Sunday, February 26, 2017

Six Years, Mud In The Eyes, and Lite Brites

The brown stained mugs and scattered muffin crumbs left from this morning's celebrations are still staring up at me from the table, but my finger tips are too impatient to tap out the celebration in my heart to take them too seriously right now. Today marks six years of being a Mrs to my Mr. Of course, six years is a far cry from the place of wisdom that refreshes like frosty cones of ice cream on sweaty summer days. But I think it's right and good to reflect and say "wow, would you look at this? Come and see what God has done, come taste His goodness with us."

Because, without the One whose name is Love, I don't believe our marriage would be anything but a friendly cohabitation.

What about our love? Well, what about our love? I'm asking that too as I look back. Because where love should have been patient and kind, not discontent or puffed in the chest, not inflating its own importance, not rude, not insisting on its own way or irritable, not holding resentment, should have rejoiced only and always in the truth (no matter how painful), should have born, believed, hoped, and endured all things, it hasn't. Good golly, in the past couple of minutes I spent typing that out Will trotted in with a girl under each arm and the grim sort of look I usually interpret as "aren't they supposed to be under your jurisdiction right now?" And my heart froze over with the type of frustration that snuffs out all the warm fuzzies and proves my point. But that just leads to the miracle of it all. For all that we've failed in love, our marriage hasn't failed because (and only because) of this:

The One whose name is Love, He never fails, and our marriage is resting solidly in His hands.

It was one of those half-blind-to-what-it-actually-means-but-fully-believing-it-was-right decisions that we made in the beginning, and I attribute the grace of God to being the glue that kept us to it. But there's always a mortal wrench that gets thrown into things, isn't there? And for myself, being the type who says, "ah, this is good! But still, this settling it all in God's hands, how does it look in action?" put me into a frenzy of hard work to weave all the good things into our sweet little home, dressing myself in the nakedness of all the right answers. It was my good and gracious God (how am I even able to call Him that?) who lowered my eyes to help me see the fool I was being and often still am. "Cease striving and know that I am God," He's gently reminded me over and over again, "[then] I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth [I will be exalted in your home, your family, your marriage]."

So as it turns out, laying something in God's hands is just how it sounds. Wasting time hopping from one foot to the other in nervous anticipation of "what's next" is not part of it, but is still hard for stubborn little me to grasp. In six years of marriage, my hybrid pep-talk-prayers have multiplied like fish and bread in the hand of the Divine One: "Let go of your expectations and hopes, Carissa Holzer, be humble in knowing there is nothing good in you to give unless it's from the hands of goodness Himself, so would you just leave things there instead?"  I've come to label it all (in the annals of my mind) as "the great humbling of the Holzer-Anders union:" "Cease striving. . . and I will be exalted." And it's a humbling that will continue, I know, because taking matters into my own hands has and always will be something I'll trip over for years to come.

I think that's the biggest regret for me in a backward glance. My face was planted in mud so often for six years that my eyes and heart were just too polluted with the filth of my own expectations to see the greater gift. It's only been six years so I could have this wrong or only see fragments, but this is the goodness worthy of sharing and marveling over:

Joining one man and one woman together was never about glorifying that unity and denying everybody else their choice or design in it any more than Jewish sacrifices and their strict structure were about actually pawning off sin, it was (and remains) the intentional creation of a loving Father offering His children a shadowed peek into the Kingdom to come.

And now that this truth has lit up for me like a tiny bulb in a Lite Brite (anybody remember those?), singlehood, motherhood, fatherhood, childhood, friendships, working relationships. . . all of it, all of it, are lighting up like other tiny bulbs that reveal a pattern dimly glimmering of something greater. "Cease striving. . . and I will be exalted." The pattern is already there to be illuminated and seen, but not by my glow stick truth and answers that flicker and fade (thank you Gloria Furman for that word picture).

Marriage is indeed a gift that I'm only beginning to see the magnitude of.

I'm sure I could go on and on, but I'll cut myself off here to get back to cleaning up so I can head to the ice rink to pair my pitiful ice skating with Will's smooth and powerful one (a ridiculous contrast, I like to embarrass myself watching him with heart eyes better). Thank you though, sweet friends, for taking a few moments to celebrate in tasting of and marveling at God's goodness with me. Here's to many more years of Love who never fails!