H bends over in the parking lot as we leave Dillard’s and picks up the brand new dollar bill lying on the pavement. We’re the only people standing there, so we keep it, even though it feels awkward. And right when he holds it up between his thumb and index finger, I remember the dream I had the night before. I collect money laying around in a crowded room full of people who never saw it for themselves.
It’s one of several dreams I’ve had this week. Each dream is the preface for a story that unfolds later in the day or week. I notice it because I took some intentional time to be quiet and listen, journaling what He whispers in the stillness. My notes become a sacred echo that prayer isn’t a one-sided conversation.
I’m desperate to hear Him because the room in my head, it’s over-crowded with thoughts vociferous with guilt that sound like, “you aren’t measuring up.” A sign that in listening to the voices of others, I’ve become deaf to His.
I wear guilt like pulling a tired coat from a tall armoire, the family name engraved in the wood above the mirror. A nice tweed for guilt about parenting; not doing enough, engaging enough, disciplining enough, or being fun enough. A hounds tooth fitted for marriage guilt accusing me of not being sexy enough, thoughtful enough, or supportive enough.
And there is the all-weather trench for not serving my community enough, volunteering at church and school enough, cultivating friendships enough, and keeping things tidy enough. I have one of those in every color. I can’t fit another hanger on the rod it’s so crowded.
Wearing a coat in the scorching heat of a July sun becomes a heavy nuisance. So hot, I can’t wait to shed it, even if it means being exposed.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
That moment of freedom from the voices that hold me captive, sweating inside that coat with GUILT sewn into the collar, is better than a thousand moments elsewhere.
I’ve stood in the center of the merry-go-round wearing the salmon trench with the big buttons while guilt pushed me around so fast I couldn’t hear the truth anymore.
Have you taken a ride on this merry-go-round too? When the truth is a faint whisper, barely audible amidst accusing voices. It’s time to step off and sit in silence free from guilt’s dizzying trance.
H pulls the dollar bill out of his pocket to buy me a bottle of water. I’m feeling dehydrated in Costco. He says, “You know this water is a gift, we’re not paying for it.” I smile in the remembrance of freedom that comes in hearing Him. And I can almost see Jesus smiling back at me. He’s holding my coat. He’ll hold yours too.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17
Shelly has two teens, a pastor husband, a trusty camera, and writing life on an island. You can read more about her stories of redemption at http://www.redemptionsbeauty.com.