Wednesday, September 21, 2011

On Being Attracted vs Being in Love

On Sunday we were discussing Jacob, who stole his brother's blessing and then ran into the desert to hide. His reverence to God is conditional, he brings chaos and jealous, adulterous baby-making to his unhappy wives ("What? You want me to just have sex with your servants? Gee, okay, if you insist..."). What a mess! As a husband and a servant of God, he's kind of a wuss. Jacob is not turning out to be a very attractive man in my opinion.

But still... God has a plan. Jacob's been blessed, and God is moving forward with it. As over-dramatic as his response seems, Jacob has an encounter with God and proclaims, "Surely, the Lord is in this place!" In the middle of nowhere, God meets this most undeserving man with grace and mercy.
These lives in the bible, they are all examples of the stuff we live too, and the stories all point to Jesus and the grace and mercy he gave to the undeserving.

And I'm realizing that I don't have to always be attracted to my husband. I just have to always be in love with my ever-faithful God. He has a plan, He's doing it. And the purpose, never forget, is for my story to point to Jesus, and the immeasurable grace and mercy he demonstrated to me (undeserving) on the cross.

So my marriage? Surely God is in this place. I just need to be looking for Him. what, exactly?

He calls me, excited at spending more time with one of "his guys", getting to share more of our story. "And it's encouraging people!" He is clearly smiling on the other end of the connection. Today, at this moment, he is having a good day.

But. I am not feeling encouraged. In fact, I am increasingly losing hope.

I am feeling the weight of a string of little betrayals, little slips, little character flaws coming to the surface. Lately, he has not been fighting like a warrior; in fact, he reminds me of a teenager who doesn't want to do his homework, whining and procrastinating and... failing the Test.

I'll be straight with you, it turns me off. Mighty warrior, fighting for God, fighting for me... now that's sexy! Lazy, acne-ridden teenager? Not so much.

My hope comes into question, then. Am I just a loony, hanging on to this? Should I be kicking myself in the rear for placing just a tiny bit of hope in having a husband who loves me and fights for me, who honors God and raises his children with intentionality and fervor? He seemed like he was on his way to maturity, one of the strongest men I know, to get this far. He has fought through so many obstacles....

But is it all just there, under the surface, like cancer cells, waiting to spring up and kill us off? How much of remission is his will to survive, and how much is still generations of sin, hidden, clinging on?

What am I hoping for, anyway?
Am I hoping that he will grow into a husband who loves me and our kids with his subservience to God?
Am I hoping that we just somehow stop passing on the majority (if not all) the psycho strongholds we brought into marriage?
Am I hoping that I will manage to honor my Father God with my own heart's intentions, whatever may come of my husband? That's a hard one...because how do you explain it to the kids: all the subtle ramifications of his sin that affect their lives: lost jobs, parents not being on the same page, his subtle isolation from them and from mommy. When they ask the questions and I know the answer, and I have to do something I rarely do: not trust them with the truth. What about all that?
We lay our hope, full and tender, into the depths of Him and wait in hope for God to resurrect something good. Good always necessitates long waiting. --Ann Voskamp

I have to teach them that God is trustworthy. That we can wait in hope for God because he is doing a good thing...we just have to wait. Maybe even generations. They might have to wait too, not ever seeing what we all want to see: Daddy choose God and Mommy over medicating his discomfort. Daddy finding his identity in God, trusting the process, fighting through pain like a warrior who has a legacy to protect, a King to serve!

I don't know how I'll explain those awkward, painful things. I have to hope that God will meet me in those moments too. I have to hope that God is resurrecting something good in me, and consequently, in my children. Not only in spite of my addict husband, but--I'll admit it--in spite