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When we lived in New Mexico I decided to begin jogging.  The first week or so during my run I’d develop a stitch in my side.  A neighbor who was an avid jogger told me that it would help if I took more intentional, bigger breaths as I ran.   When I tried it, it helped!  I needed some more oxygen.  I can’t imagine running without taking big breaths.  In fact, moving at all would be impossible without breathing…so would living!

I have several good friends who are on the journey of illness and recovery.   They each have blogs or care pages so I can read their thoughts, feelings, and experiences along the way.  They inspire me.  They are choosing to trust God and look at the best side of things as much as possible.   It’s not that they are “Pollyannas” or candycoat their experiences; they’re honest and real and that is probably the biggest inspiration of all.

What does it mean to be inspired?  I looked it up today.  I mean, I have my own understanding of the word but it was neat to look through all the different possible definitions:  “to fill or affect with feeling or thought, to guide or control by divine influence, to give rise to, to influence or impel,” and my favorite one “to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence.”  (from www.dictionary.com)

Their confessions of faith in God no matter what fill the air like big breaths of the purest oxygen.  I’m refreshed as I walk beside them, inspired.   Their testimonies actually have the power to lift up those who are bowed down or lagging behind, to swirl about and sweep those who feel alone up in a warm embrace, to waft along behind them filling hearts nearby with the sweet fragrance of hope.   I appreciate so much when fellow travelers’ share openly and honestly about struggle and how God is working in the midst of it, in spite of it, and because of it to bring about good.  Those stories can resuscitate someone who has fallen, who is almost spiritually dead or very weak.

God, in His grace, allowed us to all walk life’s path with each other.  Step up beside someone who is sharing their story, listen, take a deep breath.  Be inspired.

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