Monday, June 1, 2015

He Never Squelches Me

I'm loud.  I'm independent. I've always been opinionated.  When he met me, I put my foot in my mouth even more often than I do now.  When we got married, I worked about 50 hours a week and was passionate about my job.  I could hardly speak on Friday nights because I was coming off of a work hangover and usually had to step out on Friday night dates to fire a couple people.  On the phone.  I was business and Type A and driven.
Scott never asked me to work less.  He visited me at my office.  He fixed dinner on nights I couldn't hang out until late.  He watched the NFL while I studied for my Master's.  He never asked me for more of my time.  He was getting all that I had.  He never even acted like I was distracted or overly wired.  He didn't try to change me.

We added a baby to the teenager in our first couple of years.  I worked until the day I went in to be induced.  And I was taking work calls and working on the computer while my newborn slept.  Work was in my blood.  Scott never dreamed I would say I wanted to work less.  I ran an office 5 days a week but was able to be home some of them.  Over time, I worked more from home.  He never complained that I used to make better money.  He never even acted like I had changed.  And didn't try to change me.

When I told him I was reading a book that was wrecking me and I wanted to go to Guatemala...he helped me buy tickets and let me go.  We talked every day I was gone about the massacre God was doing on my heart.  I came home different.  And started talking about these 5 Peruvians we had heard about.  I kept talking about it.  He didn't laugh at me.  He didn't kill it.

I've changed a lot in 7 years.  I know people change over years of marriage but I think for the first seven, I've changed more than the average chic.  And while some of the changes are good, I hope, it's still a lot of change.  He laughs about how different I am.  And he argues when people say I've lost my edge.  He almost acts like he's proud of me.

We've gotten mildly obsessed with a series of messages by Neil McClendon at Grand Parkway Baptist Church in Houston.  We know Neil and listen to him some but this series, Broken Together, is fantastic.  I've even listened to some of the messages more than once.  It's not just for married folks so don't discount it.  And it's not all ooey gooey relationship advice either.  It's really mostly about living the gospel.  It applies to any relationship really.  In one of the messages he's talking about roles and responsibilities in marriage and he used a quote from Jon Stott about headship that's been bouncing around my mind like pinball. It's specifically about the role of the man as an "authority".  Before you click the x, read on...

"If headship means power-then it's power to care, not to crush, power to serve, not to dominate, power to facilitate self fulfillment, not to frustrate or destroy it--and in all this the standard is the cross of Christ".

Take a minute and let that settle.  We all have power.  Power to say no.  Power to hold back.  Power to love or not.  Power to crush or build.  Power to be vulnerable or to put up walls.  Power to give people room--to thrive and to screw up.
Scott uses his power to let me be Lauren.  All Lauren.  Even though year 7 Lauren hardly resembles year 1.  It is Scott living the gospel for me.   It dawned on me recently that I have to think it's how God loves me.

I know it's different--He created me and all.  But in my pursuit of Him, He wants me to be who He made me to be within the freedoms that are best for me.  Granted, if I wasn't pursuing Him and got off in the weeds, He would guide or direct me back. But when I'm pursuing Him, there's great freedom in being who He asks.  It's liberating.  Empowering.  Humbling.  He doesn't try to change me, like "I'll love you more if you could just get this perfection thing down".  He loves me as is, today.  And died for me knowing the ugliest, worst parts.  But then this crazy thing happens --- I want to change.  I want to get better.  I want to know Him better and be the best version of myself that He's allowing me to be.

I want to love with such power.  I want Scott to feel like the best version of himself in part because of the way I love.  I want my kids to feel like they can be and do anything because I've not crushed or dominated.  I want the way I've loved to make them more in love with Jesus.  My life should inspire them to want to know God that way.   And should demonstrate Christ's love to them like a living picture.  God loves with an incredible love.  It inspires change.  Not because you're never good enough.  But because He knows all that He created you to be and loving Him inspires us to pursue being just that.

Yesterday you might have failed.  You might feel like you've let someone down in your actions or your words.  Maybe you haven't even believed that God wanted best for you today.  But today is a new day.   The Lord takes delight in His people and we get to wake up and ask "What do you want from me today?  Teach me to love like you do."  And then watch what happens as we change!