Loving someone who doesn't have

One dear friend's marriage to the man she still loves dissolves into senseless divorce. Another has forgotten love and a separation looms. I listen to their stories, see them through their tears, hug them as they mourn the broken places, the cracks and then the splitting of the earth of their unions. From the outside, I see how God has filled those cracks for them. Yet even the elastic bandages He criss-crosses wounds with is sometimes not enough.

My marriage has suffered cracks, too. Breaks in trust, days we fought dawn to dusk and until we resolved late in the night. Petty disagreements blown out of proportion. Little habits that irk the soul like saddleburrs on a long trail ride. Annoyances, fundamental differences, language barriers. But I am blessed to have a man who will fight to the last for my devotion, a man who inspires my passion, a man who has always viewed this marriage as a team. I praise God for really living our vows...to have and to hold, for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, to love and to cherish as long as we both shall live.

How do I approach the problems of friends when my marriage is the bedrock of life to me? How could I have anything to say to them? I ponder this as I drive to the divorcing friends home, trying to find words, something I could salve her grief with without sounding petty.

It dawns on me, slowly, that this is just like being a nurse. I've never had a child die, yet I've ministered to parents watching the death of their child. I've never had a life-threatening infection and been on a ventilator, yet I've bathed the bedsores of those who have. The list of "I've never" goes on forever, and in all those cases, I was able to care for, speak comfort to, and bring some healing to all those strangers who've crossed the white hospital sheets in need of a skilled nurse.

I've never had a concrete block thrown at my head, or went weeks living with a husband who will not utter a word to me. I've never been cheated on or ignored for the pursuit of manly pleasures. But I can come alongside these broken and wounded sisters who have suffered the worst of things at the hands of the one who should love them most.

Dear sisters who are married to the man of your dreams, help me link arms with the women whose marriages are wounded, cracked, broken and stretched beyond their limit. Be the compassion they aren't receiving, love them when they feel unlovable. Wash their feet of the dirt of months and years spent working on something that just won't fix. Bring them meals when they are too depressed to cook, bring a gift to the woman who hasn't received a birthday gift for years. Give them the 12 hugs they've been missing from every day. Converse with the lonely whose husband won't speak. Watch them closely, so you can share in their emotions. If they can't be touched, don't touch. If they are crying, cry with them. If they are angry, help them to be angry and not sin. Come alongside them with the love of Jesus offered freely. These friends are needy, and your presence often and authentically may be a joy or a comfort to them in the darkest of days.

Praise God for husbands who eschew lust, embrace us for ourselves, who long for our conversation and our passion, unlock us to enjoy play as grown-ups and share our dreams with us. Praise God for my dear Aaron, and Lord, help me to minister to those whose husbands are not like him.
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21 ESV)
go on and ask me anything
what do you need to know
I'm not holding on to anything
I'm not willing to let go of
to be free, to be free

I've got to ask you something
but please don't be afraid
there's a promise here thats heavier
than your answer might weigh
baby it's me, it's me

it's a sweet, sweet thing
standing here with you and nothing to hide
light shining down to our very insides
sharing our secrets, bearing our souls,
helping each other come clean

secrets and cyphers
there's no good way to hide
there's redemption in confession
and freedom in the light
I'm not afraid, I'm not afraid

better than our promises
is the day we got to keep them
I wish those two could see us now
they never would believe how
there are different kinds of happy
different kinds of happy
there are different kinds of happy
different kinds of happy
~sara groves, different kinds of happy~