She’s persuasive, pushy even. I keep thinking I can unfriend her, but she insists I keep her around. She speaks in ways that are familiar to me. I listen.
She says I’m a mediocre spouse, that the sum of my failures is a giant slap in the face of Christian marriage. This is a hole I’ve dug, and there is no new, higher ground.
He says, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert, and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19). He takes broken, hard things and makes them soft, even new.
She says if my kids or friends act out or lose control, I should back away, especially in public. She whispers that my good name is all I’ve got.
He says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). Love is messy, embarrassing and complicated. I am to dive in, head first, unashamed.
The swellings from four babies, the zippered abdomen riddled with scars covering what’s left of my angry intestines, the National Geographic breasts. She says I’m disfigured, grotesque even. I must hide myself.
He says, “They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor” (Isaiah 61:3). I am a beautifully scarred tree, still swaying for his glory.
She says to clamp down my mouth; to keep words of wisdom birthed from heartache and struggle concealed, because nobody really wants to hear them. My experiences yield little; my failures mar my credibility.
He says, “For is it God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13). Pearls of wisdom don’t come cheap, and when unveiled can be exquisite jewels of hope for others.
She is shame, and he … is not. May I have the courage to pry her out of my life and instead receive God’s voice, trusting that he makes beauty from ashes. I have a choice.
Karen Booker Schelhaas lives in Colorado with her husband and five children, ages 9-17. When she’s not substitute teaching, cooking, jogging, cleaning, gardening, entertaining, chauffeuring or volunteering as the PR assistant for her children’s school, she can be found at her kitchen table with espresso in her veins, slowly putting her friend Kacey’s story in to words. “Over My Shoulder” will chronicle Kacey’s remarkable life since being shot in the library at Columbine High School in 1999.