I look in the mirror at the woman staring back at me. Dark purple lines under her eyes from days of sleepless nights. Wrinkled brow. All I see in her eyes is fear.
I stop. I take a good look straight into those eyes...making myself face myself. Then breathe. I begin to brush my teeth and go over the answers to the exam in my head. Again.
I had failed. Twice. On an exam that requires 90% within 3 tries or I fail out of RN school. I was devastated. Frustrated. Humbled.
Today was the third try. I told no one.
I pull my scrubs on, run fingers through my hair and prepare to walk out the door into the sunshine and unknown.
My husband meets me at the door and looks straight into my eyes. Same eyes that I had just gazed into...I knew what they held. He didn't say a word...just held me in that gaze and communicated "you are enough" with his eyes.
These same eyes he had looked upon me with a week earlier as he pulled my chin up dripping with tears and shaking head...words tumbling out "I don't fail. I can't do this. I can't fail." and pulled my eyes to his gaze and said "Whatever happens, we'll be ok. You are not failing anyone."
I had looked away as he held my face in his hands. Ashamed. Lost in the failure of the moment.
But he had not looked away. He held my gaze. Made me see myself as he saw me. Enough.
Fast forward back to today...I held his gaze, walked out the door and drove towards my future. I had prepared. I knew the material. I also had been up all night with beating chest...skin on fire like I was coming unglued...and shaking. Anxious. Fearful. Exhausted.
As I began to drive I rehearsed what I knew...but this time about who I am. What I have. Who made me. And as it had happened each day prior to this day for the last week, a calm settled over me...a knowing...you are enough. Should you fail...you are enough. Should you pass...you are enough. Should you go home today empty handed...you are enough.
I leaned into it and began to unwind. Hands that had shaken for 24 hours...stilled. Heart that had raced for days...beat rhythmically...smoothly. Mind that had raced since the last failing...slowed...became clear.
I began to sing within my mind...It is well...It is well in my soul.
As I pull into the parking lot my phone dings and it's my husband..."Stay calm during the test. No matter what happens we'll be ok."
I knew it would be.
I passed. 94%.
I was surprised when I walked out that I didn't feel more overwhelmed with hyperactivity as I normally do during these situations...when it hit me...you already knew the outcome. You knew you were enough. You knew you were in good hands.
I stepped into my car and sat...whispering thanks to my best friend..."you really held me today God. Your peace really does pass my understanding." I thought back to the eyes I had stared into earlier that morning...mine first...then the eyes of my partner...one saying you are not enough...the other saying you are MORE than enough...and it came to me in that sunlit car...
This was a perfect representation of grace...of the Gospel. We look at ourselves and all we cannot do. All we cannot seem to be. All we cannot force to happen. Then He pulls our chins up dripping with tears and failure...eyes veering to the side ashamed to look into His...and He says...you are enough. Failing. Falling. Gaining. Losing. You are enough. My grace is sufficient for you.
Very simple thought I know. But I needed to write it so when I begin to veer my eyes to the left again and believe the purple lines instead of His gaze...I will be reminded of this day. It is well because He makes me enough.