When You Can and When You Can’t

I think I would write more often if I were not afraid of writing.  I mean, I love to write but there is something about ink to paper or fingertips to keyboard which breeds transparency and vulnerability.  These things, I think, are what scares me.  The thought of being judged by another can be terrifying.  We, as the human race, share in this possibility.  “Am I pretty enough?  Do my clothes look okay?  Is my hair too weird?  Am I thin enough or thick enough?  Am I acceptable?  Will they see the real me and run or laugh or snarl?”  Not only are these possibilities, they are responsibilities.  How shall we handle them?

My husband has said many beautiful things to me over the 30 odd years we’ve been friends – “Would you like to sit next to me?  I like you.  Can I call you?  Will you go out with me?  I love you.  Will you marry me?  I do.  You’re pregnant?  Wow!”

Every single one of these words were more spectacular to me than a star-filled night in a mountainous desert range (I’ve seen pictures.)  Yet, in the last few months, my husband has managed to equal, if not surpass, all of these.  He called my name one night and I met him in the dark hallway as he held out his cellphone and pressed play on a video someone had shared.  I haven’t been able to find it again but what I saw on the hand-held screen made a huge impact on my heart because I understood then that my husband knew me and had known me for years.  The video was a person holding up cards that spoke words like “you’re not crazy” and “it’s okay”.  If I had never loved him before I was certainly his forever by this moment.

Just a few days ago my beloved said, “I envy you and I’m proud of you.  I’ve seen the days when you’re not okay.  I’ve seen what it takes for you to be who you are.  I’ve seen those days and they make me even more proud of you on those days when you can do and be who you are called to be.”

My husband absolutely melted my heart that day!  We’ve been married 25 years and there have been many, many days but that day I knew he truly saw me.  If I’d never loved him before, I was given over to him right then.

I had always thought I was one of the most needy people on the face of the earth, that I would ultimately suck every person dry who ever dared to come close to me.  I thought I was destined to be barely friend-able, like-able, or love-able.  I figured even my husband was doing me a huge, huge favor by just barely managing to stay with me somehow.

Once upon a time I was told if I married him I would not amount to much, that I was destined to be poor and destitute all the days of my life.  Sometime later I heard, “She’s yours now, you can’t return her.”  Still later, “One of the mistakes you made was marrying her.”  But by the grace of God alone, my husband and I have seen 25 years of marriage.  We are more settled now and we are more grace filled toward one another than even five years ago.  I consider this a God-thing, considering we were originally given 5 years or so before one or the other of us wised up and realized we could do or be better.

And if it were not for Father God, where on this earth would I be?  Where would my husband be?  Or my son?  I cannot look to any outside force, for man has proven to be fallible, even myself!  Only God has been truly trustworthy and He has shown me all things pertaining to myself and my little family and He has shown me my husband and my son as He has seen them and … Wow!

I didn’t plan on this post going in this direction.  But I did say I was going to try and be completely honest here, right?

My heart, my writing, my love, my personality, my motherhood, my faith, my life … I can’t separate any of them.  They are all who I am; all these things make up me.  Who among us is any different?  Can any of us separate ourselves from ourselves?  If we were not afraid, who could we be, what could we do?  Wouldn’t it be magnificent?

If I could encourage someone, what could I possibly say?  Be who you are.  Live as you are made to live.  Be silly.  Be outrageous.  Laugh uncontrollably.  Cry a lot.  Stare at the clouds.  Look out your windows and doors.  When you can go out, be amazing.  When you can talk, be delightful and ingenious.  When you can people, wow them.  And when you can’t – It’s ok.  You’re not incredibly and uncontrollably weird.  You’re not lazy.  You’re not a bad mother, son, father, daughter, friend.  You are who you are and you will be who are made to be.

Whether you believe in creation or evolution, you will ultimately agree that Life finds a way.  Whether you believe in Jesus or a higher power, or the universe, you know that you are somebody and you have some purpose and you are the delight of somebody.  Being who I am, believing and following Who I do, I know the somebody is ultimately Jesus, Who loves you more than His own life.

No more than I can separate my life, my love, my personality, or my faith, can Jesus separate His Life, His Love, His personality, or His faith.  And He has faith in you.

All the incredible words my husband has said to me have never equaled the Love which Jesus has but whispered.  He never doubted me and our destiny to be together.  He never regretted choosing me and He never had second thoughts about us.

Might I posit a thought for you?  Jesus has never doubted you or your destiny.  He has never regretted choosing you.  He has never had second thoughts about you.  He hasn’t had cold feet nor has He questioned His sanity.  Love believes.  Love trusts.  Love says, “You’re not crazy.  It’s okay.  I saw you on those hard days and I’m so amazed at you on those days when you can be you.”

Jeannie B. Wilbourn

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