Once upon a time there was a boy who held Love in his arms and dared to dream of happily-ever-after. Love insisted she had been named wrong. She knew pursuing life together, two becoming one, often looked more like hard-knotted suture lines in puckered flesh after surgery. Her’s wasn’t a soft, red-rounded heart tied with thin satin ribbons. It had been snipped at, punctured and left to bleed-out when she’d gathered it up and promised to guard it better through the rest of her life. No, Love knew the kind of stitching needed in marriage required lines and knots that would hold her heart together when life tried to tear at it. So she told the boy getting to know her wasn’t worth it. All she could see were frayed heart edges, worn spots and patches and thought herself too soiled to fashion a wedding gown from.
“Don’t ever get married. It’s not worth it.”
But the boy knew something that words could not name. He had recognized it in the rhythmic beating of his heart as he stared at Love. Human hearts are woven together by Holy Hands, strand by strand pulled from a Father’s own heart and pieced in such a way as to carry the promise of full restoration when returned to Him. But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. The boy wrapped Love in his arms and whispered an eternal promise into her hair, sealed with a kiss on her crown.
“Love is always worth it when you find the right one to love.”
I tuck love lines in the zippered pockets of my Bible. The Great Love Story has seams I can run my fingers across, evidence of the piecing together of my heart to Ken’s. And where your treasure is there too shall be your heart.
My Dearest Tobi, I’ve never been part of a more wonderful love affair than the one I’m having with you and my Lord. I’ve been blessed this weekend and I’ve filled my time apart from you with our children, service to your Emmaus Walk, and personal time with Jesus.”
“There are many reasons I admire you and work to emulate you, but my favorites are your walk with God, your never wavering devotion to your family, and your strength of character.”
“You are one of the Lord’s favorite tools and He is using you in a mighty way!”
Real marriage is tied together with tight stitches and knots. The places that bear the most tension and wear are often double-stitched, and the wise couple will check frequently for evidence of split threads or openings in the seam. Like the wedding ring quilt spread over the marriage bed, Love and her husband make time to trace the beautiful pattern of their lives sewn together. The handiwork of the Master Weaver on display.
Marriage is the beautiful work, one in which you are given design rights for the finished pattern. There are only two stitches used, your choices and your responses.
I try to choose an honoring spirit towards my husband. I want him to like how he feels when he’s around me. I want him to walk up on my conversations and hear me praising him. I choose for him to see a champion and a hero when he sees his reflection in my eyes. He’s far from perfect. But I opened my heart to him years ago and trust him with my deepest needs. And he has proven faithful to his promise, that to his harm he will put me first.
I try to react with trust. Trust that his motivation is to cultivate my full potential in Christ. That his desire is to protect me from the elements and walk beside me to maturity. I take every opportunity I can to show him I believe in him and that he’s a good man. My plan is to keep on winning cheerleader competitions. I know he becomes the man of my dreams in an attitude of honor.
My husband needs an honoring wife. And I need a sacrificial husband.
There are sutured lines in marriage. And soft, worn places. Thankful places of new, bright fabric, and familiar patterns that never seem to fade. But in all things until the end of my days, there is the covering above my marriage bed. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8
Once upon a time there was a boy who held Love in his arms and dared to dream of happily-ever-after. Thank you, Husband, for holding me tenderly in your arms and allowing the Father to teach me Love is my perfect name. What a privilege this beautiful work is with you.
Happy Valentine’s Day 2014.