Holding My Breath


My People

I Have Been Holding My Breath.

I Have Been Holding My Breath for a Week and a Day.

Holding It All In.

Holding It.

Just the other week. Just the other week. Y’all, just the other week we were pregnant. We were going to have our fifth kiddo. We were wrestling that out. We were standing in numbers of bedrooms. We were knowing we had waited longer than we ever had before to tell people. We were trying to do it better this time and do it right and wait and be patient, but we KNEW. And we sat in the doctor’s office hopeful and ready to embrace this road. And surely. Surely. God wouldn’t take this away. God wouldn’t make me walk the same road. And there was certainty that was so uncertain but this hope that felt almost helpless and there was no heartbeat and we stared at a screen and listened to words from a man we had just met about life and loss and how it wasn’t my fault.

And I was Holding My Breath.

Not Crying.

Immediately Thinking on Hospital Bills.

Juggling Kids.

Holding My Husband’s Hand.

Holding It All In.

And I laid in the recovery bed after surgery while a recovery nurse planned a vacation on her cell phone. And I wanted to scream at her that she was breaking the rules. And she was supposed to take care of ME. And I was right here. Holding my breath. Dying inside. And I really didn’t care to know whether or not she was going to fly out of Houston or Dallas. Instead I smiled. Asked her if she was ok because she looked sad. And listened while I held my breath and smiled…pushing the part of me way down that wanted to tell her that her job was to ask me about ME.

And We Drove Home.

And the Battery on the Car Had Died that Morning.

And I Held My Breath.

Taking Care of A Million Details.

It is Just What You Do.

Fragile Faith

My parents left the next day. And I forced myself (as best I could) to stay in bed. To let the kids just stare at electronic screens and TVs all day. And take care of me. Right? But the text shocked me. “Call me now.” And I was calling. And he was laid off. And he was driving home. And he was making phone calls. And I held my breath as I thought about our kids. Our finances. All the people headed to my house that evening to hear the Jesus Story of an ordinary girl. The music. The food. The coffee. The smiles. The standing in the doorway greeting people. And could I find Him? Could I find Jesus? Could there be joy? Could the words I had spoken to all the other people apply to this moment? And I am the person…the mommy… who keeps things going. And I showered. And I put on cute clothes. And I lit a candle in the kitchen that smelled like summer.

And They All Showed Up.

And We Heard About Jesus.

And I Held My Breath.

And Smiled Big Smiles.

And Cried Big Tears.

Too Big to Explain.

My friend texted me and asked me how I was doing. I’m good. But how do you REALLY feel? And I texted her how angry I was and how upset I was and how scared I am and how tired and how overwhelmed. And it was the longest text ever. And I hit send before I could edit it and make it sound less like I might fall apart. And she said I sounded like a Judy Blume book. And I said I sounded like a Lifetime Movie or a bad country song. And with that text I laughed. A real laugh. And breathed in and out for just a few moments. And let some tears fall in my bathroom as I hurried to get myself ready and four kiddos ready for church.

Jesus is Big Y'all Canvas

We Prayed Together at the Prayer Alter.

My Husband Prayed Through Tears.

He Held My Hand.

I Held My Breath.

And this is where I am today. Heartbroken. Heart aching. A mom of four married to a wonderful provider who was laid off the day after his wife…ME…had surgery to remove the baby…the baby…that didn’t make it…one year after doing that very same thing. I am floored. I am tired. Knees aching with prayers. Too many prayers. Asking why and how and what’s next and when will we know and how could You let all this happen and what did I do and what about me and don’t I deserve a break or at least a million dollars and can my Jesus Story always be the one filled with laughter through tears???? Dear Lord. A week and a day. And I am done.

Sleepy Joshy

The 2 /12 year old is running down the hallway in only a diaper smiling…that smile…saying, “I want to hold you!” And he is in my arms. My oldest is earning money this summer by doing odd jobs so he can save for some electronic thing he wants. And I am proud of him. Who he is becoming. I am listening to my whole family eat lunch…leftover lunch…provided by my Jesus through the hands of friends who stopped by, dropped by, sent meals all the way from Florida y’all…and we are still eating and haven’t grocery shopped yet. And I am breathing y’all. In and out. One foot in front of the other. One day at a time. One mountain at a time…to climb…to move…to pray my way through…And this is life y’all. And it is good. And it is hard. And it is sad. And it is filled with joy. All at the very same time.

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

Hebrews 6:19

I am HOPE filled Y’all.

Because I KNOW…I KNOW…

In the sad, in the happy, in the hurt, in the heartache, in the easy and in the really hard…

Jesus is Just Plain Big Y’all.

She Smiles

22 thoughts on “Holding My Breath”

  1. Peggy Martin says:

    This is beautiful…..so full of life and it’s good, sad and happy. Of love, friendship and family. Love you, Jackie. Mama

    1. jackiehooks says:

      Thank you. Thank you for seeing the beauty in the good and the bad and the sad and the happy…Love you more.

  2. Kirsten Oliphant says:

    I got only part of this story. And I feel all the things and am glad that we can send inappropriately funny texts sometimes, even if I missed doing that this week for you. I love you and will love to hear one day maybe not too long off how Jesus used this – even THIS- as a big part of your Jesus story. The one he is still writing at this very moment. Well. Writing, but it has already been written. I know he wins in the end, but I don’t know all the details. But he knows. And even knowing the end, he cares about our in the middle. Love you!!

    1. jackiehooks says:

      Yes…He totally does care about us right in the middle of all of our mess and you are soooo right…He totally already wrote the ending. Love this.

  3. Carolyn Easley says:

    ii do not know you very well but your testimony, your life and your faith is such an inspiration to everyone.
    I have been praying for you and your sweet family for days as you have been enduring all that has been put on you!
    You are human, you are strong. Continue to lean on our Father in Heaven.
    I love you and who you are.

    1. jackiehooks says:

      Thank you for every single prayer. Thank you for loving me and encouraging me…

  4. Anita Ojeda says:

    Oh, my friend, I’m holding you up in prayer this very minute. May the Holy Spirit bring you comfort and peace and may you and your husband feel God’s arms wrapped around your family holding you close and showing you the way.

    1. jackiehooks says:

      Thank you…thank you for the prayers and all of your beautiful words.

  5. Teresa says:

    So very sorry, Jackie. Love you & are praying for you. And shedding a few tears for you & your baby….. I’m so sorry for how much you hurt.

    1. jackiehooks says:

      Thank you for crying with me…it’s been a long month. But it is so good to know we still walk shoulder to shoulder with our Jesus Friends.

  6. Bev Crawford says:

    Dear sweet Jackie! I sit here trying to come up with words to help you, to make you feel better, but I don’t find any other than the word, Jesus. That name says it all. I know that you know that. But in the midst of pain, sorrow, uncertainty, we, or at least I, sometimes think we need a bunch of words. Then I realize that one name is every comforting word rolled into one. The past few months as my hubby has faced first the diagnosis of cancer followed by 7 wks of treatment and now the lull between treatment and PET scan to see if all is clear, I have whispered, said, cried and yelled that one word a million times. And that name has and always will be big enough to handle all of everything. I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t know and I certainly am not trying to compare my events with your sorrow. I just want to reaffirm what you so wonderfully convey to so many every day in your life and ministry; that God is Big Enough. So please know that I will be calling on that one word, that one name to shower you with comfort, peace, hope, strength and love. Bless you my friend!

    1. jackiehooks says:

      Oh my gosh I love you!!! Thank you!!! Yes!!! Jesus is just so dang BIG…and He is BIG enough to walk with both of us as we try to put one foot in front of the other…God bless you big, Bev.

  7. Tabitha Turnbull says:

    Thank you for being real and you inspire me:) praying

    1. jackiehooks says:

      Thank you for praying my friend…and all the encouragement.

  8. MIsty says:

    Love and prayers, friend.

  9. Chrisann says:

    Oh sweet friend! Holding you close. Knowing that moving forward in grief is possible and how beautifully you show that. Praying for healing and hope – for peace and deep abiding joy. I love you!

    1. jackiehooks says:

      I love you too. I love that I know your prayers are powerful.

  10. Liz Rice says:

    i am sorry. I have been in that hospital bed holding it all in because who else is gonna do it? There’s no time to grieve. Get over it and move on. That’s the lie I told myself. Several times I told myself that lie. I gave up, I did. I had a husband and a kid and I threw in the towel. But all along He was waiting for me! I remember hearing the song from Mercy Me
    Who am I that the Lord of all the earth would care to know my name, would care to feel my hurt?
    That was it! Of course! I had missed it, again!
    Praying for you!
    Praying for your family, that the perfect job would present itself!

    1. jackiehooks says:

      Thank you for the encouragement…and that song…so perfect…

  11. Kathy Penney says:

    I am so very sorry for the loss of your sweet babe and for the additional rocking of the foundation of your husband being laid off. You are such a beautiful testimony of faith when life is hard. Saying a prayer for your whole family and for comfort for your mother’s heart. Jesus is definitely big and I pray He sends you some happy news soon.

  12. Lindsey says:

    so much love to you right now friend and prayers covered over you and your family. Peace wrapped around you and joy to fill you in the midst of the struggle.

    you inspire so many women. thank you for being real and vulnerable. you are doing mighty things. We love you. Jesus loves you. He still is holding on to you. Rest in Him.

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