Spiritual CPR

Theoretically speaking, if you take proper maintenance of a car, it could last forever. My husband is pushing this theoretical truth every day in a 1984 Honda Accord. This runner has had many visits to the mechanic, and just as many repairs in our own garage. You could skip the maintenance and just go repair-to-repair. However, most people are aware of the enormous amount of trouble they get into if they skip maintenance.

What is maintenance for life? I have loved Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs since I first read it. Maintenance probably covers the whole pyramid up until you hit self-actualization.

Yet suddenly a crisis is upon you. A crisis of faith, a crack in your marriage, a season of grief or depression, the death of someone so important to you there are threads of that person all through your life's tapestry, and now suddenly their scarlet cord is seen no more. Horrible memories that have stayed stuffed in a box for many, many years come spilling out of the past and into your present.

In health care, when we get a patient gasping on a gurney, blue-tinged with the effort to suck air into lungs, we do something called CPR. What about spiritual CPR? How do you react when the car finally grinds to a halt? You've probably had weeks of little warning signs that something's wrong, but you don't put your finger on it until the car won't go another foot. I do the same thing spiritually. It is out of my deepest crises that I cry loudest for God, long deepest for Him, feel distant and alone.

When that wheezing patient comes in on the ambulance gurney, both nurses and doctors rush to check a list of body functions that has also earned an acronym. ABC. Airway: does the person still have an opening for the Word to work? Breathing: has the person been breathing in Christ through the Bible? Circulation: is that Bible study apparent in the actions of the person?

Nurses see patients who can't breath for various reasons. But the response is always, always the same. ABC. If those are all intact - airway, breathing, circulation - then a slower process of determining the problem can take place. The patient isn't in imminent danger. Aaron's hands, pulling out pieces and spraying gas and diagnosing the problem with his Honda, he knows where to look. Circulation is the problem here. Gas gets to the engine but the distributor cap is worn out, so electricity is not circulating and keeping the engine going.

Response to spiritual crises can follow this same top-down approach to what has been broken in the Christian's life. When you face a crisis, some of which can be weathered without any more help beyond yourself and God, check your ABC's. Have I even been trying to connect with God? Am I reading His word? Does what I read make an impact in my life that is visible?

There are times when all you have to do is pick up the Bible and read about your problem. Or read a Psalm and weep and heal. Think back to all the previous repairs God has done in your life. It is here, in the broken place, that you need to remember the monuments of faith in your past. Remember when money was so short you didn't know if you could make it to next payday, and an unexpected check came in the mail and you survived? Remember when your child was sick and you begged for healing, and healing came? Remember being on your knees on the hard hospital floor, praying that your mother might go to Jesus peacefully and without physical pain, and she did? Remember when you bought a house and could barely make the payments and then they increased your insurance, and somehow, you don't know how, logically, the payments could still be made?

There are also times to pick up the phone and call for help. Parents and pastors are usually my first stops. Sometimes help comes from a source you would never expect. Yesterday, at church, I needed a little more space so I moved to the coffee shop where the message is broadcast live on a large-screen TV. I set my purse and notes down on a couch, thinking that would give me more personal space, and stepped out for a breath of fresh air. When I came back to my couch, there was a dear friend sitting there, right next to my little pile.

Spiritual crisis CPR:
Airway: do I still have a connection and desire for God?
Breathing: am I reading His word?
Circulation: am I allowing His word to refresh and build me?

High up on a rock
Looking out at the horizon
Watching as the storm rolls in
Wondering if my heart will survive it
As the waves crash all around me
And can't remember what it feels like to be free

You say, I've got you my baby
I've got you
It's quite the mess you're in
But it's nothing Love can't fix

So sit here upon my shoulders
And watch as it all unwinds

You are making me a mountain
Making me a mountain
That cannot be shaken
I know You're making me a mountain
Making me a mountain
That cannot be moved
~Trust, Kristene Mueller~

Excerpted from my Gratitude Journal, 710-723:
#710: a cardinal who flies by every morning, reminding me of my grandpa
#712: free tow home for the Honda - thanks, Mom!
#713: People who love my kids take them so I  heal slow in those quiet golden hours
#715: Caleb wakes up HAPPY! (this is minor miracle)
#719: Lunch - finally! - with Sara B.
#721: My parents
#722: My baby brother (and family) move BACK!