There were many times during my theater days I found myself on stage with Marie – a beautifully talented story teller (who can pull off an incredible Scottish accent). We’ve since graduated from college, got married (to boys who were also on stage with us), and now tell stories with words instead of acting them out. She is no-less delightful on the page than she is as a singing musical star, and I can guarantee every sentence Marie Chavez writes will be like water to your parched soul.
For Memorial Day weekend I bump along a dirt road to my parents’ mountain home where my mom and I sort bookshelves, stacking piles for me to take home. Among them we discover journals stretching back to my seven-year-old self. Much to my embarrassment, my mother begins to read passages aloud — but before long we’re both laughing in delight at the memories. We even call my aunt on the phone to relay our favorite segments from our trip to Scotland, funny encounters with natives I had forgotten. To think I nearly told my mother to throw these books away!
It’s a steady, secure feeling, being known. Almost every time my mother and I survey the past together, whether through photo albums or scrawled notes from my younger years, I reconnect with this person named Marie — the girl captured in ink and graphite — and remember that she is someone worth being. Breathing the air of today, riding the current of daily events, trapped in the thoughts of the moment, I tend to forget.
I’m sitting in an empty hallway my Sophomore year of college, touching rough carpet, dressed in a costume because I’ve just left the stage. In the scene I performed a few minutes ago, my character met God face to face, and I’m still shaken by the weight of it. I whisper something in the silence, speaking to the Spirit I’ve heard so much about lately. And then, out of nowhere, I get a response — not an audible voice, but a undeniable sense that someone sees me. It’s a huge feeling, like I’m completely transparent because this Person knows everything about me, not just the outward stuff that other people notice but the hopes, the worries, and that inner lump of something I can’t define that makes me who I am.
It’s literally impossible to harbor insecurity when someone sees your naked soul. There’s no hiding, no explaining, no apologizing. There’s only you. And when it happens to be God who turns his gaze toward you, something even sweeter happens.
At the same instant I become aware of the blazing eye of God, I wonder what He thinks about the small person sitting before Him — how He feels about the bare heart of His creation — and before the question is fully formed, I know the answer: He approves.
Just like that, this person with her own history, her own uncertain ways, is wholly acceptable to Him: a great affection, I call it later when I record the experience in my journal, and it changes me, the knowledge that I’m completely accepted. It’s free, astonishing, and in the empty hallway of a church in St. Paul, Minnesota I start to laugh and cry at the same time.
When my mother first begins to read aloud the unfiltered commentary of my childhood, I could choose to snatch the book from her hands. Instead I allow myself to embrace the initial awkwardness because there’s something healthy about showing the real thing to someone who loves me. Otherwise I start to forget what I look like, retreating behind a more polished exterior for fear of exposure. Meanwhile, my beating heart withers.
Let us reconnect with the past so that we may live freely in the present. Let us give up insecurity in favor of honesty. Best of all, let us open our palms to the ceiling and whisper to the Spirit who sees us, “What do you think of me?” because He answers.
Marie Chavez, a.k.a. The Reluctant Bride, writes and produces full-time for a radio station in Aurora, Colorado. Blogging allows Marie to work through her horror of transitions while celebrating the free, fearless love of Jesus. Join her over at her blog, thereluctantbridesite.wordpress.com – I’m sure her writing will add a much welcomed richness to your life as it has mine.