“At first, I thought you were kind of a snob.” These words were directed at me. Me. And everything inside me said, That’s absurd. I’m no snob, I’m just quiet. And defensiveness kicked into full gear. Others in the group quickly came to my rescue. “Jeff, you don’t say that to someone! Come on, we’re supposed to be encouraging each other!” So Jeff quickly apologized to me, more than once, and our team meeting moved on.
It was one of those days. The kind that weighs you down and makes everything feel hard. So I took our boys on an outdoor adventure—for sanity’s sake. We needed a break from the house, from structure, from each other. I decided to find a new nature preserve for a hike. Once there, we opened the van doors and immediately smelled the strong scent of pine.
I suppose we often remember “firsts” in our lives because they take us to unexplored territory. The first day of school. A first crush. Our first time moving away from home. I remember another first: the first time I heard someone say to me, “I love you.” Grandma Marie had swept me into a snug embrace and whispered those happy words in my ear.
I was sitting with my friend, trying to pray. She and I were volleying back and forth in our conversation with God. All at once, she began to plead with God from a place of pain. I could feel her desire and deep need for comfort. As she struggled, I thought of Jesus, sitting on His throne of mercy, listening, taking it all in.
Nobody else gets to be me. No one else will be me if I’m not.” These ideas get me out of bed in the morning. They pull me to participate in life, not just look on. For some people, they may seem weakly obvious. But they remind me of the epiphany that I am irreplaceable.
I was struggling with an upcoming life change. My husband was considering a new ministry opportunity far from anyone or anything I knew. My heart swung on a pendulum from anxiety to anticipation. As I looked for solid ground, I had an inner conversation with Jesus.