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Man Loving

They gave us a 13% chance. My Man and I were only about 20 years old at the time, and we sat side by side in a large convention center, listening as a husband/wife counseling duo spoke to us, a room full of “Adult Children of Divorced Parents”. Our parents’ marriages had recently disintegrated and according to the speakers, if both spouses in a marriage come from divorced families, you have a thirteen percent chance of your marriage lasting. A tough statistic for the both of us to swallow, considering we’d already been dating three years and had been planning on marrying. I’ve often wondered if our particular statistics are even slimmer, considering our families’ situations, but that is a story for another time, as it is a story that belongs to more than only me….


Thankfully, we have a God who created all science and therefore has more than enough power to defy it.


A year later, we sent out wedding invitations. Because as our invitations quoted:


Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.

Song of Solomon 8:7


Ours could not be quenched by outside forces.


But there have been plenty of times when I have quenched it. I, who need his love more than anything.


I quench it.


Most days, I allow the rivers of busyness, self-doubt, fear of vulnerability and just my plain old pride, wash over our marriage and we both struggle for air. Where I feel most safe, is often the very place where I suffocate the fresh breath of true, unrepressed love. And I am married to a gentleman in the true sense of the word. He does not push himself on me. He waits.


But when I’m taken by the hand and led outside myself, out of my hiding, and into the light of loving, letting go of my comfort and pretense and fear, I am only given more freedom, love, and confidence in return.


And as I’ve thought about Christmas and all I want to do for everyone to make the day “magical” . . . what I want to gift and cook and how I want to buy goats or something for a family in Africa (and those things are beautiful and

important) . . .


the tugging at my heart is for my husband.


Because the one closest to me is the one who often gets the leftover, worn-out scraps of me.


And is it not the same with Jesus? We hide from him, we try to keep Him appeased, we try to love Him in the way that is easy for us, but how can we best love Him who is the Truest Gentleman, our Heavenly Bridegroom? He does not push Himself on us. He is waiting too.


It may sound trite and it may sound like common sense, but how often I lose sight of it: I would venture to say that if you are married, and if marriage is truly a picture of Christ and His Bride (Eph. 5), then there is no greater picture of how we love the God-Man, than how we love the men by our sides. And isn’t it just like our you-must-lose-it-to-find-it-Jesus, who takes the sometimes seeming shackles of giving ourselves away, replacing them with life-abundant ties that bind?



Let me lose my life this Christmas.






I watch her eyes follow her big sister. The Dove observes the Firefly and everything comes earlier because she’s been watching. The talking, the crawling, the climbing, the walking all come before I’m ready and I’m unprepared for the surprise. At about 10 months, she begins playing dress up. She’s watched her big sister clothe herself in the costume gowns and necklaces, and Dove begins that early too. She brings a hat to her Daddy one evening, and indulging her, he places it on her head. She gives us a look of excited curiosity and crawls, quick as lightning, to the over-sized mirror in our hallway. She looks at her reflection and smiles, satisfied. My Man and I look at each other in nervous disbelief. 10 months old and she’s already doing this?! She’s been watching someone . . . and Firefly cannot possibly fathom her effect.

And you can learn a lot about a man by studying his beloved, can’t you? She is his reflection and sometimes his mirror, but you learn what he values and how he loves and things he won’t necessarily tell you himself.

And I wonder.

His bride is far from perfect and she is cleansed, but still being sanctified, so for this analogy, you have to ignore her dust-propensities . . . but what of her beauty? What does the earthly Bride tell us of the Heavenly Groom?

And I watch as Dove watches her sister. She tries to keep up with her and she tries to mimic her and she tries to learn of life from her . . . maybe she learns more from her big sister than she does from her parents?

Like Dove, I watch and learn. I learn from you, dear sisters.

I watch a young woman as she and her husband anguish in their infertility. They cling to the Life-Bringer and hope shimmers. They cling to each other and love is sown. I learn from my little sister.

I watch a friend struggle for unity with her husband as they seek God’s plan for their family. She waits. They find unity where least expected. I study this.

I watch a daughter of the King wrestle lies of being unlovable, abandoned and alone. She wields the sword of truth and she is a warrior. She teaches me.

I watch a woman of faith contend with her husband’s unfaithfulness. Within herself, she daily fights for her marriage, forgiving again and again the bleeding wounds to her soul. She illuminates. I watch her.

I learn from you, my sisters. I am just one in the cloud of witnesses, watching you run your race.

I toddle, arms outstretched.