Picture Elisabeth; she’s beautiful inside and out. She’s spent her life trying to live in the image of Christ. She has filled her heart with the Word and prayed over the man God might choose to be her husband.
Her friend calls her and invites her to a BBQ in the park.
His parents ask him to come along to paint the kids’ faces and serve his neighbors.
Their eyes meet and they hold one another in a mesmerizing gaze for a long time. Something is stirring in her and she knows…this is the man! The one she’s been praying for. She starts to think, ‘oh my goodness, I’m so glad I wore this dress. Is my hair okay?’
All the while he’s thinking, ‘It’s her! She’s the one my parents told me about – the one they’ve prayed for all of these years!’ Without noticing, he’s painted a beautiful heart on the little boys face.
“HEY! I wanted a tiger!”, the little boy shouts. He blushes. She giggles. “Oh, sorry kid. Next time.” …and it all begins.
Their story is starting to unfold.
They are infused with the prayers of the ones who love them most, supported by friends and wise mentors who guide them into marriage.
They make their home in the country and it’s filled with the treasures they and others have worked so hard to build – self-esteem, honesty, communication, hard work, a diligent prayer life, study in the word, integrity, faithfulness, deep intimacy, joy.
Before he comes home from work, he calls to tell his beloved he’s on his way! She runs inside and freshens up, she tidies the house. Supper is creating the most delicious aroma – she’s ready for him to walk through the door, all smiles!
…Now it’s been awhile since you have seen them, you go to their house in the country, the one filled with flavor and aroma, treasures of the heart…but no one is there. You call her on the phone and she says, “We’ve moved. I don’t think you should come over. It’s too dangerous.”
I guess you’ll have to decide, is your visiting worth the potential danger?
You follow her directions. It’s hard to find. You’ve left the sketchy part of town and you’re deep in the heart of the slums. There isn’t any color here, it’s dark and grey. No sound of children laughing. There is no inviting flower bed in the front and you think back to the way she used to keep her garden, her sanctuary…is it all dead now, you wonder in silence? You slowly walk up the broken stairs to the dark door, and knock.
“Come it, it’s open.”
How did Elisabeth’s marriage go from a country beauty to a home in the slums?
If it were an easy question to answer, I wouldn’t need to write this post. I remember Elisabeth when they were dating. Oh, she was a beauty. She really shared her heart, her dreams. She was inviting, inspiring, she served her Beloved with a heart open to God…I never went there and caught her in sweats and a ponytail. I never heard her fart while they were snuggled up on the couch. When I asked her how this happened, she said “I don’t know…I mean I never would have moved us here to the slums. I guess it happened slowly. Joseph started working longer hours and we decided to move a little closer to town so the kids could be in sports…” There was a vacancy to her eyes that didn’t belong there. “Before we knew it, we were here. In this house – if you could call it a house…” She began to cry and I could tell she was scared.
See, it never happens that you just decide to move from the country to the slums. It’s a mountain of small decisions, seemingly inconsequential decisions…decisions made by both you and your husband (it is never the fault of one person). It took two of you to build it and two to move you into the slums. It’s true that it will take both Elisabeth and Joseph to move back to their country home filled with treasures…but it starts with one heart.
It starts with God’s heart for your marriage.
That whisper, the gentle breeze, the calling voice – can you hear Him?
Dear wives, have you let yourself go? What are you wearing right now? Have you forgotten to praise your husband, to encourage him and lift him up? Have you forgotten to take interest in what he’s doing?
Have you let the area of deep intimacy turn into a house abandoned? Thinking that you can abandon your intimacy and forgo your marriage bed because you’re hurt or angry,
It is like moving to the slums and leaving the door of your marriage open to thieves and robbers.
Have you forgotten that God loves your marriage? He loves your husband and He longs to move you out to the country…maybe it’s your old home or maybe you’ve never been blessed with a country home. Stand up dear friends.
Someone has to take the first step.
Walk with the King, submit your marriage to the Father
…and see where He takes you from there!