Ten minutes later, I breathed deep, looked over, and said, “It would have all been diffused this morning if you’d said, ‘Honey, don’t you look nice!’ instead of saying, ‘Can you walk in those things?’”
He refuted, “But I’m a practical guy! I don’t ‘get’ high heels! What if I had a pair of those? Wouldn’t you wonder if I could walk in those things?”
I tried not to laugh at the image. “You would never wear high heels.”
He said, “How about a pink wool sweater, then. If I came out in a pink sweater, wouldn’t you worry that I’d be uncomfortable?”
I quipped, “No doubt.”
A horse and buggy paused at the intersection, and we drove past. My husband nodded at the driver, wearing a straw hat with a black band, a plain black suit with a blue-green dress shirt beneath. Behind him, and beside him, was his family, all decked out in cape dresses and kapps.
My husband said, “Bet they don’t fight about high heels.”
I slapped the Bible closed. “Now you want me to wear a cape dress! You’d be perfectly delighted if I wore a prairie skirt with hair down to my waist and no makeup!”
“You’ve got to stop putting words in my mouth!” he said. “All I’m saying is that I think you’re pretty without that stuff.”
“What ‘stuff’?” I fumed.
“Makeup and jewelry and heels.”
“You sure didn’t mind all that ‘stuff’ when you first met me at church!”
He looked over, jaw tight, hazel eyes gleaming. “I wouldn’t have cared a lick if you were wearing a cape dress when I met you. I wasn’t attracted to your makeup or your jewelry. I was attracted to who you were.”
Just like that, I started crying. I flipped the air conditioner vent toward my face and fanned my cheeks, but I couldn’t stop. Tears streamed.
My husband reached for my hand. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I should try harder to build you up.”
“I should try harder to build you up, too.”
“You do a fine job of that,” he said. “I don’t feel like I need it.”
But then why do I feel like I do?
This unspoken question wasn’t answered in the car, as we were pulling into the parking lot of the church and I was desperately trying to hide any hint of crying, lest someone should perceive that I was hiding behind my got-it-all-together façade.
This question wasn’t answered that day, or the next, and yet I continued to contemplate it throughout the week, and then slowly but surely the answer came:
All adornment and abuse of the flesh stems from our souls’ desperation for love.
No one on this earth is spawned from a perfect union; therefore, at some point in our lives, man is going to fail us. I am not an exception. And neither are you. Neither are my children.
It hurts my heart to type that, but it’s true.
The only true perfection comes from the only One who is perfect, who is without sin, and loves us perfectly. When we don’t press in to Him, the failure of man becomes obvious to us. Our failures, but – far more obviously – the failures of our spouses, our parents, our children.
We no longer see our loved ones as souls but as flesh. And flesh stinks.
That was evident that morning as I preened, waiting for my husband to patch a longing in my heart that only God could fill.
That was evident when I told my husband that I wasn’t going to church because I wanted to punish him for not loving me perfectly.
That was evident when my heart cracked open and tears poured down my face when my husband reassured me that, yes, I was loved; yes, I was wanted; yes, I was treasured for who I am.
How humiliating. How beautiful. How true of all of us.
I began crying—not only because my husband reassured me of all those things, but because I felt that God was using my other half to reveal to me His face.
I am loved. I am wanted. I am treasured for who I am.
I do not have to adorn my flesh to come before Him, imperfect and desperate for fill, for He loves me perfectly. I do not have to parade before Him in my best thrift store finds, for He sees beyond this imperfect, earthen shell to my soul.
I am not giving up my high heels, my jewelry, my makeup, and my perfume, but I know that my husband does not love me for these adornments.
He loves me for my soul, as I love him for his.
And therefore, I will also come before my Maker even if I have no adornment—if I haven’t prayed or pressed in for days or weeks and am at war with my own stinking flesh.
For He loves me for me. Just as He loves you for you.
He will fill up our broken places if we come, just as we are.
Have you ever felt God fill up your broken places?
Photo credit: “Heart” by USW-UniLife