Tag Archives: marriage

to be your girl

Dear my love,

It’s in my chest on all of the days, but I am so beautifully aware of it on this one. And on the days when it’s so close to the surface that it threatens to break my heart wide open, I realize that I don’t tell you enough. That in some inconceivable way, my heart knew yours from the beginning, knew that you were the one I wanted to belong to, that you were the person I would always want to follow anywhere.

I knew it small in the beginning, and today I know it in a way that has depth and breadth, but not as much depth and breadth as in another five years, and five after that.

I am so very proud to be your girl. And I am so very humbled to be your girl.

I spent the first twenty-three years of my life surrounded by an army of people praying that I would find a good man, a spiritual leader, a man who would lead me and our family toward God in all the seasons of life. And I thought for so many years that I had a solid grasp on what that would look like. It would look like initiating family devotions and holding my hand every night to pray together and making sure we were in church every Sunday. It would look like Christian music on road trips, like small group Bible studies in our home. It would look loud and public and like leadership.

And it’s not that. It’s not any of that.

But all those people who spent all that time praying? God knows they got far more than they bargained for.

Because you, my love, practice love in the most unexpected places.

You practice love that is quiet and genuine and selfless. You practice love in no particular spotlight. You practice love when it costs you your pride and all the things you’d silently hoped for. You practice love when it is beyond reason. You practice love when it is not in your best interest.

I can think of no better spiritual leadership than that of a man who quietly goes about the work of practicing love everywhere he goes.

I sit back and watch it every single day.

Watching you love recklessly and without regard to yourself–it opens up the wild place God put in my chest on purpose, the wild place from which I live fully alive. The wild place from which I love all the wrong people, or all the right people, depending on how you look at it. The wild place that feels the most like Jesus in me.

You give that wild place wings by being exactly who you are. You remind me who I am with your quiet ways of doing Love. You remind me of my Creator, my purpose, my place in the Kingdom-come-and-Kingdom-coming-ness of life.

It isn’t Chris Tomlin and Max Lucado, that’s for sure. Bless it. But I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it with the last breath in my lungs.

I can think of no better spiritual leadership than that of a man who quietly goes about the work of practicing love everywhere he goes.

Thank you, today and all of the days, for being the kind of man I would fearlessly follow anywhere.

Always, Audie

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on life reimagined, as not-a-mama

It’s funny to me how sometimes, your least proud moments become the moments you’d give anything to get back. To dive deep into them, soak up all the beauty you didn’t see at the time, breathe deep, taste long, savor.

I was wrapped in Italian sheets, four feet away from a window overlooking one of the most beautiful places I’d ever seen, lying in a hotel bed in Venice with a beautiful friend who is more sister than friend. As picturesque as that moment sounds in words and after the fact, the beauty was entirely lost on me.  I remember the feeling thinking my heart was going to explode. Counting down from three many, many times over in an attempt to get myself to say the words out loud.

I think I might be pregnant.

Finally, I spilled them, along more tears and shame than I could wrap fist or heart around. That moment held so much shame for me for so long, because it meant admitting that I’d gotten caught up in something pretty damn high on the heirarchal list of sins that I’d grown up on. I wasn’t married. I wasn’t even engaged. I was dating a man for whom I’d fallen hard and fast, all blue eyes and straight teeth and big thoughts and wild promises.

That man was everything. He still is, while we lie on our sides in bed at night, skin to skin and holding hands, wedding rings clinking against one another. He’s always been something magical, always had something magical that no one else had.

And so at 23, after years of being the girl who could shut down the progression of physical intimacy without batting an eye, I gave the first of everything I had to that beautiful man.

I have had the shame that comes so naturally to a people pleaser when she makes a questionable decision. For a long time, I had shame, but I have never had regrets. Not once.

And so there I was, shaking and afraid, telling my best girl that I thought I might be pregnant. And I hated that moment. I actively, truthfully hated that moment. 

And today, I feel no hesitation in telling you that I would give most anything to get that moment back.

Because in that moment, I believed it could be that simple. That we could have sex and I could simply get pregnant, stay pregnant, have a child, start a family. It didn’t look like hope at the time, but looking back on it, there was hope abundant in that statement–I think I might be pregnant–and I didn’t even know it. I never thought to look for the hope, because all I could see was the shame.

Today, I feel no hesitation in telling you that I would give most anything to have that gut feeling that I was going to give my forever love a child. Even if it would have been out of the prescribed order. Because it’s been three years tomorrow. Three years since we stopped trying not to have a kid. Two years since we started trying to have a kid. And somewhere along the way, I have stopped having that feeling, the one I had in Venice, like I might be a mama some quickly-approaching day. Like I might finally give birth to the possibilities I feared years ago, when I was young and short sighted.

I can’t tell you the last time I had that feeling, that combination of sheer terror and boundless potential. 

And I am caught in an impossible tension, because I am a lover of adventure. I am a lover of new dreams and life reimagined. But to reimagine this dream requires the grieving of another. Grieving that doesn’t stop. Grieving that is triggered every single month, like clock work. Grieving that doesn’t allow for days off of work. Grieving that doesn’t call for casseroles and flowers and drop-in visits from friends just to check in. Grief that feels almost inappropriate in its very existence, because no one really knows how to talk about it, including those of us grieving. 

But I know it’s a conversation that needs to be started, because Josh and I aren’t the only ones. We’re not the only ones vascillating between the hope that it might happen and the reality that the life we’ve dreamed about may not be ours. Between the thrill of the unknown and the fear of it.

Because we know. I know. I get that our life doesn’t begin and end with the existence of a child who is biologically ours, or the lack thereof. Sometimes it’s really hard to keep a grasp on that, particularly in a culture where it’s easy to feel like being part of a traditional family unit is a mandatory part of being a Christ follower. It is a hard and daily choice to lean into my identity, not as mother, not as wife, not as daughter, not as sister, not as friend, not as teacher, musican, writer…but as His.

And I guess that’s kind of where we all are, really. Regardless of what it looks like, we’re all just learning the same hard and lovely thing.

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ love and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.”

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