Breathe In: Keep Singing

Here Steph shares a Breathing In practice for our Breathing In & Breathing Out series. Steph is a South African-American. She blogs at Bridging Hope about race, missions, social justice, community development, simplicity, & what following Jesus looks like.

To be honest, it doesn’t feel like there is much breathing in during this season of our lives. With a part-time online teaching job and part-time work for a community development organization here in South Africa, as well as a busy one-year-old, it often feels like I’m dashing from one thing to the next. We’ve made certain choices as a family to help us be better stewards and love our neighbors better— choices like sharing a car, trying to live within walking distance to work, living in a tiny house—but in the day to day, those choices don’t always feel like a great out-pouring of love for neighbor, they feel like my irritating life (which then results in me feeling guilty since my life is so easy compared to most people in South Africa). To compound the problem, things I used to do to “breathe in” — like leisurely cups of coffee, or yoga, or walks by myself in nature — are pretty impossible in this toddler season of life.

I finally realized I still need to breathe, I just need to find new ways to do it. One way I have always connected with God is through music. A piano doesn’t fit in our tiny house, but I am realizing that doesn’t mean we don’t have space for music. My husband plays guitar, and helping to lead worship together every so often at our church means we’ve started making time to sing together as a family (which our kid loves!) We’ve started singing our thanks before meals, rather than saying it. When I wake up in the morning, I don’t get my thirty minute uninterrupted coffee and meditation time, but I have started turning on music that I can hum along to in the midst of our morning routine (chaos!), keeping my soul aware of Christ’s presence. Some of our favorites are albums from The Many, the South African band We Will Worship, and the new Hillsong isiXhosa tracks, as well as Rain for Roots (which we say is for our little guy but is really for me, let’s be honest). Last night we had a family dance party to the Hamilton soundtrack (I think Jesus approved).

Audrey Assad has a song which I have found to be true— and have in fact been singing above the tumult of nappies and meal prep and report writing and horrible inequality and life’s big questions this week. I hope it encourages you as well:

My life flows on in endless song;
Above earth’s lamentation
I hear the sweet, though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation…
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing
It finds an echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing?…
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that refuge clinging
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?

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