“Never let the hand you hold, hold you down.” -Denisea Trammell
Most of us have heard this saying. The meaning to me was not allowing someone to have power over you being you. But if you’re doing the physical act of holding someone’s hand, you’re remaining still – remaining at the same, even plane consistently. Forever. What if the person’s hand you were holding was running forward? Looking back at you and encouraging you to run alongside of him? And holding your hand up in celebration of you taking those long strides?
You know when you watch home videos of you walking for the first time? Your mom or dad is nearby in case you bust it, but they have the biggest cheerleader grin on their face as you stumble through your first steps in life. Every time I look at my husband for encouragement, I see this face.
When Ron and I met, I was in an outwardly place of girl power, not needing anyone, and taking care of myself. Inside, I was a wreck. I was depleted, tired, and running extremely low on my level of self worth. I was consistently between the place of a narcoleptic nap and a full on panic attack. I had recently purchased a magazine franchise and was in the trenches of figuring out what the heck I was doing. I was concentrating on my career and taking a look down every once in a while to make sure I didn’t full on face plant. I had two part time jobs on top of the publication, and was totally holding it all together. On the outside.
How did I get to this place? I had spent years listening to others and the world tell me what I was but most importantly was not capable of doing. Listening to the noise of what to do and who to be. What to wear and how to hold yourself. What to talk about and what to shove very far down inside of you. How to deal with issues so they didn’t have to be discussed in an open and honest way. Job listings, college professors, social media, men, other women, everything but what I know to be true. I let the volume build instead of cutting through it with the truth of who I am and the acceptance of what God made me to be.
Someone told me once that I had so much creative talent, but I was only utilizing what lied in my pinky finger. And going back to one of my past posts, it is a constant fear that I am not fully living out what I was put on this Earth to do, or what I have the capability of achieving because I listened to someone or something else that was just noise.
In her book Uninvited, Lisa Terkeurst states my favorite line of them all:
“These is an abundant need in this world for your exact brand of beautiful.”
And that’s exactly what Ron re-taught me to believe over the course of our relationship. It wasn’t easy. It was more panic attacks and self doubt. But he looked me in the eyes and told me that I was created for so much more than what I believed. That the standard that I was holding myself to when it came to intelligence and ability was entirely too low. That I freely had the space and support to come into my own.
I didn’t know what to do with that. It was completely backwards from what had been instilled in my thoughts. But it was amazing all at the same time. It didn’t come without its hurdles – friends that I had been around for the past six years saw a person that they didn’t quite recognize. My style changed, I became more open, and started writing again. But what wasn’t realized was that I was re-learning the person I have always been. I was learning to walk again.
In the past two years of marriage, I have sold a magazine, started a blog, designed multiple house flips, gotten my pilot’s license, started authoring two different books, led a bible study for twelve high school freshman and most recently (fingers crossed and breath held) applied to Harvard for my graduate degree in journalism.
WHAT? What is that?? That is my husband encouraging me to run. Telling me every time I write that it’s the best thing he has ever read. It’s him making me feel limitless. And after that constant instilling into my mind, I start to believe that I am. I start to believe that I can set my dreams into actions of reality.
My husband is my biggest cheerleader. And I cannot begin to tell you how much of a game changer that is for me and our relationship together. Men, speak truth and encouragement into the ears of your wives and see how they flourish. Wives, look at husbands with eyes of pride and see how their hearts gleam with just your approval. Being the person that knows the other deeper than anyone on this Earth, you have the sole ability to keep them grounded or make them soar. I pray that you choose the latter.