By Libbo Crosswhite
I’m sort of ashamed to admit that I finally gave in. I exercised such strength and restraint over the Christmas holidays, but I caved to the pressure of a “blowout sale” on one of my Facebook ads recently. (I’m still working on connection if you read last month’s article—I’m a work in progress.) I am a sucker for the wooden signs with pretty writing and this one, in particular, stood out to me. In beautiful script, in black and white, this 24×24 inch little jewel read:
I choose you. And I’ll keep choosing you
Over and over, without pause, without a doubt,
In a heartbeat. I will keep choosing you.
I have the perfect spot in my house for it and was so deeply drawn to the words because in my opinion, it epitomizes marriage. Sure, it’s romanticized a bit, because let’s be honest, our sinful nature allows for pause and doubt, gives way to skips in our heartbeats; but, the fact remains that the art of “choosing” is a daily decision that we are faced with.
If you have been on this “Modern Motherhood” journey with me each month or even have just skimmed through at each of your doctor’s appointments, you have probably picked up on the fact that I am far from perfect. I have learned to embrace my imperfections because one thing is for sure; my flaws only point me to my greater need in Christ. One look at my motherhood, my marriage, my life, and I hope that someone would say, “That woman needs Jesus.”
Almost 6 years ago, Clay and I chose to take the vows of marriage and God blessed us with children (quite quickly I might add). At the heart of my motherhood is my relationship with my husband. One of the best pieces of marriage advice I was given was that when Clay and I got married, our family began. Any extensions of our marriage, aka children, were additional blessings to our family—but at the very core of our family was us. Our commitment to each other and our God is what strengthens and blesses the growth of the family, not just the children that come from our marriage.
I could fill pages with stories of Clay having to choose me daily. Like the time I blew up his grill on accident because I hastily stored a can of flammable mosquito spray in the lid cleaning up for a party, only for him to light it three days later and almost lose a limb. Or the time we were running late for the airport and I managed to lock his keys in his truck while it was running and then figure out in the panic that I had thrown away the spare the night before in a frenzy of cleaning. Or the time we went to a wedding out of town and I forgot to pack any form of pants for him. Not one single pair.
I have lived my whole life with pregnancy brain and have only been pregnant twice. There is no doubt that I make Clay’s daily choice interesting. And I could give a few examples for him as well, but I won’t because he usually reads my articles in the deer stand, which is where he spends 70% of his free time, so I would hate to spoil a hunt with an exposé on his quirky habits.
In all seriousness, it’s so true what they say—marriage is the quintessential earthly picture of the Gospel. We are both the beneficiary and the benefactor of love and grace that we don’t deserve because we have been given the same reward in Christ.
Growing up, my sister and I were fond of Julia Roberts’ movies and could quote just about every line. Julia, as I affectionately call her since we are best friends, has this keen ability to deliver a line with ease and sincerity. Her typical role of the all-American girl just trying to win the affections of some equally attractive mate gave us lines such as, “Marry me. Choose me. Let me make you happy.” and “I’m just a girl, standing in a front of a boy, asking him to love her.” Sometimes it worked out (Notting Hill) and sometimes it didn’t (My Best Friend’s Wedding), but in both cases, her character just wanted to be chosen.
Isn’t that all of us? I sometimes find myself knelt at the altar of approval, of affection, of being chosen and can forget that no earthly relationship will ever match the beauty of my heavenly one. If I want any of my relationships to work or last in a world that offers so many different choices, I must shift my focus upward. In order to profoundly love my husband and sincerely love the blessings from our marriage, I must guard my heart to the Gospel truths—nothing in this world will satisfy my soul the way that my Father’s unconditional love does.
The truth is, I’ve altered the way I look at my newly hung, half-priced art. Not as a statement, but as a prayer for vision and clarity in my life when faced with difficult choices and even just the mundane faithfulness that we are called to daily:
Lord, I choose You. And I’ll keep choosing You. Over and over, without pause, without a doubt. I’ll keep choosing You.
Libbo Haskins Crosswhite and her husband, Clay, live in Brandon and attend Pinelake. They have one daughter, Mary Thomas, who is 3 years old and a son, Russell, who is 11/2 years old. She is the high-school guidance counselor at Madison-Ridgeland Academy.