In the Trenches of Marriage and Motherhood

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ETA: DISCLAIMER: Nathan read and approved this post, but even so, since writing it I have been unsettled that it may negatively reflect on him or put our marriage in a more hostile light than it in fact is. I originally titled it “In the Trenches of Motherhood” and wrote it accordingly, but then considered that this may reach some who are not mothers but whose struggles were different and changed it to “reach” a broader audience.

There. I feel so much better now. πŸ™‚

It may seem extreme to use battle terminology in the context of marriage and motherhood…unless you’re a wife and mother. πŸ˜‰

There are days, and weeks, and dare I confess? months that go by where this whole calling seems like one great big battleground that I am woefully inequipped to fight on.

Oh, I have wounded, for sure–have plunged with a great battlecry and with sword wailing into the thick of it–have laid my blows and received them, too, but without victory.

And why?

Because the enemy has not been identified, much less injured, by this indiscriminate skirmishing.

If I could see through the smoke of my own perceived defenses across the field at this enemy, that causes so much damage and disrupts the peace of the home, what would be found? What would this enemy look like?

Would it be my “trouble” child?

My “whiney” child?

Would it be an image of bickering, disobedience, or my messy house?

Would it be my husband or his decisions?

My circumstances?

Would it, could it possibly be this man, this home, this family that the Lord Himself has given me?

No, no, no, and a thousand times NO.

They may be the ones I have battled with, but they are not the enemy, which is why the engagement always seems so fruitless.

What would I see if I could be given a glimpse of the foe?

My own spirit.

That hasty, proud, selfish, unquiet, unmeek part of me that gets offended, irritated, and vexed when things are not going according to my order.

I’m sure that satan gets involved too, but my self-absorption makes his job very easy.

He doesn’t really need to get into the fray because I do a good job all on my own of opposing the offenders when my autonomy is threatened.

Don’t get me wrong, children need to learn obedience and to get along with each other, to respect and to help their parents and one another.

Husbands should love, honour, and cherish their wives (as wives should love, honour, and obey their husbands)

But you know? When they are not doing these Β things they do not become the enemy.

They are simply losing the fight against their own enemy: their own spirit, their own self-will.

We are given by the Lord Himself to our children as mothers, to aid them in this battle, to our husbands as a help, to pray for and support them in the same, as they also are given to us for headship, protection, and help.

Too often, Β I have lost this focus, have spent all my energies in trying to correct exteriors and frustration that it never stays correct, rather than remembering that my children are very unskilled in this whole self-denial thing that I myself am far from perfect in as well.

So we come back again to grace. To give as we have been given.

We are in these trenches together, they and I, you and I. We’re on the same side, y’all!

The best part of all? The Lord God is in here with us, and thanks be to Him “Which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”.

Oh! It is not just a hope, a sure confidence of things to come, it is a present grace! He gives it, gives it now–today!–this moment.

The love of the Lord to invite us to this!

“And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will hear thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” Psalm 50:15

Here is victory.

 

 

Once upon a time

October, 2006. A young man planning on joining a group for evangelism and gospel outreach faced a problem: his van had broken down days before the planned trip. He called an organizer of one of the tours to inform him sadly that he would not be able to come. Just hours before this, the same organizer had heard from another family planning to attend that before heading up north for the ministry tours they were going to stop at a museum and theme park in Pensacola, FL: Dinosaur Adventure Land. This is where the young man worked! In the providence of God he was able to gather up his things in short order and take off with this family to join other believers in Virginia.

This family is very dear, I had known them from previous outreaches together. I stayed with them the night before the first day of ministry began. As I talked with one of the women she told me about the man who was traveling with them, and out of the blue this thought shot through my mind: this is the man you will marry. Right away the thought was rejected as absurd. I didn’t know a single, solitary thing about this guy. He could already be married for all I knew! He could be old, he could be worldly, he might even be ugly (not that that’s the be all-end all, but, he could be)! O folly of youthful, feminine thought–be gone!

The next day I met this man of whom I had heard. He was young, (22, I would learn later), unmarried, conservative, and handsome. And, in my immediate estimation, completely smug, maybe prideful. First impressions. πŸ™‚Β  I wonder how many times I’ve been esteemed that very way because of hanging back, not necessarily looking shy but also not engaging. Poor guy. Everyone knew everyone, but him. My brothers were able, in the course of the next few days, to carry on meaningful conversation with him, which I often was in earshot of, and I was inwardly reprimanded for my swift judgment. In short, he conversed quite easily, and I liked everything I heard. πŸ™‚

He lost his ride after one of the stops, and came along with us to go to the next destination. He would ride in the back of our van a good number of times after that first time, and I would listen to him speak Bible stories to my youngest brothers (8 & 10 yrs. old) and was impressed that he could detail dialogue word for word from the Bible in his unfolding of it. In all truth, before that first week of ministry ended, my little heart was going pitter patter every time I saw him, which I made every effort to do as frequently as possible. πŸ˜‰

Every person that knew me (which was everyone there, but him) knew I was “fallen”. I mean, I was talking to a guy. Lauren Murch doesn’t talk to guys. I even had the brazen audacity and forwardness to ask him if I could sit across the table from him! Yes, it was very obvious to everyone, but him. One lady, a female pastor or some such, that was not a part of our group but that had clashed with us and had tried to stir up trouble in a number of ways, at one point while we were holding signs close together to each other said, “There’s a fire between you two, isn’t there?” Then to him, “You like her, don’t you? I saw you hanging around until she left today” Everything in me was fed up with that woman, and also afraid of his reply. He simply ignored the question and addressed something else. After that, I was sure our sweet times of conversing on matters and the Bible were over, because he wouldn’t want to encourage the idea “Reverend Faith” had shared so insightfully. But then a couple minutes later he asked me what time it was. Oh, the relief!!!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Actually, we conversed just as easily as ever after that somewhat awkward little happenstance there. He told me later that it was then he actually realized that he did hold an affection for me, because he said he would not have been able to honestly answer “no”.

By the end of the nearly 3 weeks of ministering together, I felt almost sick with the thought that he would simply go back down to Florida, I would go back to Virginia, and we’d never or rarely see each other again. So I called my father, and asked him to pray, because I had met the man I hoped to marry and didn’t want him to just slip away! My father must have had a number of reactions to that. His daughter, that had on so many occasions at his hintings about getting married and “giving him grandbabies” and had replied with doubt that that would ever happen (not for not wanting to, but I’d always been shy, awkward, plain, and convicted about so many things I couldn’t imagine the possibility of someone getting through all of that AND being compatible doctrinally/practically) was now, after he let her go on a 3 week trip calling him about a marriage prospect! He handled it with wisdom, and he did pray with me.

This story has gotten so long and it is so much longer, but, in short, I married that man. Nathan Tyler, the guy who hitched a ride with some of my friends at the last minute, is now my husband of 6 years (this Saturday) and the father of our 5 children (assuming there’s only one in my womb).

He turns 30 today. I truly don’t know what I would do without him. He is one of the Lord’s richest blessings to me. Marriage would teach me that neither he nor I were as holy and humble as we might have thought about ourselves and the other, but it has grown us. Sometimes I wish I could somehow change back and be what I thought I was when we married–that sweet little headcovered girl that above anything else in the entire world, wanted to SERVE, to serve GOD, to serve my husband. With all my heart. I wish I could be more worthy of wifehood, more worthy of my Nathan. Instead of being a picture of sacrificial love to him I’ve been the object of his expression of it. He has rebuked me when I needed it for sure, and reasoned with me through many, many questions, but has also shared wisdom in my fears, held me in times of weeping, and borne me up when I’ve fallen.

Anyway, this post was sort of disjointed, my “tribute” wanting, but I will close now.

I love my Nathan. May the Lord enrich it. And may the Lord enrich him with all the good and pleasant gifts reserved for His faithful children.