Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Exposure

When we learned that Tim was ill with a dissected carotid artery, I confess that panic surged in me. Fear found its way into my passenger seat as I drove home to meet Tim after a tearful phone call to me at work. Fear nestled in comfortably...this wasn't its first time serving as my copilot.

In the quiet night that came, I lay sleepless beside Tim, who amazingly slept better in the nights following his diagnosis than he had in months, and tried to pray. However, I found myself uttering no words and surrounded by the silence.

It was there that the words came back to me: "We don't work without you." I had uttered those words, lying on this same bed, only 24 hours earlier. Now, in the quiet, I realized that they exposed a deep fear and dangerous agreement I was living under.

The boys and I needed Tim to make our life work...to hold us steady...to sustain us, nurture us, and love us. Without him, we would fall apart. Without him, despair would overtake us.

And in the quiet, I heard the truth: That's a lie.

This wasn't the first time I'd wrestled with a similar agreement. Three years ago when I contemplated a trip to Haiti, I faced the belief that if something happened to me, Tim and the boys would be lost. The boys would have no chance to grow up knowing the deep love I hold for them, receiving the affirmation I offer, or experiencing the security that would come from my constant and dependable presence.

In that time God raised a question, "Don't you trust me?" And in my contemplation of that question, I was surprised to discover that no, I didn't believe that He was enough...or at least I wasn't living like it. I came to the realization that if something happened to me, yes, God would be enough for my boys. He offers a deeper love, truer affirmation, and eternal security that I can only hope to mirror to them. They would be more than okay. This discovery ushered in a deep peace I'd never known as a mother.

This memory came back to me in the quiet darkness of our bedroom as I listened to Tim's deep breathing. I love him deeply and yearn with my all for him to be well, to be here. But in that moment, I knew that my words the night before weren't true. We could work without him. And he would be the first to remind me that he is not our anchor.

When this lie was exposed, my companion of fear left the shadows of our bedroom and, more importantly, the shadows of my heart. I was free to walk through this journey holding, not gripping, Tim's hand, knowing that all will be well.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

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