There’s a quiet, unexpected fear that comes with staying after you’ve already said you’re leaving.  Will they take me back? Do I still have a place here? And I’m not just talking about the job I resigned from, the lease I took my name off, or the house and the church and the day-to-day life I’d spent the last six months halfway out the door on. I’m also talking about the friends I was squeezing in “one more coffee before the move” with, the students and co-workers who said goodbye so well, the roommates forced to find a new 4th, and the family I assured “We’ll see each other every few months, don’t worry.”

But, every second since I said I wasn’t going, wasn’t getting married, I’ve been humbled and held up by the ones who always take me back. I was so afraid of how people would respond, and there were a few specific people I couldn’t even face. I didn’t know what to say or how to say it–and much like Jesus always does, they came for me before I could say anything at all. They’re the ones who haven’t let me hide in the shadow of what happened, who have said “I know, I see you, I love you” when I’m not feeling very lovable or very much like being seen. Shame is a bully and grace is a shield, Ann Voskamp says.

To the ones who took me back, the ones who came and the ones who prayed, the ones who sent kind words and coffee, and to the brave, vulnerable ones who said, “Me too, I’ve been there” when I only felt alone: the love I’ve experienced from you in these unexpected days is a tiny glimpse of the love of Jesus, and I know him differently because of you. While I’m irreparably behind in responding to texts and Facebook messages [and am taking a bit of a screen + scrolling hiatus], I’m more grateful than I can express. Thanks for creating the space for me to speak, to break, to stay.

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