Since publishing When We Open Not Our Mouths yesterday I have felt strongly compelled to elaborate on the story. In an attempt to be faithful to the urge that I cannot deny, here I am.
Last week while perusing a new blog I read this:
“If you want to draw closer to Father God,” writes Gordon Dalby, “get to know Jesus.”
But, he warns, “sooner or later this path leads to the cross, which means death to your natural desires. You’ll have to give up all hope of ever receiving the love you need from another human being. This means sacrificing at last the idols you’ve made of your ‘loved ones,’ and releasing those persons and those relationships to the Father for his cleansing and renewal.”
It grabbed me instantly, for I know it is true. I know that the path leads to the cross. I know that means death to my natural desires. And if I could rightly express the idol I have made of my husband to be to me what my earthly father couldn’t (to demand him be what I thought I needed him to be) and what I never knew my Heavenly Father could or even wanted to be for me, yesterday’s post would become clear as a bell.
His disrespect wasn’t intentional. By no means do I intend to portray my husband as unloving, I have spent my roughest years dragging him through the mud in order to keep my own unacceptable activities murky and invisible. What was on display during this conversation between him and I was empowered by the old creation, and no one can deem that powerless but God in Christ. Not even a wife who has always needed to stand her ground because everyone around her needs to know exactly how she feels so they can do better (she writes as she lets out a long, deep guttural groan).
Truth be told, and this is deeply personal, I have struggled greatly with how to function and maneuver within this marriage since I surrendered to Christ in 2007 after decades of running (I ‘accepted’ Jesus into my heart at a young age). On a large scale and within the confines of the Christian circles I have been privy to, the most important matter is that I needed to be in church. The battle that has raged within me over this very topic is a long and sordid tale, and one that ultimately only God can know the depths of. I have wrestled with it and been told point blank that’s what I needed above all else: be in church. Somewhere inside of me and often without the proper language I wondered what would happen to my marriage if I went to church, not that I wanted to. Now, please hear this: I am not talking about a walk with Christ and what that would do to my marriage. Church, to me, and to many I have communicated with, would serve to alienate me from my ‘unsaved’ husband. It’s like a lifestyle unto itself and those on the outside just need to be inside; those on the inside need to work at getting the outsiders in. And I know that I know that I know my husband would have none of it, to the same degree that I wouldn’t. Something else altogether better but not without its challenging death to self needed to take place. I. Had. No. Idea!
Almost one year ago (February 25, 2015) amidst the most horrific of conversations with someone very close to me regarding this very thing: my ‘unsaved’ husband, my lack of church attendance, etc. came a life trajectory changing Voice that has stilled the very choppy and most unstable waters of my soul. I was a rebel without a cause and I was damn proud of it. Brothers and sisters, I write to you today a kept woman; kept by the Maker of the Stars. More truth be told, there is no one more stunned by all of this than I am.
So as I opened not my mouth in what my old creation would view as weak and mousy, because my old creation was large and overbearing and pushy, as the flesh often is, I have come instead to see the power, the miracle, the love of it. Allowing God in Christ to be put on display rather than ME. All things considered, even the random creative idea that turned out to be more expensive than it was worth, lose their luster in light of what is really happening under the surface. So be it.