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marriage, Page 2

hope.

“find a new wife, then!!” i shouted.  it hurts to type the words.  it’s embarassing, and besides, it brings up that gut-sinking feeling all-too-quickly.  the one that comes from feeling betrayed.  from feeling unloved.

 

we joked during our courtship, after we knew we were going to marry each other.  “till death do us part, even if i have to kill you!”  we’d both been through broken marriages as kids, the victims of a parental choice to part ways.  one of us lived through being used as a weapon against one parent by another.  we knew we never wanted to live through that desolation, and we certainly didn’t want our some-day-kids to live through it.  yet here we stood, fists clenched, each feeling desperate and angry and defensive, and the scars on our own hearts threatened to infest the hearts of our precious children, not far outside the door of the room in which we waged our verbal war.

 

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truth be told, in my marriage, i’m more the talker.  over the years, he’s let me rant until he can’t take it another second and then let fly with his own darts, sharp and well-aimed.  i’m quick on my feet and come out fighting, but somewhere along the way i’ll duck and run, defeated by my own quick burst of energy and fearful of being deserted, backtracking to avoid an unwanted conclusion and receiving instead a sense of desperate alone-ness; of hunger for resolution.  on a good day, my knight would pursue me into the forest of my own confusion and work out the truth and reconciliation despite my kicking and screaming.  on a bad day, he’d throw up his hands and let me go, and days of silence and loneliness would follow.

 

i hear that same sense of isolated resignation in the voice of a woman i love as she flatly states her sense of survival has kicked in, her tone devoid of even a sigh.  she’s hardened her heart and she’s working on locking it up even tighter, convinced there’s no hope and she will never feel loved and valued.  and the truth is, without intervention, there is no hope.  no matter how i try, and no matter how much she longs, for something better,  there are always people involved.  they will fail.  i will fail… you will fail.  inevitably, your self-preservation or your past voices will kick in and you’ll punch and flail and demand what you deserve or the one you love will.

 

but hear this:

 

there is One who loves you more than life.  He made you, and He wants to romance you, heart and soul, and somehow in some mixed-up crazy way, He will use the very brokenness that has shattered you to mold you stronger and more beautiful than you can imagine.  He is the God of Hope.  He is father, son, and spirit, and He will waltz in and snag your dreams and enlarge them and somehow, as you let go, He gives you way more than you ever longed for, more than you imagined possible, more than you’ve demanded, time and again.

 

can you hear Him?  He’s whispering your name.

 

i’m speaking bold, friend.  i’m speaking to me, too.  much love and many hugs…

 

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undaunted, part 3 {thoughts on living fearlessly}

this post is part 3 of a series called undaunted.  part 1 is here, if you would like to start there.

so, have you ever noticed that when you’re most keenly aware of your own failures, God seems to work past them or even right through them, to bring glory to himself?  as i’ve travelled this road of becoming undaunted, of learning about what living fearlessly may mean, i have been amazed at how many people told me during the journey that they thought I was brave – little, afraid me!  so often when i am at my lowest point of wondering when God will move visibly, and even (oh, it’s hard to admit this publicly) if He was moving at all, someone will tell me how my “courage” has encouraged them.  and this is where God started to show me:

 

He may intend to bless us much as, or way more than, we could imagine.

 

blessing and Gods will

 

on the way to our new home in an ongoing cross-country move, we have taken trips to a number of historical sites.  i was awed by monticello, the home of thomas jefferson, and more, by his story.  one of the stories told by the guides was about Jefferson’s personal manservant, james hemings, whom jefferson alone trusted to wake him, and to prepare his clothing for the day.  he trusted this man alone to serve the meals at his table, during a time when the tradition called for multiple servants to do so.  and he trusted this man alone, outside one member of jefferson’s family, to carry the keys to the stores and valuables in jefferson’s plantation.  this man was a slave, one of the least respected men of his time, but jefferson called him out and placed the ultimate trust in him.  it reminds me that God may actually place me not just in a position of submission, but of actual slavery, and yet still be entrusting me literally with the keys to the Kingdom.

at times in our journey of marriage and family, i have felt circumstances were outside my control.  i have felt a rising panic that i was in a place of servitude, and my time was spent changing diapers, or helping to edit newsletters, or washing dishes and laundry, and that i wasn’t able to do things i thought were really “using my gifts.”  i have struggled as, possibly temporarily, i gave up the majority of business for a company that was providing our family’s full-time income (and, honestly, providing a lot of external pride for me).  i have felt, in short, like a slave to my own life.  how funny, when i know so little of genuine servitude, or of suffering as others have, in history and today.

 

and yet even while these moments may have felt like such sacrifice, in His topsy-turvy way of doing things, God is many times placing those in lowest positions in places of great influence.

 

as a woman and a follower of Jesus, i am often digging deeper into just what being a woman means.  my sisters (and i, honestly) have bristled at 1 peter 3, as it calls women to “submit to their husbands.”  i have heart pastors preach and wedding officiants lead with a decided focus on “being mutually submissive,” in part, i think, to take the sting out of such a clear command to place ourselves (not, i will clarify, a command to men to place women) in a place of subjection to another.  in essence, we are being called, if we read literally, to make ourselves servants.  but rather than see this as a place of fear and dishonor, i see in amazement that we are called (and all Christians, if we do not ignore the later “mutual” call) to a position that holds great power, when we are determined to dive in fearlessly: undaunted by the humble position.

beth moore, in her study believing God, says that God is looking for “stewards who believe He is exactly who He says He is, to loose His heavenly accomplishments on the topsoil of earth.”

 

of course, of course, there are positions of abuse that we must flee.  but i am amazed at how often it’s in making myself smaller, that He desires to make my role in eternity greater… for my good and for His glory.

 

will you share your own experience in serving, in daring to be small, to have a role that is great in the Kingdom?

 

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death to ME {love and marriage}

death to me, life to love.  this is the mantra, i’m convinced, to prepare my heart and mind to build a stronger, more joyful, more loving marriage.  the further forward we walk, though, the more aware i become that the more i fight for me, the less it seems my husband is motivated to do so.  this love and marriage thing begs me to dig deeper, learn more, give more.

 

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the thing is, i’m married to a man who’s naturally pretty sacrificial.  the whole “laying down your life” thing never seemed hard for him.  he’s more than willing to wash dishes, scrub floors (on his knees, no less), take out garbage and wash laundry.  without being asked.  still, i complain that he doesn’t step up enough.  doesn’t lead the way i envisioned when, starry eyed with young love, i said, “i do.”  so i stomp my foot, and i demand what i want.  i demand that he “step up,” and free me from overcommitments, and say out loud where we’re going next, and tell me how much he loves me, and how pretty i look, and what a good job i did on my latest project.

even further, i tell God what i want – nay – i demand it.  like my once-preschool-kiddos,  i pout my bottom lip and i let Him know that i want answers, and now, and when i don’t see them i’m angry and quick to lose trust.

 

remember when you were a little kid, and you had to learn the word, “share?!”  “NO, MINE!” screamed your little heart, because you wanted to hold on to the sticky candy in each fist, or the raggedy ann doll, or the barbie…  this, i do still, when i make clear to my husband, to my Papa, that my wants and “needs” must be met, and now.  only what is truth?  that the harder i hold on to “mine,” the less happiness there is for the hoarding.  when i loosen my fists and offer my gifts, my love, my service, my heart, great joy abounds.  and it seems multiplied for the sharing.

 

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