His Love > his Love
If you want to see a small social media riot evolve, simply write a tweet in support of the Common Core Math Standards and watch your Twitter go viral. The controversial math standards have been in the headlines for months, and with the start of the new school year they have become the topic of many frustrated parent’s Facebook status updates.
Understanding Common Core is not a necessity in my life, which is probably a good thing because in my limited research for this post, I didn’t find much that left me feeling enlightened. I even visited a site that was Pro-Common Core, thinking they would do their best to explain the elementary school problems in a simplified way that made it easy to understand and thus gain supporters. No such luck–I was more confused after visiting blamecommoncore.com than before I read their featured article.
Perhaps I am atypical in my understanding of the new learning style, because to be fair, I am not a woman who is known for her love of math. Rather, I am a lover of words.
As a lover of words, I was in one of my happy spots last night when I was able to listen to Amena Brown create beauty with her words. The gifted poet was the key-note speaker at an event I attended at my church in Chandler, Arizona. While her husband, Matt “DJ Opdiggy” Owen, skillfully stylized music in the background she shared the truth of God’s love with her own stories and original spoken word poetry. She shared briefly about her marriage, and she talked about how her understanding of God’s love was enhanced by the love of her husband. She said that she had realized that even as she enjoyed the fulfillment of her husband’s love in her life, God was still trying to get her to understand the magnitude of His love. She shared that God was saying to her,
Your husband’s love for you is just a tiny fraction of the love I have for you.
As she shared the words, I felt a lump rise in my throat. It is true for me as well. As great as my husband’s love is for me–it is but a tiny, tiny fraction of the love that my Heavenly Father, who does not change like shifting shadows, has for me.
And my husband’s love speaks volumes. You see, my husband’s love is obvious. My husband’s love is tangible. I can feel it, I can see it. Others can, too. This is not a new love of something nearly lost. For years, if there was an attribute that defined my husband, it was his affectionate love for his wife.
At times my husband’s desire to be close to me, to engage me in conversation, to spend time with me has been “a force to be reckoned with” and those desires send this girl, who once replaced real intimacy with sex, running for the dark places in her mind.
To imagine a Heavenly Father who loves me more than this man is…well…unimaginable. And yet, it’s true. God’s love may seem unimaginable and unfathomable–but it’s real and it’s demonstrated in ways that are equally obvious and equally tangible.
Several months ago I received a piece of hate mail that spawned my entitled Stop Being Happy on Facebook post. In the article I shared that I had received a letter from a woman who was offended that I had been sharing my story of surviving my own infidelity on my blog. She wouldn’t have a problem with my journey if I were “the victim” but since I caused all the pain, my thoughts and my journey were an affront to her.
In the letter she stated, “…you think you are above reproach for what you did just because your husband forgave you.” Apparently, it was an assault to her that I was moving forward and that I was proud of the way my husband had behaved when he discovered the truth about the relationship I had been cultivating with another man. Fortunately, the words didn’t stick on my skin for more than a few hours. I woke in the early hours and realized that I don’t THINK I am above reproach for what I’ve done because my husband forgave me. I KNOW I am above reproach for the sin of adultery because God forgave me. Even without the love and the support of my husband–my sin is abolished.
I am grateful every single day that my husband chose to stay with me, but the reality is, even if he had asked me to move out, I would still be forgiven and I would still be above reproach for the sin I once chose. My repentance is what leads me to a new life, not the love of a man. Christ took my sin away, and it doesn’t own me anymore.
It’s a concept that can seem confusing because my husband and I are experiencing so much hope. Because of my husband’s forgiveness towards me the love of God has been penetrating our lives and His Grace has been transforming our marriage. The restoration of our marriage is vital to us, as it is to our children, but the restoration of me as an individual is the core of what makes the marital restoration even possible. God had a strong call on me to turn away from my sin and confess it to my husband, but He had an even stronger call on me to turn away from my sin and turn in repentance towards Him. Understanding God’s love, and not running away from intimacy with Him and into the dark places in my mind–is something that I have to learn to sit with and embrace or I will never be able to fully embrace the love my husband wants to give so freely.
It’s not as confusing as trying to solve a simple math problem using common core and it doesn’t raise the same controversy, but when I write honestly about it, it can certainly raise a few comments in my inbox. People like problems that are easy to solve–the kind where one plus one equals two. But, for my husband and I–that equation didn’t add up, and now I have to daily decrease, so that God can increase. With less of me and more of Him–the math that works is one plus one plus the One equals one.