February 3, 2012

My Year of Jubilee

When I stumbled over words and explanations in my kitchen, she stopped me. She set down her tea and looked me square on. Somehow she worked right through my circuitous speech and awkward fidgeting ... hit the target dead center. She asked gentle:

Why do you feel the need to explain yourself so much?

It was a fair question, really. There I was, explaining myself away the way I tend to do. I told her I felt frivolous and aloof for having big desires, big hopes. I told her how the old tapes play loud some days,  confirming in my ear the dressed-up lies of old. You are flaky. You are a mess. You are not capable. I told her I that I need to hear assurance that my ideas are not crazy, that I am not crazy. I told her I feel uneasy sometimes, 

on the verge of crashing and burning, always one poor decision away from re-entering the land of the lost.

And when you've been lost before, you can be found and still live afraid.

Afraid of the falling. 

This life is full and difficult and tiring. Beautiful and ugly and taxing. I suppose I would just like a guarantee that I won't crash hard, won't end up in regret. Regret and lost time can team up and cackle at me from the corner; tell me I am only good at wasting time, building up storehouses of regret.

I wear the burden to make up for what I can't get back. I am capable of living in gratitude for what is and in fear of what might not be and I know this isn't right. I know it.
But I have looked wasted time, ugly sin-self in the eye. I've looked square into her soul.

Across my table, this wise woman speaks truth and love and she tells me what I know but don't always live. 

You are not that girl anymore.

No, but she just rears her ugly head now and then ... taunts me like a shadow.

And while she's not the real thing, I quickly forget that I've been facing the Light for quite some time.

Shadows are only remarkable when the back is to the sun. Face the light and, well, that shadowy-girl may as well be invisible.

I don't tell her there in my kitchen because I haven't quite figured it out. But the truth is this:
I don't think I trust who I've become.

And rightly so. Without the One who cradles the fall, sets me upright, I'm just a wispy kid on a high wire; the crashing and the fracturing are inevitable.

This new gal who lives in my skin and speaks free and dances unafraid at weddings and eats a 6-inch sub in four minutes flat-- she was saved by One who likes to cradle the falling. And she shocks me on occasion and it's only when I start thinking I had something to do with the catching that I get all nervous.

I start thinking this whole show depends on my balancing act and perfect execution.
And sometimes the veil between standing firm and crashing hard is so thin that I quake.

I feel the need to check in, pine a little for some assurance. Wait for others to be my mirror. I tell my friend how I can affirm freedom in women, speak truth that builds up, but how I still hold the past over my own head. When it starts to look too good,

I get busy heaping on the coals.


This is slavery at its very best, I know. I know.

I can live out some terrible theology. Twisted pride: thinking so highly of myself, thinking my story is bigger than His. I can talk about freedom while I live indebted and whisper up a worn out prayer:

Lord, make up for the time I squandered. Make good on what I messed up.

Sometimes I can hear Him responding with loving exasperation, I am, child, and I already did.

I read in James about the person who asks and then doubts, how they are like a wave in the sea. Tossed about. Unstable. I can identify. But this woman I've come to love relaxes at my table and says it in passing as if I know what she means.

Ab, I think this may be your year of Jubilee.


  1. You sing my soul sister...

  2. What a beautifully crafted post, and unbelievably necessary for me today. I've read it three times already! Thank you Abby.