It was just there one day, that scar. It must have been there for years, and somehow I had missed it. How could I have missed something like that? It wasn’t even small. I mean for 21 years of story after story….21 years of bodies intertwined and tangled up in dark, in light…in sickness and in health.. In ugliness and beauty…..in time-stopped wonder and racing the minutes…. this scar had been exposed to my eyes again and again and somehow I had missed it. It wasn’t even in a strange place or a hidden spot. Did I mistake it for a crease? After all, it was right there where the knee bends and skin folds. I studied it for awhile in silence. Silence except for the songs in the woods. My best friend and I had decided to spend a cherished afternoon together in our favorite place. We had to fight for that afternoon. The morning had started off normal and right as we had attended worship services together. My favorite psalm was preached. And afterward, we had the afternoon to ourselves. The rain bird and the musician (our two adult children still at home) were both gone! The afternoon was ours. Can you believe we began to get irritated with one another over where to eat lunch? We almost lost the fight, but I was determined to enjoy the gift of my husband and his company on a nothing -Sunday afternoon. Sunday’s are for nothing…I say. I mean except worship and rest. The rest is just that “nothing.” Glorious, rest-filled nothing. Enjoying to its fullest a sabbath intended to restore one and refresh a tired mind and body in preparation for a week’s work. And I couldn’t wait to do nothing with this cherished friend of mine. His heart knitted to mine. A love betrothed and sin-stained from the start, somehow redeemed and set in motion by the God who hangs stars and commands the morning. A covenant God was keeping these last 21 years for us. I don’t think either one of us take credit. We have simply been bathed in grace, and scrubbed in mercy. And that’s where I saw it, right in the middle of nothing. Every scar tells a story….I wanted to hear it. Us writers, well we love stories. We crave meaningful conversations that dig a little deeper into a soul. Stories that prick and spill a little blood…its worth the stain, if I can’t get it off or out of my heart. The stories that give us insight into how you ever got here…ya know this place where you love what you love, crave what you crave, hate what you hate, do what you do…say what you say- Why you put words to carefully reflected on thoughts or have after-thoughts to words recklessly spoken… Words that budged in front of the quiet Voice without sound and trampled down a soul. If you can’t share with me the deep hidden “who,” instead of the surface “what” I think I see, well, I’m probably not interested. So I ask, and then I write.
“Is that a scar?” I said. A little embarrassed to have finally noticed after 21 years. He traced my brown-eyed line of sight to his knee. “Yeah.” “How did it happen?” “I wiped out on the scooter when I was a teenager. It could have been the time I was severely drunk.” He said with a chuckle. I know a lot about my husband’s heart and I ache to know more. We sat again in silence. Sweet soul -swaddling silence. And the silence made words float in and out of my head. Words like “scar” and the words I previously wrote about, “the heart of her husband…” And somehow they go together. If I had missed this visible scar all of these years, surely I had missed the “invisible” scars of my husband’s heart. It’s possible I was responsible for some of those scars, more than possible, I can guarantee you I’m guilty. And could it just be that since I was called to help my husband in a way that his heart trusts in me, that I had more work to do? I’m not talking about trying to dig into your husband’s mind and heart and annoy him to death. I am talking about digging into the word of God in order that you might unearth the wisdom into what God has called you to when it comes to your husband’s heart.
Last we met, we talked about the parallel of Titus 2:4-5 and Proverbs 31:11. The older women are to teach the younger women to love their husbands and how the heart of her husband trusts in her. Let’s pick up with the same two instructions a couple words further. The text says “the heart of her husband trusts in her and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.” (Proverbs 31:11-12). So here we are…still learning about our husband’s heart and what and how loving them with an affectionate love helps us burrow into that red pulsating seat of emotions, where courage to lead is either strengthened and built upon or torn down by our own hands (see Proverbs 14: 1). A place that can either harbor a safe shelter of understanding towards us, or run from finding a resolution to conflict. A lump of beating red able to store away sweet memories or avoid even making a memory because memories aren’t safe… too many scars. How do we handle our husband’s hearts with the gentlest of care and the tenderest of touch with our affectionate love in order to create a sanctuary of trust and safety? You see the next word “trust” means just that, “to feel safe, secure, confident and bold, careless, to hope.” Thayer’s Greek Lexicon puts it this way, “to confide in anyone, to set ones hope and confidence upon.” Surely, this sounds like a huge responsibility for us. After all, they are the ones instructed to lead us, right? Yes, but what a privilege to be given the responsibility to help our husband’s lead with courage, boldness and confidence! And what a sweet gift we are given when we lay open bare our own hearts inviting our husband’s in where he feels safe enough to confide his deepest fears and longings…and how even more glorious when we have practiced confession of sin to our husband’s in such a way that they feel safe enough to trust us with their own confession of sin. This is possible. But we need to return to the ancient paths I wrote about in my blog titled, “I Want To Teach You To Sink” and “Order in The Garden.” Listen to the next verse in Proverbs 31:12, ” she does him good and not evil, all the days of her life…” ALL THE DAYS OF HER LIFE! This woman, who fears the Lord, is first looking out for her husband before herself, before her children, before her work, before her household duties, before her ministry. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. OF HER LIFE. The two scriptures I am blogging about put in order our precious and sacred responsibility under the authority of a Holy God. Our responsibility is first to fear the Lord, and then to do good to our husbands all the days of our lives in such a way that their fragile hearts may go forth in confidence having no lack of gain. What is gain? It is defined in the Hebrew as plunder or booty, as the goods obtained from war. Now, I could go into how marriage is war….and it can be sometimes, but I don’t believe that is the context here. The context actually means that he is blessed. Literally with “his life as booty” that he is “preserved alive.” Now I am not a fan of modern day psychology even though I graduated with a degree in it, but some of what I learned was sincerely valuable. Like when I took a class on gender and one of the studies researched on women who stay home verses women who work revealed that men who have stay at home wives tend to live healthier and longer lives, then men who are married to women who work. I found this fascinating, but really it’s simple. The men who had stay at home wives were more focused on their husbands needs, more focused on caring for their husbands, mind, body and soul. They realized their main job and priority was to invest in their husband and studies proved their husbands were blessed with longer lives as a result of it.
Oh sweet woman of God, dear beloved daughter, this is not to incite within you bitterness and resentment towards caring for your husband. When we return to the ancient paths God has called us to, something soul-satisfyingly sweet happens within this earthly covenant love. Would you join me in traveling that ancient path and becoming a student of our husband’s hearts? I promise you when you walk that path in search of God’s heart…messed up marriages begin to make sense even amidst the mess, and as you peer into your husband’s heart, may you see a reflection of your own heart, your own scars that need to be exposed and seen in order that you can run to the One who bled for these two hearts…. that they, together, may breathe fresh life with every beat of their brokenness glorifying Christ and reflecting to this broken world an all consuming, relentlessly pursuing, ever-chasing Invisible Love?
Next time we meet, I hope to give some practical suggestions and insight gleaned from this search…this 21 year, swimming in grace, reclining on Christ, being scrubbed down with grace at the cross, life.
Consumed in His love, no really…swaddled and wrapped and held,