Sara and her husband, Nate, are approaching a decade of marriage. They have two children and are adopting two more from Uganda. She writes regularly about their adoptions, the Father’s love, prayer, and perseverance through pain at Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet.
My words hurled, like paint splattered on canvas, staining our surroundings, damaging his person. I walked carelessly through his heart, aware mostly – only – of my own hurt. Self-drunk, reaching for just one more drink.
What sprung up from my mouth was only a portion of what stewed within. Years of hurt, whose origin pre-dated my husband, nothing especially out of the ordinary – sin’s impact which infects us all – found an extra-ordinary expression.
I was wounded, inflicting wounds even to my God-given safe place.
He absorbed them, yet he still held me, tender. A first sign of grace, engaging me at my worst. God’s steward of my heart wore his role. He wrapped his arms around my hollow self and whispered beauty to my barrenness.
Photo courtesy of Lucy O Photography
I wish this was one incident, one lapse I could refer back to as a single dark moment in my newlywed bliss. But my critical eye became my pet demon. Sometimes its loud expression was a cacophony in our home, but, most times, it was a subtle dissatisfaction; no watchman for my eye-gate, and my heart grew sour.
Change him, Lord, I professed in my secret prayers. Eve’s apple was my feast and I joined the ranks of the women of ages whose secret discontent was the log-jam in their vision and the demise of what could have been so stunning. Liberal with intercession for his heart change, I was penny-wise in the awareness of my heart-needing-change.
I made a case against him.
But here’s what I discovered: the issue wasn’t our marriage and the issue wasn’t my lack of self-control — the issue was my heart-stance before God. He knew me as bride, and I painted Him as Master. And only a true brush with kindness would lead to life-repentance.
He dispensed grace in stages, in a way only the One who is Mercy can do. God’s love is patient. And the greatest dispensation came when I prayed words He put in me, back to Him. Let me see Nate with your eyes. Ordinary prayer ruptured my normal.
And like a watershed, He responded. One night, just days after this prayer, we came off of an ill-handled conflict and my husband poured out his fears and weaknesses. Suddenly, I saw.
Grace falling out of blue sky onto long-dry soil. And I drank.
For one of the first times in my life, I tasted beauty. The way my Father saw my husband was spectacular. And the kindness of His revelation brought a watering of repentance from within me.
My eyes were opened. Crystal clear, I saw this man who was the prized subject of God’s first-ever whisper into my spirit. “You will marry Nate” on that fall day that felt like summer was a promise that I stuffed in my pocket — to later call a curse, when I had no one else to blame for my sin-stained self.
And when I asked for His eyes for this man, He advanced promise and I wept relief.
We spent hours talking. Me, practicing words my heart had not known before and him receiving healing balm. He applied grace to my deep regret, I spoke grace to the insides I had broken … and we both received a new revelation of the Father who keeps His promises.
As time has unfolded since that one-day prayer, me stumbling through speaking life through a tongue that’s been trained by years of speaking death, I’ve watched our story unfold to a testimony.
The man who once built walls against my input (because why would he not after my expression’s “free” speech?) has made me his secret confidante. Our house is becoming the table of counsel, hearing from God, hearing from each other, adventuring life. My early-marriage prayers for change in him were not entirely unfounded, just skewed. Jesus’ grace washed over me and finally gave hunger to remove the log. And to finally see clearly. This man, as God has made him, but ultimately God, as He really is.
A promise-keeper. Not only washing over sin, but promising redemption of every fallen place.
And I live healing. And breathe believing for every single one of my broken places.
I first fell in love with the art that is Sara’s words when she submitted a guest post to MODsquad. Since then, she has graciously agreed to be a monthly contributor. I love her story, and I’m praying for her 2 not yet home children to make their way to her and Nate’s arms soon! Won’t you join me, in doing the same? Be sure to visit her newly designed beautiful blog. Do yourself a favor and subscribe while your there. Thanks Sara for sharing Grace with us today!