“Good morning.” He hesitated, but then bravely leaned in to kiss my cheek. I shrugged him off, still seething from an argument the night before.
“Leave me alone,” I hissed over the dishes I was washing. He backed away. “So we’re going to keep this fight going, huh?” He waited, but I offered nothing. I focused on the stream of water dividing around the cup in my hands.
Our five-year old daughter, eyes still swollen from sleep, wandered over to him, her arms raised. He scooped her up. She clung to his neck, melting into him like warm candle wax. He kissed the top of her head, carried her into the living room, and dropped her neatly on the couch beside her big brother. He gathered his wallet and car keys and left for work, letting the front door slam behind him.
I let out a long deflating breath. My throat felt bruised from holding it all in. I dried my hands, making my way into the living room to flip on the television, hoping to keep the kids occupied until I could gather myself.
Over the earlier weeks, my husband and I had argued over everything from financial burdens to the way he slurped his coffee. I felt voids everywhere, convinced he wasn’t living up to be the husband I thought I needed.
Some days I’d cry out to God in frustration, “Don’t you see how he is failing me? When are you going to fix him?”
In response, God would consistently shine the light back on me, convicting me to change. My soul would scream in protest.
But why me, God? What about him? I am in the right, not him!
Eventually I’d stopped taking my complaints to God. But then, that morning…
I watched my daughter scoot across the couch towards my son, digging her tiny body in as close to him as she could get. She leaned into him, laying her head on his shoulder and draping her arm over his chest. She exhaled a blissful sigh as she settled in. I felt myself smiling genuinely for the first time in days.
But I noticed how my son’s body stiffened. The day before he’d caught her in his bedroom, dismantling some of his most prized Lego creations. Still harboring bitterness over it, he looked down at her with annoyance. In one exaggerated move, he rose up, throwing himself on the other end of the couch. My daughter tried to steady herself as her head slipped off his shoulder and her body fell into the cushions. She sat up,confused looking after him. As the rejection slowly registered, her countenance crumbled. Her spirit seemed to collapse within her while my son stared indignantly at the television. I felt disappointed in my son’s inability to rise above what she’d done and extend her some grace. I was in anguish for my daughter. My entire being wanted to protect her, revive her sense of value and mend her bruised spirit. Then God unveiled His heart in the gentlest whisper.
This is how I feel when you treat Bill that way.
Suddenly my perspective shifted in a way that rocked me to my core. That simple revelation, at that specific moment, was the perfect antidote for the crusty shell encasing my heart. It cracked wide open and revealed the simple bottom line. It was as if God himself had turned my chin, saying,
Your husband is also my child. Put me first and all else will fall into place.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Matthew 22:37
Once I understood the significance of that verse, I was free to experience marriage the way God designed it. It must start with a genuine love for God. It’s the power source that melts hearts, crushes attitudes and administers deep compassion for one another. That’s why He must come first, above everything else. As partners in marriage, when we consider that God is our father but also our father-in-law, grace is abundant. Forgiveness is swift and easy. Now my husband is the runner-up, behind God, in the order of my heart and yet somehow, I love him more now, than I ever have before.
This month’s blog hop theme is Unleashing the Power to Rise Above.
Please visit http://www.hearts-at-home.org/ for more courageous stories of women rising above circumstances.