Why Worry?

Person Holding Red Box

“Because there is so much to worry about,” I responded to myself after I typed the above title. I have a trial coming up soon that requires a lot of work on top of my daily work tasks that need to get done. I’m trying to stay one step ahead of my children’s ever-grumbling stomachs and trying to keep the fridge stocked while making sure they’re eating half-decent, healthful food. Oh, and there’s an awards ceremony this week that I somehow left off of my calendar when I was planning for the month–because I was trying to be so careful at planning out my month, you see. Also, my house de-cluttering project that I resolved to actually finish in 2019 is already starting to sputter to a slow stall, because of all these other things, naturally.

You get the point. There is so much to worry about. And yet, Jesus gives us a direct invitation to worry- free living. In Matthew 6:25-27, Jesus tells the listeners and on-lookers:

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life–whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”

And that last verse is where Jesus snatches my attention. It’s 2019, I live in metro Atlanta, and I have a husband and two kids. I couldn’t tell you the last time I actually stopped to look ponderously at a bird. I don’t connect with the bird analogy too well. But can I add more time to my day by worrying? I can’t. And neither can you. I mean, Jesus does have a point there. And so if we can’t add any benefit to our lives by worrying, why do we do it?

We worry for all sorts of reasons, sure. I think we worry, in part, because in worrying, we feel like we’re at least putting some type of emotional energy toward a problem or issue and if we’re doing that, then we’re tending to the problem, in a way. It seems right on a very basic level, but who are we kidding, really? Worrying isn’t really productive, but the problem is that not worrying seems crazy hard to do.

When it comes down to it, choosing not to worry is really a matter of trust. If we really trust God and believe that He wants the best for our lives and that He loves us and cares about the things that concern us (which He clearly tells us He does in 1 Peter 5:7), then we can relax, or at least not be so anxious.

Generally speaking, when we take a flight, get in an Uber, ride public transportation, or even just ride as a passenger in a car, we don’t worry about getting to the destination. There are some exceptions to this, of course, but you know what I mean. We do these things repeatedly because we have a fundamental trust that the pilot, operator or driver knows what he or she is doing and will get us to our destination safely. So you see, we can do it, it just takes a little practice and a whole lot of prayer.

We have to trust that God will get us to where He wants us to go. And it’s a daily trust, a daily surrender of our anxious thoughts and feelings to the one who created our brains that think those anxious thoughts! Before we start our days, we should take a moment to acknowledge the Lord, tell Him about our stresses and worries and then remind ourselves that He’s in control and that we trust Him with our lives because He’s our Father who loves us. Why worry? Because when you give it to God, you don’t have to.

A Little Help with Self-Discipline


Red and White Alarm Clock Displaying 9:11

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

~Philippians 2:13  (New Living Translation)

If the above is true, why, then, do I race out of the front door every morning, my little Prius roaring down the street, just barely getting my kids to school and my own tail to work on time?! If it were just an occasional tardiness then, that would be one thing, but every morning? Really, Whitney?

The alarm goes off. I hit snooze repeatedly until it’s too late. I may or may not curse as I finally tear off the covers realizing the time and that (surprise!) I’m behind schedule. I grab hangers from the closet, throwing clothes on the bed, hurriedly trying to find something to wear. All the while, I’m cursing myself for not picking picking out my clothes the night before.

I’m barking orders at the kids, simultaneously snipping at their heels and sending them to time out because they’re distracting each other from getting dressed and just not moving fast enough.

I finally make it to the kitchen where I quickly abandon any hope I had of packing my lunch, again annoyed at myself for spending money on lunch that I could have saved had I taken the time to pack my lunch the night before. I ultimately end up shoving a bag of apple slices in my kids’ hands as we tumble out the door on the way to school and work.

Surely, God in his omnipotence can help me change this all-too-common scene at my house. And I know I can’t be the only one, right? Don’t you have the one thing, or maybe multiple things, that you do over and over that you don’t want to? You tell yourself that this time you’re absolutely NOT going to do that thing and then BAM!, you do the thing.

I am comforted by the fact that this doesn’t just seem to be a me problem because even Paul, the great apostle, wrote “For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate, I do.” (Romans 7:14). So what do we do with us? How do we change our behavior? What do we do with our great propensity to be, well, human? Paul says God is the answer. God gives us both the desire AND the power to do God-pleasing things–like be on time.

Like pretty much everything else in my life, I find that I can’t quite get it right without Jesus. I find that when I focus my prayers and specifically ask for power in an area like this, the Lord sends help–and in different ways too. Shortly after I started praying about this issue, I noticed I would often start waking up a little before my alarm went off. And because of my work commute, my husband and I now take a kid a piece in the morning, so I only have one school drop off in the morning instead of two.

Of course, it’s still up to me to get moving in the mornings. As with any change that we want to make in our lives, we are ultimately responsible for taking action. But I’m glad that God can add his super to my natural and both strengthen my desire and ability to finally get it right. He gives us both the desire AND the power to do what pleases him. I’m so glad.

The Fruit of the Spirit: Because Who Doesn’t Like Oranges?

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

~Galatians 5:22 -23

“Ms. Gibbs, you’re not really trying to help me. You keep saying the same thing over and over. You don’t hear me. You’re not really for me; you’re not trying to help me at all.”

I took a deep breath, and admittedly, and equally deep eye roll as I sat in my office, looking despondently at the phone, trying to figure out how to respond to my client’s comments coming through my speaker phone.

It’s not that I haven’t heard these comments before. These types of comments are, unfortunately, everyday speak in the world of the public defender.  Often, clients think that because we don’t require client payment for our services, public defenders just collect a check and don’t do any work. Which, let me tell you, is just not the case.

After a comment like this from a client, I usually stop to break it all down. I may explain that yes, I am a real lawyer, and no, I’m not in cahoots with the prosecutor, and that if my only aim was to screw up my client’s life, I wouldn’t be taking the time to talk at length with him or her about the case. There would be more to that conversation, but I’ll spare you the often frustrating and highly repetitive nature of these types of talks. You’re welcome.

I’m usually quite patient with clients, realizing that in a lot of ways, taking the time out to have this seemingly inevitable conversation, in the end, helps build client trust. On this particular day, though, I was feeling tired, overworked and was just really not trying to hear all that. Like, at all.

This is where the fruit of the Spirit should have kicked in–you know, love, joy, peace and patience, especially. I wish I could say that I ended that phone call with the client reassured and with a clear plan for moving forward in the case. The call didn’t quite end that way; that’s reality sometimes. The attorney-client relationship with that particular client is still a work in progress. But that whole scene did make me think about the fruit of the Spirit that the Apostle Paul talks about in Galatians.

Funny thing about fruit, it takes time to cultivate, to grow.  Clearly, I’m no farmer, but thinking generally about how fruit grows–it requires work.  We have to make sure we have good soil, plant seeds, water them, and wait as they grow.  Not only that, but we have to tend to fruit as it grows, pruning the tree or vine, just to make sure that the fruit can fully ripen. The whole process takes a long time. But at the end, it’s so satisfying to bite into a juicy red-yellow Gala apple, or pop a few green grapes into your mouth. And don’t forget the Halos, those  little Mandarin oranges. Those are a running favorite in my house.

Isn’t it funny though, that in this chapter (Galatians 5), the fruit of the Spirit is contrasted with “acts of the sinful nature?” That term “sinful nature” sounds like religious-speak to me, making it more challenging to understand. But if you look at the actions or activities that the writer Paul calls the “sinful nature,” the commonality between those things is acting in a way that feels good to you, at the expense of someone else. A fit of rage may feel good to a person because they’re getting all of their anger out, but it wreaks havoc on the receivers of that rage. And “acts” take not time at all to complete compared to growing fruit.

In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit appear to have more of an outward focus.  Running down the list of the fruit,  a lot of those things require quelling an initial, self-centered impulse, and choosing a response that benefits someone else. If we think about kindness, goodness and faithfulness, for example, they usually involve how we treat other people.

Paul warns that living this way, practicing the fruit of the Spirit, is not easy. He tells us that our selfish nature clashes with our Spirit-centered nature, so that a lot of times we don’t do what we know we should do (Galatians 5:17). But we keep trying anyway, because that leads to a better outcome for others, and ultimately a better outcome for ourselves.   Who says “I don’t want to be lovely, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-disciplined?” No one.

I know the next client rant can’t be too far around the corner. Next time I’ll be ready. I might even eat an apple during the call, just to remind myself. No, that would be bad manners–chewing in a client’s ear.  When your next opportunity to show the fruit of the Spirit presents itself, will you be ready? The next time that rude, inconsiderate person gets on your nerves or says something offensive, smile to yourself and think watermelon, apples, grapes, Halos (see what I did there?) and give a response that would make your heavenly Father proud.





We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope[b] for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)   ~Romans 8: 24-25

“Ugh, it’s hard to wait!” my three-year-old whined from the back seat. “I know, buddy. We still have a little while to go. Wanna listen to some music?” I asked.

This refrain has often been my son’s dramatic response to so many things in his little life. On this particular day, I was driving him and his sister to my parents’ house, about an hour away. He let out this little cry of frustration about 15 minutes into the ride. “Oh, this is gonna be fun,” I thought to myself.

And while I have yet come up with a kid-friendly way to say “Son, remember how in Romans Chapter 8 God instructs us to wait patiently? Do that and shut it!” I can, thankfully, remind myself of this very principle when I get antsy, and whine to God about how hard it is to wait.

Ah, waiting. It’s the virtuous thing to do, right? Delayed gratification is a sign of maturity, they say. Good things come to those who wait, they say. “Yeah, right,” I say. Waiting is hard work. Waiting is especially hard when you feel like you’ve prepared, you’ve done your part and you’re waiting on God to make or reveal a pathway to the thing that you want.

You could be waiting to find just the right house to move into, or the right person to date, or the right job offer, or the right time to have kids (girl, don’t rush it!) The truth is, it’s a challenging task to continuously pray and wait for God’s perfect timing.

But that’s exactly what the Lord instructs us to do. In the passage above, Paul is talking about waiting for the second coming of Jesus, but surely, this principle applies to waiting for anything we are anxious and ready to receive.

If we don’t have the thing we’ve been praying for, we wait patiently–and confidently–for God to respond. And good thing we don’t have to do this on our own. If God instructs us to wait patiently on him, surely he will help us to follow his instructions. So our prayer becomes “God, this is the thing I truly desire. I pray for it AND I also pray for the patience to wait on your timing.”  (We also need to be sure that the thing we’re praying for is what God truly wants for us, but that’s another post!)

Ultimately, we have to remember that God loves us (1 John 4:10), He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7) and He has an ultimate plan for us (Ephesians 2:10). He’s not some spiteful Dad toying with our emotions, just refusing to give us the things for which we ask. He’s a good Father who can see farther than we can and knows more than we do. We trust Him in the waiting, knowing that all of his plans for us are good (Jeremiah 29:11).


On Current Events

It is difficult to be Black in America. I don’t presume to speak for all Black people, but I know how I feel. To face lethal hatred and racism on an individualized level (Travon Martin, Eric Garner, Jordan Davis, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile…) and to also face that same lethal hatred and racism en masse in enraged white faces in the dark of night, lit by torches evoking the lynch mobs that extinguished so many of my people before me—it is just too much.  To be able to draw parallels regarding the treatment of Black people from  1917 to 2017 is just simply unreal and more than any one person, anyone people, should have to bear.

To wake up each day and determine that you will be the best version of yourself in a city, state, a country that seems to want to mute your very existence—this is a heavy thing. To turn on the evening news and have to explain the terms “mob” “hate” and “race” to your four year old is painful. To have to tell her that people hate her because of who she is and how she looks—that’s utter agony.

But I can’t stay in this place. I push forward. I keep fighting.  The only reason I exist today is because my ancestors did the same. And I owe it to them, I owe to my children, to my people to continue to be my best self and stand up and give a voice to the voiceless and bring hope and restoration to broken places.

And no, hope and restoration may not come in the form of a grand speech in front of millions of people, or even martyrdom. But I know that I can push forward, show love, and bring  hope in my daily life: in the legal representation that I give to people, in the way I teach my children to love themselves no matter what anyone else says about them, in my utter refusal to hate people who hate me. I will continue to move forward, to press forward. I will continue to show love. That is my Father’s will—for us to love one another as He loves us. And as I pray daily, let my Father’s will be done.

Ponytails and Gratitude

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

~Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)


“Mommy I don’t want buns, I want ponytails!” From the driver’s seat of my parked car, I turned and looked back at my four-year-old incredulously. “What did  you say?” I asked. “I want ponytails, I don’t want buns in my hair!”

“I know this girl is NOT sitting up here complaining about her beautiful hair when I just spent the money and time taking her to the salon so her hair could look so nicely and neatly braided,” I thought to myself.

I took a deep breath and launched into a mini lesson (read, lecture) on why it was important to be grateful for what we do have, and not always focused on what we don’t have, instead. The “lesson” included phrases  like “you should appreciate your hair” and “mommy didn’t have to take you to the salon” and “I’m sure there are a lot of little girls who would love…” You get the picture.

“Do you understand?” I finally asked her, swinging my body back around in my seat and pressing the start button, all in one indignant motion. I began to drive and immediately started my internal monologue about my four-year-old and what I could do to make her really appreciate the things that she’s been given. Then I thought about God. And human beings. And how we’re just like my ungrateful, precious little girl.

How many times do we think “oh, if only I had her job” or “I’d be feeling great too, if I had her body” or “I mean, can I live in a house like that?” Those thoughts ricochet around my brain daily, while I constantly overlook all of the great things I do have. I have to frequently remind myself that God didn’t have to give me anything–not gainful employment, not healthy children, not a loving husband, not healthy parents, nor great friends.

Don’t get me wrong: ambition certainly has its rightful place in our lives. I don’t think God called us to be complacent–never trying to better ourselves or achieve more for his glory. However, I do think God calls us to be content while we climb, to be grateful as we grasp for greater. He wants us to stop covetously looking at everyone else’s lives, and realize, as Hebrews 13 reminds us, that we have the best gift of all: his presence.

So maybe instead of lecturing my little munchkin, I’ll set the example for her. Thank you, Lord, for all that you have given me. You didn’t have to bless my life in the ways that you have, and I am so grateful for what you’ve done for me. And most of all, I am grateful for you. Amen.


A Sweet Exchange



Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”  

~Matthew 11:28-30 NLT

Last weekend, my friends and I had a “Mommy’s Day Out.” So. Much. Fun. We hung out together for the better part of Saturday afternoon and on into Sunday.  Hanging out included going to a Mexican restaurant for an early dinner. When we arrived, the restaurant was crowded and the wait time was long, so we decided to eat at the bar.

As we sat chatting and waiting for our food and drinks, I noticed a couple sitting next to us. They were quietly talking, kissing and seemingly enjoying themselves as well. And then they got up to leave. The girlfriend got up with ease, but the boyfriend got up and almost immediately fell over onto my friend. He grasped for the high seat back, and then rocked too far forward as he tried to overcorrect. This guy was drawing attention to himself as he tried desperately to steady himself. As he was trying to catch his balance, he told his girlfriend, standing next to him, “I’m not OK.” And I’m thinking, “dude, you are more than just ‘not ok.'”

As the couple walked away, I judgmentally rolled my eyes. It was about 5:00 pm at this point.  Like seriously, the evening had barely started and this guy was lit. Toasted.  Sloshed. The craziest aspect of the whole scene was that the guy was so quiet and indistinct before he tried to leave. I acted disgusted for a few more minutes as I pondered this guy’s situation and then carried on with the rest of dinner.

I didn’t think about that guy again until the following night, as I was deep in a, shall we say, heated exchange with my husband about a specific issue. I was completely exasperated and frustrated. All of this emotion had built up inside of me and I felt like I was just about to explode with anger.  And then I thought to myself “I’m not OK.”

Our conversation ended and I went upstairs to my bedroom. I closed the door and opened the Bible. Soon I found Jesus staring back at me from the book of Mark, beckoning me to come and tell him about what was on my mind.

My husband wasn’t the real issue. After praying and thinking, I realized that I had had such a good time with my girlfriends, that it really kind of magnified for me just how stressed I had been and how much I needed a break, even just a short one. The issue with my husband was just the symptom. He’d been doing a really great job of sharing the collective load of juggling jobs, kids and household maintenance. But sometimes life can still be stressful and pressure-filled, even with your partner right beside you.

I was not OK and I didn’t need to tell my husband about it, I needed to decompress and tell Jesus about it. So there I was, the same person who had so quickly doled out judgment on someone else, kneeling at my bedside, uttering those same words to the Lord. In all my busyness and stress and watching other people, I hadn’t taken the time to locate my own feelings and read up on what Jesus had to say about them. In the past few weeks, I hadn’t really taken concentrated time to pray and tell God what was going on in my day to day. I took the time that night though, and it was great. It was what I needed. I gave Jesus my burdens that night.

And the funny thing is, nothing about my daily life changed– the demands of being a wife, mom, attorney, daughter, they were all still there. But man, did I have peace after that time with Jesus. His burden really is light–if I take the time to exchange it for mine. And even in the week after that episode, I still struggled to find the time to devote solely to Jesus, but that devotional time that I did have was a reminder of why and just how much I need him. He can bear the burdens of this fast-paced, filled-to-the-brim life. He will give me rest for my soul as I walk out this life day by day. And I’m more than OK with that.



Graphic Credit: dailylifeverse.com

Better Than “Eat, Pray, Love”?


Philippians 4:5-9 NLT

I never read the book (or saw the movie) Eat, Pray, Love. I actually recently took a poll with some of my friends to ask if it was worth the listen on Audible. I have to admit that even now, ten years after it was first published, the title still entices me. Any memoir that instructs me to eat, pray and love to find a better life, I’m here for it. Reading through Philippians, though, I stumbled across what I consider to be Paul’s formula for living a God-filled (read, fantastic) life: Pray, Think, Do.


In Philippians 4:5-7, Paul is writing to the church at Philippi, giving them instructions on how to conduct themselves in his absence. He encourages them that God is near and that they don’t have to worry or be overly anxious about their lives. And neither should we. We should pray instead, he says, giving thanks for what we have and asking God for what we want and need. When we do this, we can expect the peace of God to envelop us. So the first step is to pray. “God, I thank you for blessing me with two wonderful kids. I pray that you would help me figure out how to make them go to sleep at bedtime without having to bribe them with promises of breakfast treats in the morning. Amen.” Ah, I feel the peace coming now.


Then, in Philippians 4:8, Paul instructs the church on how they should be thinking.  If something is true, noble, right and pure, he says, then they should think about that thing. I admittedly add my own interpretive spin to this portion of Paul’s writing.  In the plan for living, I think Paul’s directive on our thoughts also means that we should think, as in formulate a plan of action, for our lives or a specific area of our life that we have been praying to God about. Here is our second instruction: think. Because my kids take so freakin’ long to fall asleep, maybe I should put them down earlier, so they still get a decent amount of sleep at night. This may very well be easier said than done, but remember, I’m still thinking here.


And then finally, in Philippians 4:9, Paul admonishes the church at Philippi that whatever they have learned from him–whether they saw him do it or heard him say it, they should follow his godly example and do those things, too. Thus, we have our third and final instruction: Do. It’s taking everything in me not to insert some corny line that includes the Nike slogan, so let’s just move right right along, shall we? The most important part of the equation (according to James 1:22-25), we have to follow through on the plan that we created while we were thinking. We have to act. Tomorrow evening I won’t scroll through my IG feed while running the kids’ bath water or warming up their food. I will not lock myself in the bathroom (where they can’t get to me) so that I can rummage through my FB feed in peace. I will have a focused, streamlined evening routine so that the children can get their little tails in the bed earlier.

And there you have it: Pray, Think, Do. Thanks Paul. And also, Jesus. (This example may or may not have been taken from my real life. All names and references were changed to protect the innocent. But not really.)

Parenting 101


And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow. . .   ~Romans 8:38 NLT


“Okay guys, I’m going to get dressed really quickly and then we’re going to get read–” I stopped mid-sentence because I had reached out, placed my hand on the brass doorknob to my bedroom only to find that the doorknob wouldn’t give in either direction and the door was tightly shut.

“You’ve gotta be kidding me,” I said out loud, to no one in particular. I stared blankly at the white door in front of me, in utter disbelief.   My kids and I had just finished an arts and crafts project leaving us with exactly one hour to get dressed, round up our things and arrive on time to a birthday party that started in exactly two hours.  I had left extra room in the schedule to stop and get a gift on our way to the party. And I was trying to be better about being on time because I’m usually not on time, especially if I’m traveling with the kids, and now one of my beloved children had locked me out of my bedroom derailing my whole timeline, not to mention my sanity.

I looked down to the bottom of the staircase where my two year old grinned up at me. “Mommy, I locked the door!” he proudly exclaimed. In that moment, I felt so much rage, it seemed almost unnatural. He was smiling with that toddler look that I think all toddlers must teach each other–that look that says “I know I wasn’t supposed to do that but I’m so cute and innocent-looking in this moment, you wouldn’t dare unleash the fury that you really feel because you love me, and also did I mention that I’m cute?”  I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

Fast forward four hours later (and throw in a locksmith, the quickest shower known to man, and scooping up of children, one under each arm), and I am at the party with my kids, having a good time. And no, we did not make it on time. But we weren’t terribly late and there I was pushing that same two year old in a miniature car across the lawn. He was having a blast, which made me smile and I gave him an extra little tickle, because after all, he really is just so cute.

In that moment, I thought about God. I wondered how many times I had locked him out his bedroom, metaphorically speaking, and how many times he had closed his eyes and taken a deep breath. In that moment I silently and quickly thanked him for being a good, good father. He’s a father who loves me, despite my mistakes. And his posture towards me, towards us, is never one of guilt or shaming. Our Father loves us, and there is nothing that we could ever do that would stop him from loving us or wanting the best for us. That kind of love is awesome.

Just think about your child, or your niece or nephew, or even a younger sibling, and how much you love that person, and would do just about anything for him or her. If we’re human and imperfect, how much more amazing is the love that God has for us, his children? We don’t ever have to wonder if God wants to bless us with an amazing life (John 10:10) or use us to help make someone else’s life a little more amazing (Matthew 7:12). Of course he does. He’s a good, good father and we are loved by him.


Love (and some other stuff ) Is Enough


1 Corinthians 13:1-8 (NIV)

“Love is patient,” Paul writes, “love is kind.” (v. 4). But Paul, “Love” just left the toilet seat up for the one hundredth time! “[Love] keeps no record of wrongs,” he says (v. 5). Clearly, Paul has never experienced the feeling that comes over you upon discovering that “Love” has eaten up all the snacks and left the pantry empty, right at the very time you get the urge to munch on something.

1 Corinthians 13 sounds so good in theory. It’s read at so many weddings as a sacred reminder of the commitment that the (usually) naive and unsuspecting couple are making to one another. Paul makes love sound so noble–and it is. It is also painful.

Fulfilling this scripture, continually applying the healing ointment of love over the scabs, bruises, and sometimes even gashes, that arise in a marriage is hard work. It’s not flowery and poetic. Loving someone for real often means doing the hard work of loving them through their faults and allowing them to do the same for you.

One thing that I’ve learned in this married life is that if love is an ointment, then forgiveness is the band-aid. Every married person will offend or hurt their spouse at some point; that’s just the nature of being in a relationship. You’re two different people trying to live one shared life. There are bound to be hurt feelings. Hurt feelings though, if they’re stockpiled and not healed by forgiveness, create blockage.

In talking to my therapist (yup, I have one), I realized that I hadn’t fully forgiven my husband for some of the hurts I’ve experienced over the course of our marriage. What struck me most is that I realized that I was stubbornly and willfully choosing not to forgive. I have been choosing to hold on to my hurt and nurse it because that’s the safe thing to do. There is no risk involved in keeping my husband at arm’s length because of my hurt feelings.

But alas, love is a risk (just ask Jesus). If I let go of my hurt and truly forgive (which is a command from the Lord, by the way), then I fully open my heart back up to my husband again.  This full and open heart allows me to give and receive full and open love, but it also essentially places me in a position of vulnerability again. As risky and intimidating as this vulnerability may seem, this is what the God requires of me if I am choosing to stay in this marriage and be the wife the Lord has called me to be.

And when forgiving seems like it’s just too hard, or like I really just don’t want to do it, I need only to remember Jesus. Ah, my buddy Jesus, who loves me through my faults and forgives me repeatedly for my offenses toward him. If he can do it, then so can I.

Jesus is patient, he is kind. He does not envy, he does not boast, he is not proud. He is not rude, he is not self-seeking, he is not easily angered, he keeps no record of wrongs. He does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. He never fails. In this life, in our marriages, love (and forgiveness and Jesus) is enough.


Image Credit: Susan Adams