"When over the years someone has seen you at your worst, and knows you with all your strengths and flaws, yet commits him- or herself to you wholly, it is a consummate experience. To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us."
~ Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage
Steve, he loves me like this. Over and over I have wondered how.
I've been reading through old journals of mine from college, and noticing alternately how very far I have come since then,and how I still struggle with some of the same things. One thing I saw as I read a journal from a decade ago is my wrestling with understanding God's grace. How is it that He can really love me when I act the way I do? How is His disposition toward me one of mercy and compassion, not disgust, fury and disappointment?
Though I know these things are true, I must admit that I still have a hard time believing them. And then I look at my husband. Somehow Steve sees just a glimpse of the ugliness in my heart, and he responds with gentleness. He experiences a fraction of my selfishness and sin, and he continues to love and serve patiently. It is, perhaps, a fraction of a glimpse of how a patient Father, a gentle Savior, sees fully and yet loves perfectly...
Way back when, I had some pretty messed-up views on dating and relationships. I figured I had to get to this holy place of contentment, and then I would be qualified to begin a journey with a man. I thought once I "arrived" spiritually, then I would somehow be ready or worthy.
What I didn't know was that I would never be ready, that I would never be worthy, but that God delights to bless His children with undeserved gifts. What I didn't know was that a man could be His greatest vessel for showing me more of Himself and refining my heart.
Steve and I celebrate eight years of marriage today. I am eternally grateful for the fun that we have together and for the way that he points me to Jesus. It is a kindness from God beyond measure.
[P.S. In honor of our anniversary...new installments of the love story coming this week and next. I promise!]