So I finished writing a little book yesterday.
Actually, I finished it back in October, but yesterday I finished finished it. I finished my edits and proofreading and cuts and adds and rewrote that dreaded twelfth chapter and I got it to the point where it’s finished enough that I’m excited for other eyeballs to see it.
That kind of finish.
If it’s going to go anywhere other than the top drawer of my filing cabinet, there will be more finishing I know. Little changes that I had completely missed in the editing were flying off the page and crash landing on my eyeballs last night in the printing.
So really, it’s not finished but…yesterday, in my mind, I finished my little book.
And it felt kinda weird.
Kinda sweet and sorrowful and fulfilling and grown up and juvenile… all at the same time.
Because who hasn’t wanted to write a book right?
Since high school I’ve wanted to write one. Since being married I’ve wanted to write one. Since moving to Alaska I’ve wanted to write one. Since being a mama I’ve wanted to write one. Since becoming a Christian I’ve wanted to write one. Since people tell me to I’ve wanted to write one and then doesn’t a woman just get busy in the days of growing and loving and raising up a life and a family?
But if you’re like me, having a mind that constantly yearns to write, you think in blank pages and the thoughts you think form in lines, sometimes tidy and sometimes flung but always, always that white page with words. It waits ready on the backdrop of the brain.
Even in the busy, the writing is always there.
My husband doesn’t share my love for words. The page in his brain has grids and lines and drawings and things solid. His page holds work and touch and nature, and reading is okay for a day or so…but let’s put the book down and get back to real life now.
He has a lot to say but he would probably never set out to write a book. His mind mixes the letters and mixes the words and writing me a card is a beautiful finish for his writing hand. Oh he’s smart. And he has a lot of words. He just likes to whisper them soft or laugh them together.
Not everyone knows how to organize and compartmentalize their words. Sometimes when you are one who puts down words, you forget, not everyone is. Sometimes words don’t always have to be written. Sometimes they just need to be lived.
So when he reads mine and doesn’t have a lot to say but his eyes water tender, I know that means the words I put down are good words. I know he loves them. I know he loves me.
And when the world wants to go and tear down a woman for doing marriage and life the way she believes best, haven’t we forgotten? Forgotten that sometimes, the way of this world, this culture, is not always the best way but that there’s a page and there’s a Word and it is compartmentalized and it is organized and it is grace…and it is good.
But we’ve taken those words and we’ve made them bad and we’ve used them to stifle and degrade and make ugly what He wrote beautiful when He said For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
How could that ever be oppressive? How could the beauty of two souls uniting in flesh and being seen as one unit of two individuals before the maker of this universe ever be scorn worthy?
Or is it the submit part that causes the ruckus?
Maybe this one: Everyone must submit to governing authorities. Can’t we agree though, that there needs to be submission to the authorities? Don’t we appreciate the organized and compartmentalized word of the speed limit that keeps, if not all of us, most of us, traveling along safely together and collision free?
Or maybe it’s this one that causes all the trouble: Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Is it because we think the other person should be doing it all that this one offends? Any person married more than a year understands that marriage is a two-way street. There is no My Way or the Highway in a healthy marriage. There just can’t be. So why would we have such a hard time with the idea of submitting to one another?
Maybe those aren’t the submission verses that get everyone in a twist and make normally nice people turn into name-calling, mud-slinging opinion ranters.
I betcha it’s this one: Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church.
Ah, yes. There’s the issue.
We women don’t like to hear that we’re not the boss. That we don’t wear the pants. That we don’t keep him on a short string. That our roar isn’t as loud as we think it is, that our You’ve Come a Long Way baby might mean something different than what we want it to mean. We might not even know exactly what it means, but we don’t.like.the.word.s-u-b-m-i-t.
One little word will get this nation in an uproar.
So what if I didn’t? Submit. What if I didn’t voluntarily place myself under the leadership of my husband? What if I didn’t want to play by the rules and I wanted to scorn those women who read the words and love the Word and are an example to this world of how to live it out?
What if instead of letting my team captain be the team captain and my coach be the coach, what if I went gang busters unsubmissive and decided I didn’t want to do MY job of being on the team and building up the team and leading the team right from where I was positioned? What would happen then?
Submitting doesn’t mean we’re just sitting on the bench, folks.
And us Christians? Those of us who follow what the Bible says about marriage right there all through the New Testament? We understand that if it’s not your belief too, you won’t understand what it means to be on this team and so you’re certainly not going to follow the Playbook. But we don’t hold it against you, because really, we look forward to the day when you’re on our team too. We want you on our team. We love the coach and we know how much he loves you and spends this season recruiting you as one of his best players.
But if you decide in your mind that the game’s just that, a game, a made up bunch of scrimmages, well, that’s okay. Because we’re gonna keep at it anyway. We’re gonna run the race and we’re gonna play the plays and we’re gonna use it all up for that coach and our team because it’s not just a game.
And those husbands he puts on our team? Those leaders he gives us, each wife her own team captain? Guess what their job is?
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.
There’s a whole lot of words in that job description. But we forget that part sometimes don’t we? The coach tells husbands to be just like Jesus. And what did Jesus do for his church? He died. He thought so much of his bride that He made himself little and he died for her in order to make her beautiful and blemish-free.
I can get behind a leader like that can’t you?
Wives, our husbands are the team captain, the lead player, the ball kicker and the quarter back of the family. If the team is going to take a hit, he’s to be the one to take it. If someone’s body is to be bruised, he’s the one to withstand it. He’s to take his big and his strong and make sure his team is safe and able to play well and that they’re all doing what the coach wants them to do.
And as his woman, we’re to be right there beside him. Running with him, ready to take over a play should he need a rest, willing to take the field should the team need it, helping him determine exactly what it is the coach said, and always, always to be a cheerleader and encourager to him and the rest of the family team.
That’s submit. Simple. Not ugly. Not oppressive. Not door mat. It’s the breakdown of the team and everyone has a job and when everyone’s doing that job it’s like a dance on the field and it makes sense and it works. It works because the words in the Word says it will work.
And when my husband, my non-word loving husband who has come to cherish the words of his coach and has come to quietly love the words his wife puts down and call her his wordsmith in secret, when he hears that the little book I’ve been working so hard on all these months is finally finished, he has some words for me.
He tells me congratulations.
He pauses and picks them carefully. He knows this is a time for some words. He has learned that a writer heart needs more than “fine” and “good” and that when a piece of that heart is splayed open out there on the page, a soul can squirm until it hears just the words it needs to know that it really is finished. He has learned to put his words together and whisper what his word lover needs to hear.
“How does it feel honey?”
I tell him the feeling is odd, finishing something you always wanted to do. Taking paths different than the ones you originally thought you’d take. Having it be done.
“It’s a weird feeling, finishing a book” I tell him, ready now to move it off the desk and get on with the day and just let it sit awhile, this heart still a little squirmy and insecure with the idea of feeling like a writer, doubtful at the thought of maybe even being a writer.
He’s not done with his words though. He’s the captain and now he’s the cheerleader and he may not love words like I love words but he loves his wordsmith and he knows his job is to help make her feel radiant and make her be radiant so he simply says “Well babe,”
“…You better get used to it.”
I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine. Song of Songs 6:3
Scriptures cited: Genesis 2:24, (Romans 13:1-2) (Ephesians 5:21) Ephesians 5:22-24 Ephesians 5:25-28