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The Book Thief
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
On Gold Mountain
Bread & Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter
City of Tranquil Light: A Novel
The Distant Land of My Father
The Paris Wife
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
Fall of Giants
World Without End
A Stolen Life
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption
The Pillars of the Earth
Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation
The Road
Trials of the Earth: The Autobiography of Mary Hamilton
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal
Cutting for Stone

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« my mamaw | Main | love song »

sword drills

Matt and I on our wedding day, January 5, 1991. Anger invaded my body and pushed aside good sense. 

I risk nausea to read in silence Safe Haven Marriage, a book assigned for the marriage group we are about to attend. We are late. And I am bringing the refreshments. Joshua and Sam chirp in the backseat as Matt navigates our van toward church. 

Matt and I had argued only an hour before and I had not recovered. Given a choice, a root canal would have been more appealing than a marriage class at that point. I couldn’t even look at or speak to my spouse, how am I going to absorb any information about loving him?

I read... “Contempt blah blah blah predictor of divorce. Criticism blah blah blah predictor of divorce.” Great, I am thinking but still not speaking. Matt drops me off first with the snack and drives around to take Joshua and Sam to childcare. 

Larry Kayser greets me as I plop down the chocolate chip cake on the table. “Wow! You look so tan! Have you been in the sun?” I want to tell him it is the glow of anger but blame the soccer field instead. 

Somehow I make it through half the group with this strategy: Say as little as possible. 

An hour in, I pray to Jesus. Help me. I don’t want to be robbed of this time. 

And I speak a few sentences because it is hard for me to be quiet. I steal a little look at Matt.

Then in closing, Larry opens his Bible and reads:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14

And I feel it. The sword. I give myself over to it. Like a pin poking a balloon, the sword deflates my swollen ego. Divides bone and marrow. Rage and blame. Fear and loathing. I feel something soften deep with me like a moisture infiltrating a dry shell. Living Water rushes in and my heart is clay again. 

Later that night I sit with an open journal. I ask for honesty and humility and grace. I write these words: He bore it in His body so I don’t have to bear it in mine. Once again the Water in the form of tears softens my hardened heart. 

Then I take that much softer heart to Matt and we begin again. The anger is important identifying markers in my soul... things Matt, my soul-mate, needs to know to know me. Intimacy. 

It is a remarkable moment birthed in hope and promise.

God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon's scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God's Word. We can't get away from it - no matter what.

Hebrews 4:7-14

Reader Comments (3)

Thank you, Gigi....


So powerful, as always, my friend. What a good reminder. Thanks for your honesty.

Love you (and your darling wedding picture),

Thank you for your honesty and your encouragement... to all of us who have at some point been in a similar position (i.e. going to a marriage event and arguing immediately beforehand!).

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