FriFeb25

Psalm 9:9 The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

She’s a wife. A mom. A daughter. A grandmother. She carries in one arm a child. Perhaps the child is her son. Daughter. Grandchild. The child is heavy. But does not compare to the weight in her heart. A weight that seems unbearable, as it presses in on her chest, almost suffocating her. Breathing, something that normally would come without a thought, is a conscious decision in the midst of this moment in time that will forever be embedded in her heart and mind. Breathe. Remember to breathe. 

As the child squirms, she adjusts him in her arms, while pulling a bag behind her. A bag stuffed full with items necessary for the journey. A bag in which she managed to squeeze in that special item from home, a piece of the memories from the place she may never return. A bag that in a different situation would have been pulled by her husband or son. Yet, another reminder of what is being left behind. Breathe. Remember to breathe.

Leaving her vehicle along the side of the road wasn’t what she anticipated. Needing to walk the six miles to the border was not something she expected. Yet, this day, today, well, none of it was something she had planned for the life of her family. On this day she found herself in a long line of vehicles; a line in which she couldn’t spare the time to wait. She couldn’t risk being unable to escape from the country she called home. So, as was so for many other women in that line, she unloaded her family from her vehicle, grabbed her bag, and began walking to the border that would provide some sense of protection for her family. The wind whipped. The children cried. Feet became blistered. And her heart bled for all she was leaving behind. Breathe. Remember to breathe. 

With each step, her mind went back in time. Where just hours before, she stood in the arms of her husband. She took in every detail of his face. The deep color of his eyes; the eyes she wanted to get lost in just one more time. The smile lines around his mouth; lines created from so many good moments. Moments of laughter within the walls of their house. Moments of watching their children wrestle on the floor. Moments of laughing at jokes that would only be funny to those gathered around the table. Moments….her mind shifted to his strong arms embracing her. Arms that had carried their children. Arms that had built their home. Arms that had protected her. Arms that protected their boys. Arms that would now be used…she couldn’t go there. Yes, arms that would be used to protect their country. Arms that may never again wrap around her. Breath. Remember to breathe.

As I listened to the news today, tears rolled down my cheeks as I imagined what my family would like under the circumstances the Ukraine families are facing this week. I would be packed up and heading to the border with my parents, two daughters-in-law, two granddaughters. I would be saying good-bye to every one of my five sons. I would be saying good-bye to my husband. With 18–60-year-old males unable to leave the country, and being asked to fight, I would be hugging my husband and each of my “children” one last time. Knowing that my only option was to escape, while their only option was to stay back and fight for the country we call home. It would be a day where my body would need to physically be pried from the six of them. It would be a day where my wailing would be heard for miles around, as it blended with the cries of pain from the other men and women in our town.  Indeed, it would be a day that would forever be embedded in my heart, and in my mind. It would be a day that I would need to remind myself to breathe. Because in that moment, I fear, not taking another breath would seem the better option. Breathe. Remember to breathe. 

As we pray for those in the Ukraine, I challenge us to really pause. To really take in what they must be experiencing. To put ourselves in their place. To imagine the faces of our family members on the images we are seeing. Allow God to break our hearts for what is breaking His heart. Allow God to bring to our heart’s specific groups of people in whom to pray for. Perhaps your heart is drawn to praying for the mothers. Maybe it’s for the fathers. For the leaders. For the young men saying good-bye to their moms and sisters. Maybe God is calling you to pray for the countries who are taking in these women and children. Or for the leadership in Russia. The families impacted in Russia. For our US troops standing nearby. The families of those US troops. For our leadership in the US. The veterans who are emotionally struggling. The list goes on. It’s amazing what God will place on our hearts when we give Him the time and opportunity to intervene and speak to us. Let’s place ourselves in a posture of prayer that allows us to fully embrace whatever it is that God is asking of us today.  I won’t say it’s an easy process; in fact, it’s painful to open ourselves up to see and feel a glimpse of what God sees and feels. And yet, it’s necessary. And we don’t do it often enough. When we do this, we can pray with more fervor, passion, sympathy. I hope we will each pause and read over the scriptures below. Close our eyes. Allow God to bring to mind what He would like us to pray for today; beginning the process of pouring out our hearts to Him. And breathe. We must remember to breathe. Giving ourselves the chance to rest in Him, as He captures any tears we may shed as we imagine ourselves in the situation of others. 

Psalm 9:9 The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

Psalm 62:5-8 Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress; I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.  

Misty Cramer is a wife of 37 years and mom to five incredible grown sons, two beautiful daughters-in-law, and two sweet granddaughters. She is an author, speaker, and founder and owner of Imagine 320, an online space that provides encouragement and inspiration through writing and speaking. You may follow Misty @mistydawncramer on Instagram; Misty Cramer, Author & Speaker on Facebook, and subscribe to her website at imagine320.com.

Misty Cramer ©2022

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