Friday, May 29, 2015

To: Benjamin Alan

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” ...So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:18; 21-25 ESV)
Image result for treasure chest

A girl's heart is a treasure chest filled with quick, yet definitive scribblings of her dreams. In that treasure chest you will find the map of her imagined future life. 
You will see how she had written her fears, then crossed out those fears with vengeance, putting in their stead a living tree of courage and hope.  
You will see delineations of all her wishes and all her values: her own grown, caring, able hands holding little hands that depend on her; trips to foreign lands; horses running wildly through the vast sward; strong arms that hold her at the end of an arduous day.
Image result for scroll with writing

Every girl thinks she knows about love. Sewn into every parchment and scroll is an omnipresent love story; it has no beginning and no end, and it goes before and follows after each and every treasure in her heart.

I thought I knew love between a man and woman. I have held many a treasure and gazed at my own musings of romantic love.

But I didn't know. 
Not until I married Ben.
He loves like Jesus loves.

Ben sacrifices with his love. I'm not talking about sacrificing things or experiences, though he has given up some (*ahem - many*) of those. 
I'm talking about sacrificing a good mood because I've had a bad day and subconsciously decide he is my next victim (I don't mean to!). 
I'm talking about sacrificing the ecstasy of falling on the couch when arriving home because he knows I need his attention. 
I'm talking about sacrificing his treasures in his own heart, and trading them for ones that include me. Because he loves me.

Ben does not look at outward appearances only. He sees my heart. He knows that the wicked things I do are because of sin in this fallen world, not because of my identity. He believes in all of the good, and he disregards all of the bad, not keeping a record of wrongs. This alone astounds me daily. 
Like Eve in the Garden, I feel no reason to be ashamed of body or soul. The complete acceptance I feel from Ben is that strong - a broken, self-conscious girl like me can be free from the shame I've struggled with in my deepest levels.
Just as I feel when I think about Jesus on the cross, I know I don't deserve such grace.

Ben shows the greatest love as Jesus described - "to lay down one's life for a friend." As Ben's wife, I am his forever friend. And every day, he lays down pieces of his life for me. He dies to himself so that our marriage can blossom. He allows himself to be pruned by God, even when everything within him wants to remain complacent.
Because he loves the Lord, me, our marriage, our kids.

I thought I knew love.
But now the treasure chest in my heart is overflowing.
How am I so blessed to live every day being able to hold the hand of such a loving man, knowing that I don't deserve this?
I count it as God's favor upon me. We can never explain or understand why God favors us, His children, but He does show us favor.

If ever I doubt that God is watching out for me, I need only look to my side - at the man He gave me for a husband. The Lord is gracious in His giving. I will sing this until my last breath.

Benjamin Alan, on your birthday, I wish to give you a gift, but there is nothing I could produce, no words uttered from my lips, no material object extravagant enough to help me say how grateful I am that you are alive and you are with me.
The Lord is so good.

You make me smile, Benjamin.