bury your wife {entitlement & indulgence}

the soul indulges in its various delights. a movie & a glass of wine at the end of the day. delight. a day at the beach, making eye contact with no one but my book.  delight.  but say the word sacrifice & my flesh screams. say three more sleeps until daddy is home & i begin to cry. just mention the word airport or meeting or delayed flight & my soul sinks. there is sacrifice & then there is just life.  i have spent the greater part of this year learning to distinguish between the two.
when my two year old beckons me up twenty one stairs for the upteenth time well past bedtime. that's life.  when my husband is caught in traffic, two hours away or dinner has been burnt to a crisp & i am frizzed to a frazzle. c'est la vie.  when poop is pouring out of every clothing orifice on a sunday morning & i have less than a three wipes chance of saving that onesie.  that's having kids. sacrifice is all about the giver.  all about the heart. it isn't sacrifice until it's intentional. unless there is a choice. a setting apart. a giving of one's self willingly toward the other.  it cannot be forced or squeezed from one's heart, pried from one's fingers.  it is the tangible manifestation of a generous heart.  an overflow of love broken on the alter. an offering of one's conveniences, of one's comfort, of one's priorities, of one's plans. a surrendering of one's life.  a death to self.
it is the same with marriage & entitlement. gathering all of my husbands nights off to myself. entitlement. having him by my side for every uncomfortable moment in life. entitlement.  having my husband share the night shift with four sick kids.  entitlement.  having my heart awakened by my husband's passion for the kingdom, his fervour for the King. that's marriage. oh, how that makes my spirit leap. sharpening like iron meets iron, pushing me toward my Saviour. marriage.  illuminating & awakening the work of the Holy Spirit in me, pursuing the magnificent perfection of Christ's glory here on earth.  that, is covenant keeping marriage. he is not my fellow mom. he is not merely my aid. and although he is indeed a helper & a comforter, he is not the Comforter, the Councillor, the Helper. he is my God-given partner on this journey called life.
i have often made marriage something it is not.  i feel as though i have woken up from a "cultural mirage" as john piper puts it.
"how much more will the magnificence of marriage in the mind of God seem unintelligible in a modern western culture, where the main idol is self; and its main doctrine is autonomy, and its central act of worship is being entertained... such a culture will find the glory of marriage in the mind of Jesus virtually incomprehensible." 
{john piper, the momentary marriage}
marriage is not, in essence, about me. it is about the glory of God. there are times when marriage is sacrifice.  not necessarily to the other person but to God. it is a picture, a reflection, a display of the most intensely wild romance of all time, Christ's pursuit of the church, His pursuit of me.  i have only begun to scratch the surface of this revelation & i already feel like i've been set free from my "small, worldly, culturally contaminated, self-centred, Christ-ignoring, romance-intoxicated, unbiblical view of marriage" and released into the wild wonder of God's purpose for marriage {john piper, the momentary marriage}.
i once heard keri jones share a story about the best advice he had ever been given about marriage.  at the announcement of his engagement to his now wife of many years, a wise man said "don't forget to bury your wife".  keri thought he miss heard what he said and clarified that it was indeed a marriage they were to celebrate not a funeral.  the wise man said "i know. don't forget to bury your wife on the other side of the cross".  this story has completely radicalized my perspective & experience of marriage. the wise man was opening a revelation about putting the pursuit of your wife second to your pursuit of Christ.  some could argue that you serve Christ while serving your wife, a two-in-one deal.  and that is true to some extent.  but there is a seat in your heart that only one can sit on.  i have seen many enthrone their loved ones or themselves unknowingly on that throne, in the name of marriage, in the name of family, even in the name of Christ.  but there is only One worthy to sit in that throne.
i have made the mistake of thinking that because marriage & kids have been a part of my life long dream, because i have wanted it since i was small, that it was about me.  about my dream.  about serving my own happiness.  my own fulfillment.  but alas, it is the holy sacrifice of dreams.  it is an all consuming flame.  an alter to the King.  in essence, when marriage is purposed, for those who carry the same revelation, it is an invitation to come die with me everyday, in every way. it is but a door to the cross.
the time has come for me to make the choice to live for the King & build His kingdom instead of living for myself & building my life.  i know i could build a happy life, with my four beautiful kids, in my lovely home, with my loving husband, living in the top 1% of the world.  and i could be content.  it would be a good life.  but good is the enemy of great. i know i would rob the world, rob my children, rob my spouse, rob myself & my soul of what i was born to be. in truth, if what i live for at the end of the day is a glass of wine & couch time with my hubby i will be wholly unsatisfied & i will gradually lose myself. at the end of my life, when i stand before the Holy King of Kings, in all His majesty, i will stand as an individual, without the things of this world surrounding me & i will have to give an account for how i spent my soul.  and what i want say on that day, what i want to have lived without any doubt is that He is my Lover, my Pursuit, my Life and i cannot live for anything less than seeing the fullness of His glory perfected in me here as i am a wife, as i am mother... as i am a great many things. and this is the great mystery. when one gives up something of great cost to the Beloved, when they plunder their lives for Him they are found full. filled to overflowing satisfaction. complete. unwanting for anything. when they break themselves open for Him they are found whole.

"marriage refers to Christ & the church- every marriage, no matter how pendulum-like because of our sin; every marriage, even if the couple doesn't care a bit about Jesus...God designed marriage to be a picture.  that makes me ask myself, how clear & well focused is the portrait of Jesus that our marriage is displaying" {noel piper}


  1. Love this Sarah....so much in here, SO much. I'll be thinking about this for quite awhile. I wonder sometimes how you juggle it all - the early years are SO hard in terms of time-intensiveness - there's just so much need from the short people all.the.time and when you have four of them...well, needless to say I can't really imagine. I find it hard enough with my two. I often wonder about how you juggle it with your husband's other commitments...necessary commitments, GOOD commitments...but commitments that leave you a pair of hands short when dealing with the day to day.

    B and I often talk about outside commitments from a team perspective - that when one of us commits to doing something we try to place it before us as a thing WE are doing - and that one of us is going out as an ambassador for both of us. But even so I find it hard when we're in a season where B is the one out most of the time to not be frustrated by it in the moments.

    I like that this post gets me to think about it in a slightly different way again - ordering things properly.

    Love you - you are great; thanks for making me think & helping me dig deeper.



    1. oh, yes i know that feeling all too well! but all is transformed into grace & glory. all is a journey, a moving from grace to grace & glory to glory. He is so good to us. :)