We pull close to each other in the dark, in our usual way. Legs and arms in a tangle, my head on his warm chest. The hushed sounds of a sleeping home. His breath is slowing as he drifts. I am pressed heavy with the weight of a parenting failure. I know I won’t sleep unless I confess to him. The words creak out slowly. He listens. The tears come in a hot rush, the wracking sobs. He holds. He strokes my hair.
He speaks grace. He speaks grace.
He tells me it is wrong, but that it is okay. He forgives me. He tells me the Gospel. In my desperate fear that I will never overcome this, I will always keep floundering and failing in this area of weakness, that I will keep spiraling farther + farther down, he silences me. He reminds me that the strength I have to obey comes from God who gladly gives me all that I need for life + godliness. He calls out the attack of the enemy on our family. He commiserates with my weakness. He, too, knows what it’s like to fail in this way. He tells me the plan for the weekend, the plan in place to protect ourselves from falling into this ditch again. We will take it a step at a time, he says. We will do this together. He loves me, even now. Even as ugly as I am. Even when I hate myself. He loves me. He holds me. He doesn’t push away, he doesn’t hesitate to stay with me and to keep loving me. He prays over me, he prays for me, he prays for us both. He kisses me.
This is the beauty of marriage. He can drive me crazy with how he leaves scraps of paper everywhere, how he leaves the laundry piled, how he forgets, how he moves so slowly. I can drive him crazy with the disorganized refrigerator, my slow morning starts, my managing. But in the dark of night–he is there for me like no one else. He loves me at my absolute worst and my ugliest. He doesn’t just love me at arms reach–he pulls me close. He accepts me.
This is grace. This is the Gospel. This is the unfathomable gift found in an imperfect marriage between two ordinary sinners-turned-saints. Christ in us, the hope of glory (Col. 1:27).
This is the uncanny, inexplicable love that Jesus demonstrated for us when He gave up His life for us while we were yet sinners. While we were still sinning, utterly undeserving. He loved. He bled. He gave.
I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
Incline your ear to me; hear my words.
Wondrously show your steadfast love,
O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand.
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
Hide me in the shadow of your wings,
From the wicked who do me violence,
My deadly enemies who surround me.