I never fully comprehended the statement, “I’ve got your back” until I married H. Before I met him, I carried the weight of the world on my shoulders, well, in my lower back to be more specific.

At sixteen, I boarded a Greyhound bus holding a giant teddy bear and my suitcase to sit among strangers through several states. With hands trembling, I looked out the smudged window and memorized the landscape like the still frame of a favorite movie I didn’t want to forget. I would never return to the place where I learned to make my own decisions when my parents were emotionally absent.

The contents of my Charlie Brown lunch box, filling in the blank lines of college applications, the moment I said yes to Jesus, signing my name on a car title, my wedding dress – they were all my own decisions even when I didn’t fully trust myself. Or were they?

It’ll all work out. It’s the response I’ve received since childhood from my father when communicating my neediness. It reinforces the weight I am to carry by myself. Or does it?

Today, when something new presents itself requiring me to ramp up my ability and decisiveness, I hold all the fear of uncertainty as if the whole world is dependent upon my reaction. Like that teenage girl on a bus headed to a new place full of chance, I carry the fear of the unknown in my back until the heaviness breaks me.

And the outcome is a gift.

Yes, lying on ice packs at Christmas is a gift.

In the past, whenever this happened I wanted to cuss and throw a fit. How dare you interrupt my life like this, I have things to do, I would chant.

Now when my back {occasionally} goes out and H helps lift me from the couch and toilet, I thank God for it. I know that sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

That broken place I return to is a beacon for the stormy black seas of my inner dialogue that crucify Jesus. It’s a reminder that I have trusted in my image of God instead of the Truth.

His shed blood is enough for every circumstance.

Incapacitated, the mysterious fog between my expectations and reality seem to vanish in an instant. As shoulders slump in surrender, the entire burden I assumed was mine to balance, falls into a meaningless heap. And the countenance of what is seated around me becomes clearer.

It’s imperative, this awakening to the reduction of Jesus into our image instead of the God who speaks from a burning bush. A relationship isn’t possible with an image, and Jesus is personal. A person who is jealous for your attention and always has your back.

You are never alone in your decisions, your experiences, your fears, failures, and successes. That’s why we can say, Merry Christmas and mean it. Even while memorizing the ceiling instead of wrapping presents.

Let go of the dark, which you wrap yourself in like a straitjacket, and let in the light. Stop trying to protect, to rescue, to judge, to manage the lives around you–our children’s lives, the lives of your husband, your wife, your friends–because that is just what you are powerless to do. Remember that the lives of other people are not  your business. They are their business. They are God’s business because they all have God whether they use the word God or not. Even your own life is not your your business. It also is God’s business. Leave it to God. It is an astonishing thought. It can become a life-transforming thought. ~Frederick Buechner, Listening to Your Life

Linking with Laura, Michelle, Jennifer, Emily and Lyli.