When I decided to include a few guest posts in this devotional series, I knew I wanted to hear from Bethany Beattie. A new mom, and wife to a seminary student a Gordon Conwell, I was sure she would provide a unique and beautiful voice to The Thin Places. In today's post Bethany shares the spiritual stretch marks, the thin places, of being a first-time mom. I hope you find peace and acceptance in her words this morning, knowing that we aren't required to justify ourselves before others. We've been justified and freed.
Yesterday, while on a walk with my precious daughter cooing in her stroller, I verbally launched into my latest mental torrent. Words spilling out before I could edit them. Almost mid sentence, my husband stopped me, grabbed my hand, and said, "Honey, you don't have to go through a detailed list of what you ate yesterday to make me understand that you're eating healthy for our baby. I believe it. I know you are."
Like a balloon wearily deflating after it has been stretched too large, my mouth and my heart could settle into silence.
In that moment, I felt such relief.
I've found these days, whether out loud or in my heart, I jump to rationalize and defend my actions or in-action. A constant racket clamors in my brain, the thoughts tumbling over each other with no reprieve.
"It's okay that I'm not going to that birthday party. I have work that day. They have to understand that!"
"It's fine that I didn't have time to shower today, and if anyone judges me, I don't want them as my friend anyway."
"I stand by my decision to not say hi to those people. I was in a rush and I don't really like them anyway."
As I type them out, they seem silly and insecure. Harsh and noisy. Things I don't want to be. Yet these are the types of thoughts that flow through my head on a daily basis, multiple times a day, interrupting thoughts the barge in unwanted, like a swollen river overflowing its banks.
But my soul longs for acceptance.
Yearns for it.
But as my husband calmed me I realized something:
I don't have to justify myself.
I don't have to explain myself.
I don't have to prove myself.
I am accepted.
I am loved.
My soul longs for acceptance.
Instead of trying harder, my resolve is to try less.
But even when it is offered, I push away the thing I want the most. It seems too good to be true, and besides, even if that one part of me is accepted, there are a billion others, crowded and ready to take its place. What about those? Where do I stand when they are weighed in the balance? Am I found lacking?
More than any other question, the deepest one lingers, quiet in the background:
Am I brave enough to accept this acceptance?
Quiet love is awaiting my response. Ready to flow gently, seeping into all the cracks within me, making me whole.
Instead of trying harder, my resolve is to try less. To melt into the love and unconditional acceptance that is so graciously offered to me by my dear friends and family on this earth. To bask in the love and unconditional acceptance of a Savior who treasures me even in my futile striving and struggling.
What a sigh of relief for this weary soul!