I fancy that every soul of us could write a book which the world would read, if only we dared to tell the exact truth about ourselves and our happenings, and so give a perfect reflection of one human life. But who of us dares to do that? (Candace, Thereber Wheeler, 1918)
There we were in the pastor’s office, young, naïve, and love struck; counseling our way through our engagement as we planned the wedding. Thankfully, the pastor didn’t just want a well-planned party, he saw ahead into our marriage and knew we needed more than youthful love to carry us through. So he turned to me and asked, “What are you most afraid of?” I sputtered, stuttered, and stopped.
He let me think in the awkward quiet, and it grew hot as my future husband waited for an answer. Finally I said, “I’m afraid of losing myself.” It came from somewhere deeper than my conscious mind. Like prophetic deep. And our counselor nodded and smiled, then waited for me to continue. “Not right away, maybe, but over the years. Because I love this man, and want to pour myself out for him and into him; and one day I want to stay at home with our children, and pour myself out for them… and what if I get all poured out and lose the stuff that makes me special? I don’t even know what it might look like. But what if I do?”
He nodded again then shifted his gaze to my beloved, my fiancé, to the one who had not yet done wrong in my eyes. The older then said to the younger, “Do you hear this? She’s gong to lay her life down to lift yours up. But this is only going to work if you do the same for her.” It was intense, with my man nodding emphatically like he understood, but neither of us really did. Cause we hadn’t lived it yet.
Now here we are 13 years in. And while he’s tried to lift me up and serve me back, it’s not a simple equation where y = x, because his y chromosome doesn’t always equal my x. And so much of our pouring out and laying it all down at home is what women do, in most traditional households. So here I am, giving me away for all these people, and he’s off working, laying his life down for us in a whole other sense. And all that good counseling has to find it way to application. So we try to figure it out late at night, once the children are in bed, and we meet up together in the dark.
But when he falls asleep, I'm still awake. And I see that my pre-married fears were rooted in something real and common amongst wives and mothers. Which may be why you see yourself here. Having known the dark ages where passion for life, ministry, and art are lost for a time, as we lay it all down to lift up the little lives entrusted to our care.
So let's mourn together for just a moment; just long enough to inhale and exhale. Allowing our collective hearts to acknowledge these feelings of loss at present. Breathing in we remember the verse that’s like an anthem song, reminding us that there are seasons for everything. Seasons for war and for peace, seasons to plant and to reap, to rend and to mend, to know death, but also to know resurrected life this side of glory. Because our counselor, though well intended, didn’t get it right after all. The only One who can lift me up... is Jesus. His Spirit and His life and His power each day. His mercies every morning. His power perfected in weakness. As I pour out, He pours in. As I lay down, He lifts me up. As I give all, so much like Him.
So much like Him.
But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering
upon the sacrifice and service of your faith,
I rejoice and share my joy with you all.
Dear mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, friends... I'm praying for you today. For the story you are so honestly and generously living. Pouring out at home. To him. To them.
"Every soul could write a book..."