The Forsaken Remains

Heartbeats are hard to hold in the palm of my hand when they are new and slippery and never stay in one place.

But here they are, just out of their plastic wrap, not a fingerprint mark on their surface, brought to life by the warmth of blood beneath my skin. Such innocence. Such amazement. Such determination to show me what it looks like to fully break open and out.

Like a harsh winter-casing, my life has thrust through hard ground, learning to live in other layers. I’m almost a year and a half into marriage, and it’s been a hailstorm of adjustment, crumbling into myself and shedding old skin to make room for melting into my husband Eric as we jostled and spun to make our needs seen while learning how to come together. Right now, I feel like the storm has finally subsided and I’m standing in the aftermath, clear skies unblurring the view around me. Here we are, wide awake and blinking at this way of living, coming undone to be rebuilt.

I wonder, what does it look like, to begin again? A new life, a thaw from the frozen fields of my heart battered and upturned? To step into the new world, the people and places that swirl about, unfamiliar shapes and colors, all a blur, everything foreign to my eyes.

Here we are, wide awake and blinking.

At the crossroads of my identity, my heart’s skin is patching up the bones. It’s been such a battle to bring breath back into my lungs, to lock eyes with the landscape around me and dare to believe that I can rework the soil, clear space to cultivate something completely different than the forsaken remains of rubble that once housed my dreams.

God and I, we’ve unearthed the underside of my darkest pain, my scarred memories, smashed soul, and belief hammered down before it could climb into sunlight again. Over and over, I spoke a mantra that He is good, that He is good to me, even when I couldn’t keep tucked secure in faith.

But here I am, waking up one weekend with a wave of fresh air, on the edge of coming into my own in an environment where through and through I am completely excavated. Starting over, seeking truth, beginning to understand that this continued path will not be easy. It will be messy, ensnared, rough choices every moment to decide to do work for my heart. Lessons lived, truths learned in earnest, catastrophe, and incline.

I am independent; I like to fight to keep things that way. But my husband is kind and gentle and coaxes me to his heart like the wild animal drawn to the light that I am.

There are still vast wonders to find, otherworld treasures that glow in the eternal realm, flicker in the here and now. Every day is an unfolding of beauty while making space to be cut deep and stung. I have prepared for a battle but God has removed my armor, left me where I stand looking out at this world, looking up at my husband’s clear eyes. He will teach me many things: how to be bold in the face of the excruciating pain it will take to stand day after day in the open, heart hanging in suspension, exposed and aching. Learn what it means to lean into hope, hold onto it like a lifeline, that even when what I ask for doesn’t answer like I desire, that it is not the end. That it is good because God deems it so. But to continue to hold out my hands in offering, accepting what instead He has to give.

To take heart, stand with a shield of courage banded in front of me, bravery a voice that had forgotten to share its tone with me for many years. Stand in the face of lions baring teeth like swords, stare them in the eye.

Learn what it means to lean into hope.

Keep kissing the hurt when I am pushed from my protection, of my natural response to shrink back inside myself and push away. No. This time I stay. I do not drop my gaze; I do not hide my heart. Nakedness with another in every way involves embracing what has hurt me but daring to lean into it again. At the core, I know that Eric is good, that his love is God’s, and that kind of love always hopes, always perseveres, always offers a safe place at the end of a harrowing journey.

Here I stand, breathing out loud in the quiet. Listening to the way my lips exhale this newness, first blink of daylight in darkness long curtained in timid caverns. This is life. This is my heart and desire. Marriage has made me another woman, an evolution sprung from what comforted me to headfirst into an unknown, a transformation that heaped change upon change that shocked and froze me in my tracks. For all the love, fear of becoming still festers.

I want to know how to retain the courage to keep moving. To plow forward with confident determination that though I stumble, I will not veer.

Dust settles, shakes me awake. This is my being, my metamorphosis, my becoming. This is my acceptance, my pull to piece it all together for the next stretch of years. Fight to feel. Break barriers to believe. Fresh cleanse from the musty attic of words I would not say. Refuse to fold. Trust Him alone who heals my hurt, makes all things new. To begin again is to behold the blank canvas, the color wheel, the first slide of step that lights the way.

I am the walking miracle regaled in stories whispered in awe around the world. Believe this. Begin again.

Sarah Rennicke-Freymuth
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