About Shelby Hughes

I grew up in a small cabin built by none other than my parents themselves. They had help here and there, but Dad drew up the blueprint, we moved hundreds of miles away, and they got to work. The home has yet to match the blueprint, but that's no surprise considering that a work of art is never fully finished—just as our lives will never fully finish.

 

I can remember using kerosene lamps for light, washing and drying clothes outside, hand-pumping water, carrying loads of firewood in from the snow, and chinking between each hand-raised log.

 

Change was slow and beautiful and paced. And then, one day, it wasn't.

 

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2017 Shelby L. Hughes | Greensburg, PA | shelbyhugheswriter@gmail.com

  • Shelby Hughes

Dance With Your Groom


Each wedding photo has memories attached with it, but this photo is by far my most embarrassing moment. I'm no dancer. It's okay when I'm alone and being silly, but not when all eyes are watching. Wes was set on dancing, and after some convincing, I agreed. It was one day, a special day, and although skipping this portion of the wedding would have been fine with me, I understood his desire to dance with his bride for the first time in front of family and friends.

I can imagine God wanting to dance with His bride too, and I'd likely feel just as self conscious and awkward attempting to fall in step with Him when I feel so inadequate and unworthy.

So, we danced. The room was quiet and motionless aside from the music that I could hardly hear over the inner voices screaming "don't mess up." I tried to quiet them by focusing on my husband. "We're married now. You're my husband now. It finally happened." Speaking this truth into existence calmed me. I whispered that I was nervous and he reassured me. We continued dancing, and for a few brief moments, it was just him and I.

But, the end of the song neared, and Wes went to dip me just as we had practiced, and I panicked when I remembered that all eyes were on us. I remembered how awkward dancing was for me. The dip was mildly unsuccessful. A few gasped. Some covered their mouths. Wes managed to pull me back up and held me close as my face turned every shade of red. "It's okay," he whispered in my ear. "Don't worry about anyone else. I've got you."

I think of the account in Matthew 18 where Peter takes his eyes off Jesus while the disciples are watching. Peter, the strong one, the determined one, the leading one, got all focused on the circumstances around him. He looked at the waves, and began to sink.

I'd like to think I'd walk straight out to Jesus with eyes fixed only on Him. But, I'd be Peter in a second. Clinging to insecurities, I'd consider the disciples safely in the boat watching me do something out of my comfort zone. "Who walks on water? This isn't even possible." The inner voices would scream loud and clear. Then, just as the wave nearing me curls and dips, I panic. I sink.

I've always been a little bothered by Jesus' words that come after He helps Peter. "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" They seem harsh, perhaps because they get at the core of my insecurity. It seems like this loving Jesus we all know so well is ticked with Peter, and perhaps He was a bit frustrated. Or, perhaps not.

Jesus didn't say, "Peter, you have little faith in me. Why did you doubt me?" Yes, Jesus allowed this miracle to happen, but He didn't make it about himself. He made it about Peter. Peter began well. Faith and belief in Jesus and himself were in full swing. I don't think Peter stopped believing in Jesus' ability to perform this miracle. When my balance changed as Wes dipped me, I wasn't afraid that he couldn't handle it, I was afraid that I'd do something wrong, especially with others watching. As soon as Peter began to sink, he knew that only Jesus could help him. Peter stopped believing in himself when he saw the seemingly impossible circumstances around him. He was walking on water, I repeat, walking on water, with the Messiah. He suddenly felt inadequate and unworthy. Oh, how I can relate.

What if we had been there to see Jesus' reaction to Peter. Perhaps the detail left out in scripture was His character that we know all too well. While it seems His words were harsh, I'd imagine that His reaction to Peter was one of love. He reaches out his hand, lifts him, and then holds him close as they walk back to the others who complacently sit and watch with anticipation. He speaks those seemingly harsh words in love. He's the Messiah. He understood exactly why Peter lacked faith and doubted. He was speaking directly to Peter's insecurities.

Jesus wants more for us than we could ever imagine. When we begin to sink, He's right there and willing to reach out and pull us back up. Then He speaks the same words to us that He spoke to Peter, and He speaks to our insecurities and feelings of unworthiness. In Him, we are secure. In Him, we are worthy, holy, righteous, and redeemed.

So go ahead, walk on water (figuratively). Go ahead, dance with your Groom.

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