Sometimes, like Scout and Jem at the beginning of To Kill A Mockingbird, I get in an argument with myself about where this story begins.
Everything started last October. When we came home from Denver and the little ones were sick. That’s when I became afraid (with the silly fear of mothers) that life would never be the same again. I’d spend the rest of my days cleaning up from the relentless stomach virus. After all, that lasted until Thanksgiving and the real nightmare began.
Then I think past that and I remember my husband’s heart scare. I remember the difficulties of the year before when our youngest and only son was born. The year I stepped out of my classroom role and into full-time mom and thought my world had ended.
Then, then, I think long past that. Back to earlier days when our most pressing concern was choosing between the cafeteria and the cafe before play rehearsal, when we could stay up way past midnight eating hash browns at Waffle House and studying for my Spanish exam, when my first inklings of fear were doused by the words I ran across one night after we’d been dating several months and people began asking just where this might be going.
We sat in my car outside his dorm. Dark night. Cloudy probably, because I don’t remember the stars and Berry College is known for beautiful skies. He’d told me he loved me months before. We didn’t talk about the future as senior year scuttled forward and Christmas loomed on the horizon. My plans to teach somewhere, maybe even as far off as New York where my friends told me I’d be eaten alive by the public school system, no longer seemed my own.
The terror of making a decision not knowing what he was thinking, not knowing if he wanted to be a part of that, twisted deep in my gut. And then–
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:18
Love drives out fear. A verse I’d stumbled across during church that morning when I was listening for the Lord instead of the sermon.
We sat in my car and he held my hand and ran his thumb over mine in what would become so familiar and trademark gesture that later, I would use that move when writing a love story. Because I knew then, this man loved me with no fear for what may come.
The tighter he held my hand, the more I could trust this unknown future.
Love casts out fear.
A promise I have clung to through thirteen years of marriage, four boisterous kids, and more than one terrifying experience.
This is the beginning of my story.
This post is part of the 31 Days challenge. Read all my posts here or subscribe to this blog (there’s a button under my picture over there). I’m writing 31 days on one topic, but don’t expect 31 posts. Because did you see the line about four kids? And how I write over here too?