

And I can breathe again. Because He saved me from the blood clot and He saved me from myself. And maybe I was a bigger threat than the blood clot ever was.


If you feel like the God everyone says is good is simply not good to you, I want you to know that’s a lie. And it would have been a lie even if I’d died that night. His goodness is not dependent on our circumstances. But in this situation, He let me see His goodness. I needed that. And I’m so grateful for it.

I feel a little bit like I’ve been given new life. One that includes deep breaths and truth. And I’m finding that it’s a whole new way to live.

Black & White

A friend called the other day. We were talking about our kids and she asked me about Emmy. I was honest and admitted that I’m having a hard time figuring out how to love her well right now. The preschool years are simply not my favorite (give me elementary schoolers and I know what to do with them!) and I’m struggling.

Especially with homeschooling. I feel like a total failure there. As in, we aren’t getting a single thing done because of behavior and attention and focus and frustration. And now I don’t even want to do anything because I simply haven’t had the energy.

And she suggested I think about sending Emmy to preschool.

To which I responded, “I can’t, I committed to homeschooling and I’m gonna do it. All the reasons we chose to homeschool are still valid, and it would be selfish of me not to homeschool.”

And she very gently called me out like no one has ever done before.

She said something like this…

“Kayse, your personality is pretty black and white. You get an idea and decide to do something and then commit to it forever, with no room for adjustments. You just decide the way it is and then when things don’t work out the way you thought they would, you feel like a failure. You have high expectations but sometimes they can’t be met. And you don’t leave yourself any room for any other possibilities.

And I shut up. Because she was right. And I’d never thought about it that way before.

I do that. I take an idea and run with it. In my mind at least, I commit for FOREVER. I decide we’re going to homeschool for the rest of our lives. Or we’re never going to watch TV again. Or that chocolate chip cookies will never see my mouth again.

But then I watch TV. Or eat a cookie.

And I feel like a total failure. Because why can’t I stick to what I decided? Is my self-discipline so weak that I just can’t follow through with anything?

My friend said that she takes a different approach to decisions. She says “Hey, we’ll try this out for a while and see how it goes. If it works, great! If it doesn’t, we’ll figure something else out.”

This is completely foreign to me. But I like it. In theory.

The fact of the matter is that I’m not a single woman anymore. I am not just responsible for myself. In a way, life was a whole lot easier when it was just me and I could do what I wanted and go where I wanted and get there on time without spit-up on my shirt. But I’m not there anymore. There are a whole bunch of other factors and little humans that I’m responsible for. And I’m so very grateful that there are. But I need to adjust and stop living like it’s just me here. In this season of life, plans change. Things don’t work out. Kids get sick or shoes get lost or chocolate chip cookies get baked because WE ALL JUST NEED SOME CHOCOLATE SOMETIMES.

Grace. Grace. Grace.

black & white

I try my best to extend it to others. It comes so naturally to me there. I fully understand that no one is perfect, and I don’t expect anyone to be (except for maybe my husband, but I’m working on that, okay?), so grace is what they get. Obviously. This is just common sense to me.

But giving myself grace feels selfish. It feels like failure. I don’t love that. And it is anything but natural for me.

This is a problem, friends.

Do you do that, too? Do you give grace to everyone but yourself? Why do we live this way, holding ourselves to a higher standard than God does? Do we think we are better than He is? Wiser than He is?

I wonder these things. I don’t have any answers right now. He is working them out in me. I think that right now it’s enough for me to see that this is something I struggle with. And now I can begin to take steps in the right direction. Whatever those might be.

Right now, I do know that means that our homeschooling plan is changing. Because my social butterfly needs more people than just me to talk to. She needs structure and she needs to hear instruction from someone other than me. And this momma doesn’t want our days to continue on the way they’ve been going, with my frustration overtaking our relationship.

So this week, we are looking around for a preschool that fits our girl and our family. And I’m trying my best to not feel guilty about it. I’m reminding myself that both Jon and I believe that this is the best choice for Emmy right now, and I’m hopeful and excited for this new adventure for her.

I will probably always be a black & white sort of person. And when it comes to sin, that’s probably a good thing. But in all of the other areas of life, maybe gray isn’t so bad. Maybe in the middle of all of the decisions of motherhood and ministry and this season of life, gray looks a lot like grace.

Can you relate? Have you had to rethink your plans for something lately? How did you handle it? I’d love to hear, because clearly this whole “flexible” thing is not my strength!


**Please do not turn the comment section of this post into a homeschooling debate. I’d love to hear your thoughts on grace in the choices you make for your family. And I want us to all be sure that we’re extending grace to each other as we chat about it, respecting the choices of each momma for her family. We’re in this together, friends – don’t turn it into an argument over the things that our salvation doesn’t hinge on. Thanks.

**P.S. Thanks, Liz. Love you, friend, and your wise words to me. :)

Everyday Favorites | #everydayfaith | Day 27

graphic for favorites giveaway

I’m SO VERY EXCITED about today! I’ve gathered with some of my favorite blogging friends to give you this!!! We’re wrapping up the #everydayfaith series today. Yes, that means it’s only 27 days, but I’m okay with that because I have a lot of new things coming that I want to share with you. So today, a bunch of us are giving away our everyday favorite item! We’ve all contributed something that we use and LOVE, every day. One lucky {Read More}

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Friendship | #everydayfaith | Day 26


It’s Sunday. And I’m so grateful for the Sabbath. This week has been a Sabbath of sorts for me. A deep breath. Time with Jesus. Time with friends.   Cori . Christen . Leeann These are just a few of the amazing women that I’ve met this weekend. (And the only ones I actually remembered to take a picture with.) A few of the amazing new friendships I’ve been blessed with. Real, honest, heart-friends. And I am grateful.

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Nathan | #everydayfaith | Day 25


I rarely write about my boy. Poor kid is truly the second child. I’m working on his one year party and have only finished two pages in his baby book. I’m afraid he will feel like I didn’t love him as much because he doesn’t have all the stuff that Emily did. But here’s the reality — really, I have learned how to love differently. Not with records and documents and scrapbook paper, but with myself. I spend so much {Read More}

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small things | #everydayfaith | Day 24

small things

It has been a while since I’ve seen Him in the small things. For this introvert and internal processor, seeing life (and I mean really seeing it) takes time. And thoughts. And time to work out my thoughts. This is difficult with children. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids with my whole heart and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. But here, in the quiet, I’m realizing how long it’s been since I’ve been in the quiet. I {Read More}

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new friends | #everydayfaith | Day 23

new friends

Usually, it is super hard for me to meet new people. I’m an introvert who is easily intimidated by others, and it’s safer to just read a book in my room. But I’m at a blogging conference this week. With 400 other women. And I’m tired of being afraid of meeting new people. So this week, I’m changing my M.O. I’m going up to people and introducing myself. I’m seeking out the people who look like they are worried about {Read More}

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Waiting | #everydayfaith | Day 22

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I ran through the Atlanta airport to catch my connecting flight. Did you know Atlanta is a big airport? It is. So, you know, I’m counting that as my exercise for today. I was out of breath when I got to the plane, so it totally counts. (Sidenote: The old man who was running next to me the whole time was NOT out of breath when we got to the plane. So I am extremely lame.) Turns out, I didn’t {Read More}

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Trust | #everydayfaith | Day 21


Today I’m flying across the country to attend a blogging conference. I’m so incredibly excited (!!!) but having such a hard time leaving my babies. They will be in great hands – my mother in law is coming, and Jon will be home right after school. But I won’t be here. And that leaves me so very nervous. Part of it is just my momma heart. Those babies are my responsibility, I know them better than anyone, and our days {Read More}

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Distracted | #everydayfaith | Day 20

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I’m keeping this chapter of Undivided Mom in mind today, as I prepare to leave my family for six whole days. I’ve got some things to get done, but more than that, I want to spend quality time with my husband and my babies, and get my heart in the right place for my trip!!  Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a {Read More}

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