3 Hard Words: I Love You (Guest Post: Holly Mackle)

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Let me tell you about my friend, Holly Mackle. Holly is a real-deal blogger (DiggingSuburbia and enCourage). Truthfully, she’s more than that. Holly is a daughter, a wife, a mother, a writer, a suburban gardener, a friend, a sister, and a wanna-be baller who wishes she was a little bit taller. Ok maybe not the last part but she’s awesome and I want to treat any of you who wander onto my blog today to a guest post by her. Her writing is well, how does one say this… better than mine and warrants you take time to not only read it, but digest it. Let it take root in you and grow on you (Holly is a gardener after all).

Planting a Seed:

I also want to help this daring lady promote her new study, Engaging Motherhood: Heart Preparation for a Holy Calling. Here’s a little description:

Let’s face it: it’s not about whether we sleep-train, cloth-diaper, give
formula, or any one of the thousands of other choices in this age of
mommy-analysis.  What matters is the heart behind those decisions and
whether or not that heart is surrendered to Jesus.  It’s about our worst
fear regarding our children coming true and still being able to say, “My
identity is in Christ alone and his completed work.”  
Engaging Motherhood: Heart Preparation for a Holy Calling is a place for
moms of young children to connect and beat back loneliness, to be reminded
of truth when lies scream so loudly, and to be assured that we are enough
because he is enough. It seeks to prepare mamas for the days when sin flares
up, expectations go unmet, relationships are strained, or the line between
the rational and the irrational blurs.
God promises to meet us as we courageously step into the spiritual
significance of our task. He has every answer for our real questions-the
deep ones that challenge at every turn. Be steadied and encouraged by the
experiences of seven mothers who have gone down this road before. Allow your
gaze to be lifted from the stifling how-to’s of raising a child onto
Christ’s sufficiency in meeting your every need along the way.

Engaging Motherhood.jpg

Yeah, it’s awesome, I know. I’m not a mother but this stuff is encouraging.

You can get a copy for yourself, a friend, your mom, your wife, or anyone you think could use a bit of encouragement as a mom or expecting mom: Engaging Motherhood on Amazon or want to buy several copies visit the PCA Bookstore.

Ok, without further distraction from me, feast upon her work.

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I Love You

Mind if I hand you some puzzle pieces?

Here’s the first. UGA, Athens, Georgia, 2005. I am a lovesick grad student who is supposed to be finishing her thesis but can’t see straight because of this boy named David Mackle. I know that I know that I know, and gosh, I hope he does too. He says “I love you,” and I, being me, reply back in only the most awkward of ways:

“Are you sure?”

They flew out before I could catch them.

He said I love you and I said are you sure.

Part two. A frustrating and almost year-long back and forth with the company who makes the gigantic printer for my in-home business ends in a stalemate. They are not going to replace the monstrosity with the new version of the monstrosity. I am upset at the thought of letting the business go, but it’s not because I love the business so terribly. When my sister-friends hammer down with the right questions: it’s ugly. The printer represents me showing David I’m contributing to our family. That I’m earning my keep. I’m a Proverbs 31-kinda-wife. I’m worth it. That he made a good choice by picking me.

And God said ahem. You do the same thing to me, too.

Third piece. I have this dear friend who has been in a crisis of faith the last year or so. She doubts the assurance of her salvation. I look at her love for Jesus and I’m envious. She gnaws on the word, serves the bride like nobody’s business, adores her husband, and is raising her children up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. The Spirit within me testifies she is his chosen child. But I’m not the one who can free her from doubt. I can’t help her believe the obvious. And I’ve viewed her plight as if peering through a window. Compassionate, but detached.

Whoa, slow down

Before I lose track I think it’s time to put some pieces together. Athens, Georgia and are you sure insinuates I know better. It insinuates “You can’t possibly know your own mind better than I know it and there’s no way you could truly love me.” Not you, me. I know better. I know best. Me, me, me, my, doesn’t that apple look delicious.

The printer that’s way more than just a printer is the lesser-known side of a very ugly coin. The familiar side says I will fight and earn your love. I will tap dance my way into your good graces because I am sure you love tap. But the other, more subtle side, says “Thanks for picking me buuuuut…trust me, I’m going to show you that you made a good choice.”

These two pieces help me make sense of the third, and as it turns out I’m not peering in through the assurance window. I’m in the house. Because every time I put on my tap shoes and try to show God what a good choice he made by picking me, I’m elevating myself as the decider. I pat him on the head and say “Atta boy.”

Barf.

How must I break the heart of the One who went to such lengths to save me when my actions ask him if he is sure he made a good choice.

The fourth piece

But there’s really only one piece of real importance here. It’s the last piece, the sweetest one, and it’s the one smoothing all the rough edges of the other three and making the whole picture come together. You see, three little words “I love you” are really three more words “I trust you” which are really the ultimate three words “I believe you.” And when it all boils down, mercifully, I—we—don’t have it. We don’t have the words, ways or means to adequately love God back in return, much less trust him completely, and far less believe him perfectly. It has to be his own power working within us, tearing and gnawing and molding and re-molding our nature to resemble Christ’s—the only person who really loved, trusted, and believed out of his own power. Apart from him, I cannot love him at all, much less enough. Apart from him, I will never trust him enough, much less minute by minute. And apart from him, I will never be able to believe everything he has said about who he is and who I am in relation to him.

He has to move in me to love himself. He has to align situations to show me how to trust him. And then he has to take me to the brink to show me I am his, and this means I do believe. By his power, I do believe. Lord, help my unbelief.

By grace alone, David and I will celebrate ten years this summer. They have been the most fun years of my life, and there isn’t a person on this planet I would have preferred to spend them with. Our marriage isn’t perfect, but here’s one thing that is true: when he tells me he loves me I believe him. Belief abounds more and more as we walk through life together. And each time he tells me maybe I should first say “I believe you,” before I say “I love you, too.” Which makes me wonder if God would like to hear the same thing from me. Are trust and belief foundational to my love for him? Each time I see a sunset I’m sure he painted just for me, or my favorite song comes on the radio just as I turn it on, I feel his love and affection. And oh, how badly I want to return it.

Lord, I love you.

I trust you.

I believe you.

And while I am doing better about believing David these days, don’t worry, I still manage to find other ways to bring the awkward.

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Want to read more from Holly Mackle then check out her personal blog, DiggingSuburbia and look for her contributions at enCourage, check out On Disney, Dreams, and the Dream to Come.

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3 thoughts on “3 Hard Words: I Love You (Guest Post: Holly Mackle)

  1. Barbara Williams says:

    So good Holly! I just finish a year doing Beth Moore’s Bible Study Believing God with 25+ young Mom’s. This is a percent follow up! Thank you for your insightful words and your heart.

  2. […] if you’ve a few minutes, here’s the link to Alan’s blog, and here’s the link to the post he let me write for […]

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