Monday, July 2, 2012

Layer By Layer

This past weekend, we were surrounded by beauty. We went to the state park and experienced the surprising landscape of the lake. We had two whole days to rest and be together, which was healing and rejuvenating. We unashamedly took time to enjoy artisan cheeses (yes, that counts as beauty!!!), wine, and local food. We read together from great books and encountered their rich language and moving narratives. The phrase that kept coming to mind at every turn was that of the Psalmist, 

"He restores my soul." 

During sweet moments with Michael over the weekend, I reflected on the past two years of our marriage. His steady love and presence in my life has changed me.  I don't react to things the same way I would have two years ago. I have grown to trust him. When he approaches me for an embrace, I no longer wonder whether he ceases to see me as a person; his tenderness over time has proven to me that I am not an object to him. And yet, even noticing the changes that have taken place-- the transformation that has occurred in my heart as a result of his love-- I still find places within me that resist. His willingness to sit quietly in the car while I study Greek continues to surprise me. "My education is really worth a sacrifice for you?" His disinterest in my dressing provocatively still sometimes causes me to wonder. "You really don't want me to play the part of your trophy?" His tenderness and patience when we're in a argument always undoes me. "You really have the character to respond kindly to what I just said? You're really apologizing to me?" The phrase that kept coming to mind about this transformation was, 

"...layer by layer." 

These two thoughts are related. To be a Christian is to enter into life with God. It is not just to check a "box of beliefs" about history or the afterlife. It is to commune with-- to be in unbreakable relationship with-- the God who weds Himself to us. It is (as I've discovered and shared time and again) in many ways like a marriage.  To be a Christian is not to merely assent intellectually to certain maxims; it is to let God restore our souls. And how does it happen? Layer by layer. There is immediate transformation and newness when anyone puts his or her trust in Jesus for the first time. But there is also a long, slow, gentle process of restoration that continues throughout this age. Restoration will be complete one day! Those who are in Christ have certain hope of that. But until then, Jesus is gentle with us. He restores our trust, our self-image, our faith, our ability to believe His words, our sexual identities, our motivation for doing acts of kindness, our thoughts and feelings, our very souls....layer by layer. 

It is a good and kind thing of Him. If he redid all of me in an instant, I might die of the pain. But He is patient. He restores my soul layer by layer. It's nice to be able to reflect on the transformation that has happened even as I await with hope the transformation that is yet to come.  

1 comment:

Michael King said...

How true it is that we might die from the shock of an instant transformation into perfection if that is what God did; amazing insight!

Thank you for honoring me, and for loving me so well, beloved :)