Well it seems I’m back in the good old blogging seat. My chair may have changed. The computer I use. The country I sit in. And even my last name. But one thing is for sure…I will always write.
And this time, as a newlywed, can you guess what drove me back to this good ol’ well used seat? It might not be what you would expect the first post from a new wife to be….or maybe, it might be exactly what you thought it would be.
In a handful of words, I’m typing these words as a direct result of;
An unbelievable God-given love
And two ‘overwhelmingly human’ humans
As a newlywed, living a VERY brand new life, I don’t have much by the way of insight to offer the world. I am pretty much consistently overwhelmed by emotions. Often times its excitement, or awe, or intrigue or an incredible amount of happiness…I did move from a small town in rural Canada to a city in the United States, change my name and my marital status, start a new job, and move in my best friend, after all. I DID marry the greatest man I could have ever chosen for myself, a strong, supportive, patient and loving man who loves me in ways I could never ask him to, who’s main objective in life is to love God and to share His love with as many people as possible. A man who just last night preached a message about LOVING people with a Christ-centered, God-given love, to a room full of teenagers.
God has been good to me, and there isn’t a day that I don’t stand in awe of the not-so-small mountains that He has demolished in my life in response to my often smaller than a mustard seed faith. Micah and I live a blessed life.
But I am also overwhelmed by pain, and confusion, and heartache. Its hard to admit that. But I am miles from anything familiar. Living with my best friend, whom I have known for years, but barely had an opportunity to spend a couple months in person with, before we were married. My new husband is in school and ministry and we are consistently trying to find a good way to balance all of the things that make up this life. I am adjusting to being half of a unified couple rather than a stubbornly independent single, a new job, a new lifestyle, stumbling through making new friendships and missing so many older well established ones. I’m still fighting with finding the easiest and most affordable way to communicate with my family. And I really miss my family. I’m homesick, and anxious, and feel oh so lost.
Its not secret to me that Micah and I have signed ourselves up for a bumpy ride. We knew what we were getting into. We knew that it wouldn’t be easy and that it would take an unshakable faith and consistently dropping to our knees in prayer. We knew that we were stepping into something that would be beautiful. Something that would humble us and shape us and that God could use to break us down in order to build us up better in His image. We knew that we are two stubbornly, selfishly human people.
But knowing something and experiencing something are two very different things.
Our first month of marriage has been a wild ride. We’ve made a lot of adjustments, we’ve done a lot of things (our wedding, our honeymoon, two other weddings, a staff retreat, youth group starting, school starting, work starting), we’ve laughed a lot and loved a lot, and basked in our newlywed bliss barely batting an eyelash when people noticed. We’ve fallen more and more in love with each other.
And our emotions, mine especially, run very high. We’ve hurt each other and disagreed and bickered and argued and yelled and cried and walked away from each other.
That’s how we started our day.
All out, overwhelming, human emotion thrown at each other like monkeys haphazardly throwing poop. Today. Twenty minutes before we had to walk out the door.
Wednesdays are long. We sleep less, because we spent the evening hanging out with a bunch of awesome teens at youth group the night before, and get up at 6 the next morning. He drops me off at work at 730, and heads to school for 8. We will both be working on various things until we see each other again at 5. For this reason, we chose Wednesday to be our date night as well. It is the one day of the week that we feel we MOST need to connect with each other because its the day we see each other the least and can also be the most stressful day for each of us. I think its safe to say that arguing is not the best way to start the longest day of our week.
But here is another truth that many of us KNOW, but don’t always recognize the weight of the experience until we’re too deep in it to gracefully climb our way out…
The enemy will play at our weaknesses the most when we are at our weakest.
If there is a day that Micah and I are most likely to argue, its Wednesday. We are tired and preoccupied. Feeling distant and likely overwhelmed by the tasks we have at hand. We know this. And yet, it seems, there is always a point in the day when one of us (admittedly, me) lets our humanness overrule the Spirit in our marriage.
If I could tell you anything about arguing it would be this. Its not something new or profound or barrier breaking. Its simple. Its probably been said 1000 times before. But its true.
It is incredibly difficult to get past your own selfishness, your own brokenness, your own humanness and let the Spirit break through in a situation AFTER you have started arguing.
There is a certain point you pass emotionally, no matter how much you know about love, patience, and communication, where you just simply want to be heard. You have little interest in listening or understanding or caring.
You want to be right.
Its not impossible to slow your roll and get a hold of yourself once you’re here, but often, its too late. You’ve already raised your voice, slammed something on the table, spit words you didn’t really mean to say or didn’t even really feel. You’ve passed the point of being hurt, and have started fighting tooth and nail to be right because to go back now would mean that you would have to humbly, and sheepishly, with all the embarrassment in the world, recognize and admit that even if you were right in the first place…the way you responded and the words you’ve said and the things you are doing … are wrong. No matter what right or wrong or indifferent fact or opinion you stumbled over in the beginning, no matter the offense or the disagreement … past a certain point you are no longer fighting about that little thing, you are fighting to preserve your own pride, your own “rights”, your own voice. You are fighting from a place of self-preservation.
Pride. Embarrassment. Self-preservation. Raised voices. Selfish words.
When you picture a unified couple, two people in love, working and loving and serving together, do you envision these behaviors? Does this sound like the famous love chapter in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13? Listen to this…
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It always protects. Always trusts.
My conversation with my husband this morning turned into a self-seeking, angry, embarrassing display. It was not patient or kind or loving or trusting. It was painful to be a part of and is painful think about. I don’t want to be that person. I don’t want to force him to be that person. We both let the enemy play at our weaknesses, to remind us how tired we were, to emphasize the wrong parts of the wrong sentences. We set aside the Spirit this morning, and let the enemy win over our conversation.
But he will never win over our hearts or our marriage or our mission; because those things belong to Jesus and while our minds may have been in other places this morning … our marriage is saturated and will continue to be saturated in the greatest love there is. God’s love for us, our love for Him, and the great love He has formed in us for each other.
All of my own self-seeking, all of my pride, all of my stubbornness and selfishness broke in a single moment this morning. It wasn’t when I miraculously seen the light, or when I proved I was in fact right, or when Micah gave over in a moment of frustration. It wasn’t when I forced Micah to start fighting back, trying to protect himself and his point of view.
My tough exterior broke when his voice cracked and I could hear how much I was hurting him. In a split second every bit of anger and frustration and humanness in me broke and I was overwhelmed with God’s aching heart for my husband. I could see him through the lens of the One who IS love, and I couldn’t believe that it was ME who had driven him to such a desperate and aching place.
All I wanted to do wrap my arms around him, comfort him and make the hurt stop.
Was making my point really worth more than protecting his heart?
In the midst of all of the chaos, the Spirit broke through my selfish exterior and opened my eyes. I was no less embarrassed, or frustrated, or even truly angry, but in the midst of all of that God broke my heart and revealed to me the spirit of true love.
With ten minutes to spare, God rushed in and filled the last of our morning together with gentle words of explanation and now, as we are separated for the day, is no doubt working each of our hearts. Kneading them like dough, pressing out the hot air, and pressing in His sweet revelation. Calling to mind the dark things we gave into this morning, reminding us that we are better, giving us words of apology and affirmation for each other, saturating us with a love neither of us deserves but so long for.
Even though I am aching right now, even though I sit here embarrassed and feeling incredibly foolish, I am reminded that I’ll hear my husbands voice after his first class today. I am reminded that this morning was not my last opportunity to love him well. I am reminded that tonight I get to pull him close again. That God has gifted us with the ability to forgive and to reconcile, and that while it will take us sacrificing some of our humanness, we can model God’s love by doing exactly what He has done for us.
Sacrifice. Forgive. Reconcile.
And something tells me, by the way 1 Corinthians 13:7 ends, this will be a process we’ll be repeating for a lifetime…
True love always protects. Always trusts. Always hopes.