Artist’s dream entombed in marble wonder
Unveil, O sculpt the form of hidden splendor
Refiner’s rasp release the hope within
That only with the blows of pitching pain
Reveal the hidden smooth cool work of art
Discard the dross; Riffler, redeem my heart
O polish me, perfecting work again.
I know I’ve been writing about some hard concepts this week. I know that some of it ‘goes against the grain’, and might be like fingernails on a chalkboard, when I remind you that God wants you to respect your husband!
You might be frustrated. You might feel defeated. You might feel that you don’t measure up. You might think, “It’s not worth it. I’ll never be able to do that.” You might feel like a block of granite!
May I encourage you today? Sometimes when you are in the middle of a darkness, it seems like there never was light. On a cloudy day, it is hard to realize that up above the cloud ceiling, maybe just a thousand feet in the air, just past that layer of wet, cloudy, mist, the sun is shining, the clouds are fluffy on that side, the sky is blue as blue can be. When there is conflict, discord, distance, and hurt in a marriage, it seems like it could never be intimate or wonderful again.
But faith, looks beyond what is today, and in confidence waits in expectation for something better.
I want to share a section from my book, ‘Won Without Words‘, that describes how I felt one day in the midst of my darkness, to let you know that you are not alone.
It was a day when I wouldn’t give in because I was right, and he wouldn’t give in because he was wrong — thus we were at an impasse — until one of us moved toward God’s redeeming love.
“It’s not fair,” I petulantly pronounced. “Why do I always have to be the one to give in? I didn’t do anything wrong. Why should I apologize?”
I thought I was standing on the principles of fairness, righteousness, and justice for all, but it was really pride that was speaking. It doesn’t physically hurt to apologize when you haven’t done anything wrong, but it does take its toll on your pride to unfairly admit defeat.
Just once, I wanted to hear my husband admit he was wrong, but I didn’t realize that at the time his own selfish pride and fragile ego couldn’t handle an admission of guilt. The very thing I longed for was impossible for him to offer in his current, spiritually-hardened state. It takes a repentant heart to seek forgiveness, and only the goodness of God draws a stubborn and prideful man to a state of repentance.
I wanted to harden my heart, too. I wanted to be a rock. I looked into the mirror at my ugly reflection, the stubborn set of my granite jaw, lines etched on my furrowed brow, the marble cold eyes, and the pursed lips, set in stony silence. Then the Spirit of the Lord began to soften the cold granite of my stony heart. He began to compassionately chip away the rough edges and the course lines to reveal a hidden and more beautiful nature. He tenderly removed the hardened exterior to unveil a sculpture of beautiful possibilities.
I began to see myself as a child fearfully clutching a tattered security blanket of pride, when God had a beautiful robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10), waiting to clothe me in splendor, once I released the filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). I had to lay aside the old before I could grasp the new. (excerpt taken from ‘Won Without Words‘, pages 45-46).
Here’s the prayer I prayed that day, perhaps you would like to pray it with me today:
God, in my childish weakness, help me to release with gladness the old things, in order to grasp the riches of your gift to me. Why do I hang on so tightly to the old things, ‘oh wretched man that I am? The things I want to do, I don’t. The things I don’t want to do, I do’. (Romans 7:15) What value is there in it? Why does it seem so hard to let go? Why does the flesh resist and groan with dread over this victory, this blessing?
God, bless the women who read this blog. Teach them your ways. Show them the blessing of following your ways, of learning your wisdom, of living in the presence of your love. Bless their marriages and their families with a love that is divine and supernatural.
My tip for today? Spend some time in prayer today. God has the answer for your marriage, and He loves you enough to help you get through this day, this trial, to bless you in the storm. He is still chipping away my rough edges! Some days it is very painful! Some days, he gently polishes, and lets me see that there is beauty within! And my husband? Well, what an awesome, magnificent, sculpture he is becoming under the Master’s hands!
Won Without Words by Shari Popejoy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at blog.wonwithoutwords.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.injoyinc.com/.