Monday, 10 November 2014
I didn't know when I said "I do" holding his hands, wearing my mom's beautiful lacy dress, dancing into the night with the people dearest to us, that I would love him this much. I thought I already loved him as much as any heart could hold... Little did I know.
Little did I know the quiet ways of real love, of real care. I hadn't seen it, really; not fleshed out. Sure, I'd dreamed of it. I'd written about it. I'd hoped for it. But in a broken world, love too is broken, and really rather extremely broken love is what I knew. And my husband and I are not perfect, far far far from it, in fact. And our relationship is still so young. We chuckle when we think of all the years of our lives we lived separate from one another, not even knowing one another existed. It was Sept 10th, 2009 when we happened into one another's [very different] stories. It wasn't until 14 months later that we took our friendship to that next level and blushed as we introduced one another as boyfriend and girlfriend. Nearly another 2 years after that we promised-- with a stunning diamond solitaire-- to marry one another. And it was only last summer that we joined our lives and hearts and bodies in marriage.
Marriage: that courageous vow to not only love, but to cherish another person. To stand by them regardless of what the years bring, to support them-- with wise love-- to be forever becoming the person God meant when He dreamed them up. To take the hand of someone who is not you, who does not think like you, see the world as you do, feel as you do, and promise to put him first, to choose to lay down your own needs in order to serve his needs, trusting that he'll look after yours. And in that way, everyone's needs are met. It's terrifying. It can go so badly. Again, the broken world gets in the way... But when two people are daily trying (this is a key word since there's no such thing as perfect outside of Jesus' love) to love this way... the result is nothing short of heavenly, healing magic.
My husband's love is my own taste of heavenly, healing magic.
Our scant year and a half of marriage has happened upon one of the most difficult seasons of my emotional life. I don't have words to describe it, really. Circumstances have made me feel like all the things I thought sacred have been broken, mutilated, ripped apart, scattered. I don't know how to put them back together, so instead I feel like I just sit in the pile of the pieces and weep. And rage. I feel like I'm always teetering on this precipice, praying I won't fall into the dark abyss beckoning me to forget all the beauty, all the love, all the grace in the midst of all the evil, all the brokenness, all the despair that surrounds and closes in.
And there, stalwart and steadfast like the majestic Coastal Redwoods (and did I mention over-the-top handsome? My God is just THAT generous!) beside me stands my husband, quietly reaching out one stabilizing arm to massage the back of my neck. There he stands, offering me his strength, his perfectly kissable broad shoulders with their toned valley between them leading down to a muscular back beckoning me to rest against it. God's timing is more perfect than I have ever before known. May I hold on to that when everything makes me forget. I could not have met this season of life without the strength of my husband to borrow from, without the kindness of my husband to rely on, without his thoughtfulness, compassion, and care. Without his supportive love. Such a heavenly, healing magic! Such a gift from a loving God, and proof that evil does not get to win... That is the message my husband's love is sent from heaven to give me.
We took a once in a lifetime road trip a few weeks ago which made me ponder and grow. Flew out to Seattle, rented a car, and drove down the coast all the way to L.A., soaking up the beauty of one corner of the world our tremendously creative God made. Soaking it up together-- catching one another's excitement and wonder as we kissed in the ocean winds on the beaches of Oregon, hiked out to the sequoias in California, scaled the enchanting coastal Redwoods with our eyes (I love his eyes; golden brown and Long-lashed, speaking volumes in their gaze), walked down rows of vines in golden Napa Valley, and maneuvered traffic in L.A. Even outstanding beauty is more beautiful when I breathe it in next to him. When I feel his hand on the small of my back, guiding me over the rough patch of the trail, or when he insists on escorting me out to the motel office to keep me safe. This love he shows me... it is Jesus' touch. I recognize the divine in it, and I cannot bow low enough in gratitude and amazement. So the times when it's not easy, and little annoyances and hurts between us-- marks of living in a broken world-- rear their ugly heads, I remind myself of that hand on the small of my back, keeping me safe, looking out for my best. Because I know in good faith that that's my husband's heart... And my choice to show him love and grace and faith in his heart creates the same safe and strong place for him as he makes for me.
And I know that this masterpiece of a man whom God's given me to live life with is a gift to me from a loving God. And THAT is my Jesus' heart. So I cannot let this shattering of the sacred bring me to forget the heart of what God is up to in this world, His heavenly, healing love shed abroad to anyone who will accept it. I must hold on to all the ways He places his hand on the small of my back, guiding me over the rough patches of trail...