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Just settling in from a Chicago conference for the pregnancy center where I volunteer.   My room was beautiful overlooking Chicago, completely paid for along with the flight.  I thoroughly enjoyed the city, but spent far too much money on excellent food.   The workshops were solid, with faith and fortitude being the primary theme.  I was pleasantly surprised by the international turnout and assurance of others across the miles with identifiable feelings — the absence of immediate reward or seemingly favorable outcome to their often consuming work and prayers.  Seeing others who fight the question: Is it worth it?  I had often considered and was affirmed, that if each volunteer only saved one baby, that was success if we  truly believe in the sanctity of life.  Who knows where the ripples stop…

It was also my 5 year anniversary this weekend and I still haven’t seen my hubby.  He is called away on work so much these days, so when the opportunity arose I considered it far less pathetic to be away from home without him this weekend than alone at home.  I’m very thankful for the retreat as it was refreshing for various reasons.  Today on the return flight I’ll admit fighting discouragement (probably just a repressed missing sensation mingled with fatigue), considering the pointed truth that if marriage were truly about one person’s needs being met, what an utter waste of time the whole ordeal would be.  I suppose similarly with faith work at a pregnancy center, or a ministry of sowing seeds,  marriage calls us to a humble abandonment of self for the ultimate glory of His kingdom.  Of course, certainly I hope and imagine all here have experienced months or years far more mutually beneficial than other seasons, but in those times that are of the “forbearing and believing” kind, the primary motivation is a confidence in the steadfast promise of the Covenant keeper.  Heidi once shared in an email – “His faithfulness, His promise keeping, is the paradigm in which we keep our promises.”  I will never forget this, as it was hand-delivered at a time I needed to hear it far more than she knew.

Emily Dickinson is one of my favorite poets, to a fault because I rarely read others.  I very much enjoy “The Wife” and have been thinking on her perspective this weekend.  While she was never married, she certainly grasped the concept and honor behind the commitment.  This is not meant in any stretch to portray a sense of martyrdom around a woman’s position in the family, as I think we can all agree that marriage has been quite quite good to us.   Rather, ours is a supporting role central to his success (however God may measure it) and a crucial reflection of the union between Christ and the church.  (You mean, it’s not all about me? *smiley*)  Quite possible Dickinson was reflecting on that parallel as well…

The Wife.

She rose to his requirement, dropped
The playthings of her life
To take the honorable work
Of woman and of wife.

If aught she missed in her new day
Of amplitude, or awe,
Or first perspective, or the gold
In using wore away,

It lay unmentioned, as the sea
Develops pearl and weed,
But only to himself is known
The fathoms they abide.

Forgive my humbled reflection, merely framing some note-worthy poems and quotes.  Still, I learned this weekend there’s courage to be gained through transparency.   I must prepare for Bup’s return… 

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