Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Locks and Keys {Here’s my Heart Part II}

Spring 1991

Every lock has some sort of key.  If a key has been lost for some time, it could be a celebration when it finally turns up and other times, it could be a sight that causes fear and trembling.  Maybe the scariest thing you’ve seen in a long time.  Because locks are for keeping things out of reach.  Hidden.

I’ve always put myself “out there” better with ink than I have with voicing my words.  In the moment, I find the words hard to come by.  I have thoughts~ later, sometimes much later~ but trying to speak one during the conversation is like trying to pull out one coat hanger from a pile of many.  It takes time, patience and persistence and often is just too tangled up with other thoughts, I just can’t get it out and it hardly seems worth the effort.  And sometimes it’s scary and sometimes painful and I cannot muster up the courage.

Until the summer of 1990 I had been comfortable and content to keep my thoughts to myself. It was what I had known.

Enter Jeff on a hot June Sunday afternoon.

We were both counselors at a youth camp.  Besides thinking he was one of the most handsome guys I had ever seen, after just a couple of days of talking to him, I found out his heart was purer than most any one I had ever known.  I remember being drawn to his understanding of grace {something I had been stingy with} but what caught my attention even more is that he was interested in MY thoughts.  Diligently interested in them.  He pursued them.  He wanted them to come out of my head-- like through my mouth, preferably taking the inconvenient route through my heart.  Yikes.  Those pathways had not been traveled for quite some time~ especially the route that went through my heart.  Oh, I had the emotions behind my thoughts but most of the time, I just kept them with me.  That was the easier way~ for me~and no one had challenged me otherwise.  Most people didn’t know that sort of challenge was needed.  I didn’t even know.  Interestingly enough, it was one of the first things my future husband noticed and pursued.

We’ve been married 19 years and speaking my most personal thoughts has functioned as a weak muscle for most of those years, consistently strained from exercise and Jeff will tell you, sometimes it just quits.  Jeff has been patient in leading me and has never given up on finding out what rolls around in my head and takes root in my heart.  The happiness, the hurt, the funny, the irritating, the sacred, the sad, and the feelings that are still tangled up like those coat hangers.  It matters to him and he knows how valuable my putting words to what is going on in my heart is.  For me.  For him.  For my children.

Julia and I had some time together last Thursday night and as we were driving, she was reading Brighton’s birthday letter on my phone.  When she read my friends’ sweet comments, she wanted to leave a comment.  Between making sure she got her words spelled correctly, she mentioned missing him~ even though she had just hugged him goodbye half an hour earlier.  I didn’t think much of it.

Then her voice through tears interrupted my thoughts which were about the tail lights in front of me.  Deep stuff.  “Mom, I just don’t think Brighton knows how much I really love him.”  More sobs.  I grabbed her hand and assured her he does.  “Oh, no, Mom.  He can’t.  I get so frustrated with him.  He just doesn’t know how much I love him.  I feel like I cannot express it because he’s always aggravating me and I am mad.  But, Mom, I love him so much and I want him to know it!. I don’t think he knows how much I love him.”  As I listened to her and wondered, was there an air vent from our room to hers?  I hear those same words from my own pillow several nights a week.  Surely she can’t hear me.  Julia was visibly distressed.  This very thing had bothered her before.  I understood.  Completely.  I saw her communicating with me on a level that’s normal for most, I guess and I thanked God for how healthy it was.  It was my turn and I did my best, putting my heart out there, so she would feel we had connected.  And it was a conversation in I-35W NORTH traffic I won’t soon forget. Victory for me?  You bet.

Over these 19 years, I’ve had choices to make.  Keys to find.  I’ve gotten some right but mostly wrong.  There is a lot of sin mixed into locking in your thoughts and emotions.  Fear, control, pride.  Need I say more?  Isn’t that yucky enough?  And that is where the grace comes in.  God’s grace.  Oh, how would we even breathe without it?   I still have default locks, like those automatic locks with the keypad.  Knee jerks.  The ones you never even think about.  The door shuts and the door just locks.   And I don’t even know it’s locked... until someone tries to come in.  And there’s my choice.  To get the key invites relationship, life, friendship, trust, closeness, and love.  To not~ well, all things opposite.

A  year ago or so, Jeff and I had a conversation about my family needing, wanting my heart, not all that I could do for them, but my heartfelt emotion and expressions of love.  Well, I consider this part II.  This is some of what giving them my heart looks like.  Jeff’s leadership in this has changed everything in my little world.  I am so grateful he’s knocked all these years. Jiggled on all the locks.  He’s taught me books of things but this one........ this one is big.  Bigger than us.  As it changes our marriage we can only hope our kids will flourish in it and take it with them.

And get this I read the other night:

“O Divine Love, who dost everlasting stand outside the closed doors of the souls of men, knocking ever and again, wilt Thou not now give me grace to throw open all my soul’s doors?  Tonight let every bolt and bar be drawn that has hitherto robbed my life of air and light and love.”  John Baillie (A Diary of Private Prayer) Day 14 evening


All this time, my husband was only a stand in for the One who loves me with an everlasting love and has faithfully pursued me ALL MY LIFE.  To Him be the glory.


Kelli- AdventurezInChild'Rearing said...

truly beautiful! I love this- my husband and I went to the same church as children & didn't even know each other- the same summer camp- Wednesday night- Sunday & years later God brought us together- He has a precious heart. Isn't God smart? :)

Alyssa said...

I love how God is using Jeff to unlock this beautiful heart of yours.

his said...

What a girl! I wish I could have help find that key with a little more grace. Behind every door there is a lot of good stuff.

Proud of you!


Emily said...

This really blessed me. Love your heart.

TJ Wilson said...

Nothing original here, bc I ditto Bluebonnet & Em. Blesses me.