Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Marriage, Part 3!

I had every intention of not writing another post on marriage, then while getting ready this afternoon (yes, I "get ready" mid-day, so if you see me before 3ish do not alarmed if I'm sporting some rockin unbrushed hair atop my head, little to no makeup and my mommy "high heels" ah-hum, sketchers shape ups...yes I have had them for a year, they look fairly ridiculous, and no, I still don't know if they work.) God really spoke to me.

I am reading Lysa Terkeurst's book, Made to Crave...excellent.  The tag line on the front says "Satisfying your deepest desire with God, not food".  Truly, there is more truth in this funny, insightful book than I could summarize for you- so read it if you are able. 

Anyhow, she is bringing up the "it's not fair!" thing that we all struggle with at one time or another.  She expresses a good one you may be familiar with...Why can my size 2 friend eat a cake in it's entirety and I can't, God?!  Then cites a brilliant answer from a friend of hers, E. Titus, who says, (And don't miss this dear friend!!)

"I remind myself that God didn't make me to be her.  You see, He knew even before I was born that I could easily allow food to be an idol in my life, that I would go to food, instead of Him, to fill my needs.  And in His great wisdom, He created my body so that it would experience the consequences of such a choice, so that I would be continually drawn back into His arms."


Ok, then.  This is a marriage post.  So there I was getting ready for the day at 3ish, disgruntled about something going on between me and my husband.  It is this point of tension in our marriage- and it has been there since the "beginning".  You know what I mean sister...you have that area with yours too. The area that no matter how many times you address it, pray through it, bring encouragement in all the worst and wrong...and even Godly and "right" ways...maybe not much has changed between the two of you in said area.

Oh my, have I asked God to change me, to remove the longing that sometimes aches for Wes to be and do the things that I am wishing for...after all- God you created me this way...right? 

Lemme just say, I am convinced I married the best man I have ever met.  I could go on and on, but I will spare you the gush of how awesome I think my man is.  But, let's face it, we are all human, I fail him.  He fails me too.  (Sounds so easy in those terms, doesn't it?!)
So back to the quote in Lysa's book.  Whoa, did God ever use that today to speak to me about my husband. Allow me to take the quote above and insert my hubby-issue (we will call it "issue X" to protect and honor my main man) in exchange for food:

"I remind myself that God made me to go with Wes.  You see, He knew even before I was born that I could easily allow "issue X" to be an idol in my life, that I would go to Wes, instead of Him, to fill my needs.  And in His great wisdom, He gave me my husband so that I would experience a few withdrawals of "issue X", so that I would be continually drawn back into His arms."

Are you like me?  What is the X-factor in your marriage (money? romance? leadership?) that God in His divine providence, allowed to be placed (or lacking) in your mate, to draw you closer to HIM?    I can almost assure you that there is something you long for in your mate- that is unperfected, as there is in all of us

Has it ever occurred to you that God has a purpose in the lack?  And, that His purpose in it may have more to do with propelling me and you in to a deeper relationship with Christ, rather than changing our spouses?  Let me be sure to communicate: The goal is not to lose the longing in our hearts, but to cast down the idol.

You see, this is not about Wes.  This is about Catherine and Jesus.  I know this may seem a familiar tune-but be encouraged as we hear it anew today...this is not so much a "change me, not him Lord!" message (which is good, noble and true and needs expressed) but an invitation to take a look at the idols in our hearts that we beg our mates to feed when our God is the only true Bread.

Could it be, friends, that God is continually concerned with our ever-fickle hearts and positioning things in our world to cause us to line up with Psalm 73:25, "Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you."... instead of trying to "fix" all we see as "broken" around us...

Let me know your thoughts and what God may show you!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Funky Times of Marriage Part 2

Please excuse the lengthy intermission...life, pregnancy, winter sickness and travel have made for quite the time crunch lately.  Did I mention we found out we are having a BOY?!  All praise to God for a healthy baby boy on the way!!

Anyhow, speaking of winter sickness and the funky times of life...

Wes and I recently traveled to Colorado for a conference where we got sick, sick, sick.  On the plane ride out there, we stayed on the same aircraft for 2 of the flights...where we got to observe something quite telling go down.

In the row in front of us, there was a guy sitting next to the window and one in the aisle seat, with no one in between them for the first leg of the flight.  Not much going on for the two fellas, a little "ginger ale please", "I'll pass on the peanuts" and "please return your seats to their full and upright position" was the extent of their interaction to the world outside row 5.


She arrived.  When the plane stopped for a short layover in Tulsa, a cute blond got on and sat right in between our quiet guys in row 5.  Wes started feeling sick almost immediately (we later found out it was distinctly a rough G.I. bug, but still very timely). 

These guys went from silent types to winner and runner-up in the biggest and best "One-Upper" contest I have yet to witness.  You know what I'm talking about people...window guy mentions he is going skiing at a friend's place right on the slopes; aisle guy mentions he owns a place on the very same slope.  Window guy has his own business; aisle guy buys and sells businesses.  It went on and on and on, I kid you not, for the entire 1 hour and 40 minute flight.  Honestly.

The whole scene brought lots of eye rolling to Wes and I, as his stomach got sicker and sicker.  But seriously, on a another level the "look at me show" brought a real insight into the heart of a man.  It was clear: they longed to be heroic to someone, to be the best to someone, to capture someone's awe...and they would fight for it if they had to.

Isn't that so true about our husbands ladies?  In a life full of the daily grind ho-hum, there is something in deep in the heart of our men that longs for us to notice. To notice the work they put in at work, yes the boss sees, but when is the last time we thanked our hubbys for providing for us, drawing out their concerns, or celebrating and aweing at their accomplishments...no matter how large or how small?

I love Proverbs 20:5, "The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out." 

May I paraphrase the verse this way:  "The purposes in our husbands' hearts are deep waters, a wife of keen study, care, understanding and with God's help, draws out his depth."

Wes mentioned to me recently a friend who said "I just don't think I am very deep," ...devastating, we both thought.  Of course our guys have depth, God created them so.  And God has given us a unique place to draw them out within marriage, and a unique desire on the part of our husbands to be drawn out by us.

One my biggest struggles I have HAD to overcome is learning to listen.  I can talk, advise, fix somebody all day (hey, I am a blogger...right?) but learning to listen is an art I am still trying to master. Check out Proverbs 18:2 "A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions."

So to paraphrase the opposite, "A lady of wisdom finds great pleasure in understanding a situation, and would share opinions with caution and discernment."

Lord help me.

Can I be honest?  Most days when Wes comes home I want to hand over charge of Alice and dinner and do a flying leap into the bathtub, all while verbally dumping on him all that went wrong in my day. 

Then I hear Prov. 18:2 in my spirit, I get a gentle reminder that Wes has had a lot go on for him that day too... and God has given him me (yes, he is stuck) to be the person to draw him out and notice.  I certainly don't want him floundering on a plane, or in his heart becoming shut down....because I haven't taken the time to notice him.

This is part of laying down our lives, ladies.  Sure, we have a TON going too, but that's another post, and this one is getting us in better shape for our guys.

Interestingly enough, our two guys on the plane were both married.  They both talked about their wives and families.  It wasn't that they were looking for love, for cheating necessarily....but they were looking, aching, begging for someone to notice.