When I met Dalton and began to feel the stirrings of the Spirit upon my heart that he could be the man that I was going to marry I remember a day where we were taking a break during class and I watched the boys wrestle and play on the beautiful green grass of that school campus. As I was watching Dalton I remember this thought dropping into my mind or spirit or perhaps both…”What if he stays here forever? Would you still say yes?”
Now for this to make complete sense I have to give a little bit of context. I loved the House of Prayer and my spirit resonated with this new prayer movement that was beginning to emerge across the earth. I agreed with it and felt the significance of it. But…I didn’t necessarily feel like I completely fit in it. I was pretty much raised, as in from the day I was born again, in a “laboring” or “working” in the nations context. There was a place in my heart that burned for the nations and felt that I was made to interact and minister to broken, unsaved, lost people. So when the Lord asked me if saying yes to Dalton meant saying “yes” to something that didn’t necessarily make me feel like every part of my heart would be kept alive ministerially speaking, it was kind of a big deal.
I remember weighing the question out in my head while watching him. And then I asked him, “So, do you think you’ll be here forever? Like, until Jesus splits the sky?” And his answer was just as I suspected, “Yep, I’m committed to this and I’ll stay here until I die or He splits the sky.” He said it and I would be lying if I said it didn’t sting a little bit. I knew that if I said yes to marrying this man (which he hadn’t even come close to asking me at this point, in fact, I don’t even think he knew my name – long story – deserves its own post) I was saying “no” to things that I loved and thought would always be apart of my life, things that I thought defined who I was and that I would be saying “yes” not only to the love that was growing inside of me for this man but to all that he was made to do, all the passions of his heart, all the things and places and people that the Lord called him to. I felt the sting and yet there was something so attractive about his commitment. There was something so attractive about the dedication to believing so much in something that he would be able to say, at 20 years old, “I’m not afraid to say that this is what I’ll do for the rest of my life.” There were plenty of 30 year old’s that I knew that weren’t able to put there roots down and commit so deeply to something. There was something stable about it, safe about it. Somehow the attraction of the maturity that he carried outweighed the sting of the sacrifice I would have to make. So, right there, on that grassy field under that beautiful blue sky, I said “yes”.
It’s important to point out, as I stated earlier, that Dalton hadn’t even come close to asking me to marry him at this point. We barely knew each other. You may be thinking, “But, he hasn’t even asked you anything?” or “He hasn’t given you even the slightest inclination that he is even interested in you, you crazy lunatic!” So, who was I saying yes to? Which brings me back to the initial asking of the question – who asked me? The Lord did and that’s who I answered. It wasn’t even about Dalton at the time, it wasn’t even about what we would do with the rest of our lives, but it was about my everlasting husband securing my trust in Him. Securing my trust in His ability to love me, care for me and lead me even when I was binding myself to an earthen vessel that would struggle with sin and was still being sanctified into the likeness of Christ just like I was. It was important that my trust was placed not in a man, but in the Lord’s ability to lead that man, guide that man and keep that man.
I didn’t know much about Dalton at the time and as the weeks would progress I would learn that he too had a heart for the nations. I would learn that he desired to see “laboring” and prayer no longer be separate entities but that they would be one expression just like it was in the early church. I would learn that there was a strong chance that he may not stay in New Zealand and within the context of a House of Prayer for all of his live long days. Of course learning all these things caused my heart to grow in excitement that maybe we really were a good match after all! And maybe I wouldn’t have to let go of as much as I thought I would have in the beginning!
But the Lord, He really is perfect in His leadership. Time went on, Dalton did in fact end up asking me if I would marry him, we did in fact get married and we did in fact begin a family together that is still in its growing stages. The Lord knew that the importance of that question that he asked me in that grassy field wasn’t about whether I was willing to stay in New Zealand or the House of Prayer forever, it wasn’t about whether I was willing to lay down things that make my heart come alive, it wasn’t about whether I trusted Dalton’s ability to make good decisions for my life – I mean, all of these things are important and legitimate and do carry their significance and in posts to come I will talk more about them. But ultimately, it was about me making the declaration in my heart that I trusted the Lord, my Good Shepherd, to care for me and lead me through all the twists and turns of life even in the context of marriage. I was nothing but excited about the idea of marriage back then – I ached for it – which was appropriate. But I was very naive to the hot refining fire I was about to enter into that would be constantly burning and purging me of all of my impurities. This fire that I was about to dive into head first. I had no idea the path of taking that passionate and immature love and maturing it and making it a strong tower that can not be shaken by any storm that may come our way.
Our husbands are many things to us, our provider, our carer, our love, our friend, our companion, our support, our safety and the list goes on and on and on. But we must always remember in the course of marriage, that they are only humans. They are not perfect nor will they ever be until we are face to face with our Maker. And we must remember that all the good things that they are for us in this life are merely a reflection of that which He is for us for eternity.
I guess I say all of this to communicate that I am convinced that the Lord has us bind ourselves to another human being that is altogether not like us, talks different, hears different, thinks different, eats different, plays different, etc…all so that we are given yet another opportunity to completely depend upon and trust in the Lord with every fiber of our beings. That in every moment that our husbands care for our hearts perfectly and we feel completely safe, secure and at rest within their covering we could rejoice in the perfect leadership of the Lord and His ability to take care of our hearts and sustain us through every season of the soul. And so that in every moment when our husbands makes a mistake and hurts our feelings and makes us feel vulnerable and uncertain we can cling to the perfect leadership of the Lord and His ability to take care of our hearts and sustain us through every season of the soul. We bind ourselves to our spouse and in doing so we, at a deeper level, bind ourselves to Him. Our confession at the altar is “I bind myself to thee (Dalton)…I bind myself to Thee (Lord of my life).”
He holds us together perfectly, He keeps us from falling, He is our strong tower that we run into and find safety, He is forever leading us, forever guiding us and forever caring for us and He is the One we will spend all of eternity with. He has given this wonderful gift called husbands to demonstrate and exemplify the love that He has for us in a practical and tangible way – but marriage is a moment – and He is forever. We must trust Him more than we trust our husbands and we must trust that His order of things, husbands leading their wives and children, is the perfect order of things. And when we feel uncomfortable and unsure of what comes our way we must first go to the Lord and ask Him to help our hearts.
That day I said yes, I was saying yes to the leadership of the Lord and I was confessing that I trusted Him. I have clung to that moment day after day, year after year, to keep me and sustain my heart when things begin to get hard in life. I trust in His ability to lead my heart…and when I don’t feel like I trust Him…I remember that day that I said “yes”.