The Anti-Love Story?

I chuckled when I discovered that my non-fiction book: “Lessons from the Trenches: Staying in a Difficult Marriage” did not make the cut in the Women of Faith/Westbow competition.

It looks like most of the finalists were romance. Yes, we all want romance. Who wants reality?

A few months back when I was working on the book, a bride-to-be and her mother were sitting down at a table next to me planning for a wedding. The irony of that struck me. She has stars in her eyes, dreams in her heart and confidence in the power of love that will sustain her till she is old and grey through whatever comes their way. It’s a dream we all buy into, isn’t it?

That’s why Disney has made so much money. Why my daughter loves to watch movies about Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid . . . we are raised from early on in the good ol’ US of A to believe that the pursuit of happiness means “happily ever after.”

And no one could tell us it’s a myth. Yet it’s as much a deception as the prosperity gospel that promises that God desires us all to be wealthy and healthy and anything less is an abomination to the faith.

Hosea was told to marry a prostitute and repeatedly take her back as an example to the Israel of how they were treating God. How Hosea’s heart must have been crushed over and over. Now maybe he was a less than stellar example of manhood. We really don’t know. But it had to be a blow to his pride to have his wife repeatedly seek her “entertainment” with other men.

Most women feel shamed and slighted even when a husband chooses to stimulate himself through pornography. It’s like they are not enough to hold his interest, to satisfy his needs. Actually it has nothing to do with that – but tell that to a woman’s hurting heart.

We women long to be the center of our husband’s love. After Jesus, we want to be important, secure, protected, cherished. And we crash inwardly when that is withheld from us for whatever reason.

The enemy is behind all these lies that we have bought into and we are gullible enough to keep pursuing the myth.

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.  I remember one where I got a dozen red roses. I still have the vase. It’s in my bathroom with silk roses. A mockery of the promise of vibrant love that turned plastic. The diamond I had been given one year, I ended up giving back. I then got it as a necklace, I was too hurt and afraid to wear. Last year due to our financially difficulties I finally sold it to help buy groceries. I put it to better use than sitting in a drawer where it had been for 20+ years, another reminder of pain and sorrow. I still have my wedding ring, although it too feels like a mockery of promises made and unkept.

So reality sucks, doesn’t it? When we have been hurt, abandoned, criticized, abused. . . Valentine’s Day doesn’t seem like a nice holiday. It mocks us and reminds us of our loss and maybe even brings us to grieve again those childhood dreams.

I’m still married in spite of all that. I’m walking in obedience to my Lord in the midst of my pain and struggle. My girlfriend said that my book is not an “un-romance” but rather a look at the most important romance of all – of me and my Jesus. The God who pursued me and gave me more than diamonds. He gave His life to redeem mine. That is true love and it is eternal and far more secure than what any human on earth can give.

So, this Valentine’s Day, I do wish you love and joy. But I pray that you ultimately are finding that in the arms of a Savior who desires you more than any human ever could. He will never leave or forsake you and He will walk with you through the pain of the other disappointments that this life dishes out. This world is not my home. Someday I will have all the hearts and flowers and a place to live beyond compare that my Lord is building for me – and for you.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Blessings

LGB

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Love in Action

I have not previously posted links to other blogs, but today is an exception: The simple wife.

The Simple WifeOn January 11, 2011, wife, mother and writer, Joanne, suffered a stroke. Her daughter found her. She spent time in a medically induced coma and is now coming out of it. This is certainly a tragic and difficult circumstance for her family. I am aware there are other people who are suffering horrific health issues: children with cancer, husbands who have lost their wives and children in car accidents and so much more horror and suffering that goes on in this world and that my heart grieves over when I read about them.

So what is so unique about this one? Why would I bring this blog and Joanne’s story to you? I share it, because I am so moved by the love and dedication of her husband, Toben. He has been blogging on her page about her progress and every time it brings me to tears to see a man so in love with his wife, even when she is totally incapable of doing anything to earn or deserve that love.

When I see love like this modeled by a human, fallible, man it does two things to me.

First, it reminds me of how far from that I am in my marriage. I grieve because I do not have that kind of love and dedication directed my way. It highlights my loss and I pray even more for this woman who right now has no clue how loved she is. She may suffer a brain injury, but in many ways she is much more blessed than I am, although some may question my own cognitive capabilities at times! (I do!)

Secondly, it highlights the beauty of love that is modeled on Christ’s example in Scripture. He loved us when we were unable to return that love. Grace, compassion, tenderness. God’s love reached through time to woo and win the hearts of those He created. Our sin put us in a coma, totally unable to see the depravity of our situation, and still, He came to nurture us and heal us and bring us to Himself. Toben, a mere man, exemplifies Christ in his actions and in his honest blogging as he tends to his wife and cares for his two daughters.

It is good to remember that there is such a thing as this kind of sacrificial love when some of us are so desperate for it. I may not have a human husband like this here on this earth, but I do know that God promises to meet us in our pain.“For the LORD has called you like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit, like a wife in youth when she is cast off.” (Isaiah 54:6 ESV).

Toben may never read this blog, and that’s fine. I still pray for him and his family and know that God is crediting His faithfulness to him. I am blessed to be someone Toben has touched as he does what God has called him to do, faithfully love his wife.

Blessings,

LGB