Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Three Dreams... Thirty Years...

He's a moving, breathing home for my heart. The way he thinks, what matters to him, the way he loves --- it's upright, real, selfless, trustworthy, and powerfully gentle - always.

Once, i had a dream, the walk-about-hoping sort of dream.
I was young then, and i wondered about much. I wondered, is there a boy out there whose growing into a man, that could possibly love and care for me. A boy becoming a man who would want to see my face every day and be kind to my heart always. I wondered about the ways of love --- and life --- and living --- and kindness. I dreamed. My dreams didn't have carriages and jewels, i was not a Cinderella-Snow White wanna be. i dreamed of strong arms and kind hands --- a faithful heart that would hold his children like treasures and lay beside me, and only me, each night. I looked at my young self in the mirror and wondered ---- was it possible, would he surely be blind. i felt so completely unlovable, unlovely, un-whatever it would take to hold a man's heart for a lifetime. I didn't want to hold it with a vise on his finger. I wanted to hold a heart gently and in a soft, silent, sure sort of way. I didn't want to compete with the world of beauties ---- i wanted to be placed by God, into someone's safe, kind arms -- arms that would fit perfectly --- because the Creator had fashioned them that way.
That's what mattered to me ---- period.
Some may think of financial success, of homes and cars and status. I wasn't opposed to those things --- but most of all --- i wanted the heart to be right.
Who cares about grand "things" if the heart is cold.

In 1982 i married my walk-about-hoping sort of dream fella. Young and happy we enjoyed life to its fullest. We did the things most young couples do; we melted our lives and our dreams together. We had children, we worked hard, we paid bills, we shared life. Most of the time, it was wonderful; sometimes it was very hard. Nothing is ever perfect this side of Heaven. Sometimes we thrived together; sometimes we held our breath and endured the hits of life -- together. Hard times came heavy --- and there were days when i wondered, "what happened to my dream?".

Then ---- God reminded me...

And so i had a dream, the night-time-sleeping sort of dream.
I dreamed ---- i had fallen asleep beside my Steve, just like every other night for these almost 30 years. In the dream i awakened, wearing the same sleep clothes i had donned the night before, but my eyes opened to find me in a different bed, in a different room, in a different place, alone. The room was lavishly ornate with a ceiling so high everything underneath it seemed miniscule. The bed was large enough for 20 people. Windows surrounded the oblong shaped master bedroom. Sheer curtains blew in the breeze coming through the open windows, with ocean villa scenes hiding behind the waving drapes. Where was i? It was perfect to the eye ---- but not to the heart.
Between two massive windows was a lovely but imposing table. On the table sat a perfect lamp (i am a lamp nut), beside the lamp was a photo. I ran to the picture to see if i knew the framed faces. My heart lurched as i recognized my own smiling face perched beside a strange man. We looked elite, we looked wealthy beyond words, we looked "perfect", it looked all wrong. Why was I sitting so closely beside that man, Steve was not going to be happy at all. Steve. Where was my Steve? I frantically looked about for more pictures. I was in all of them, but there was no familiar face sitting beside me in any of the elaborate frames.
I noticed  --- my skin was so smooth, my hands perfectly manicured, my clothes impeccable, my body very barbie like... And the man beside me in all the pictures was just as polished and perfect. He was handsome for sure, with sort of a Carey Grant suaveness about him, and obviously we were wildly wealthy. But...
I ran into the closet, i cringed that the closet was larger than my precious master bedroom wherever Steve was...
I grabbed clothes quickly --- having no idea whose house i was in, but sensing it looked like i belonged here. I didn't want to surprise anyone else in this hotelsized mansion as i began the search for my "home". With hair barely combed and feet still bare, i ran down a long staircase towards voices in the distance. Bursting into another large room, startled faces turned towards me ---- apologizing for not having my breakfast fully prepared. Whaaattt? They were servants -- my servants. They looked friendly enough, but they did not look at me as if they were my friends. I felt so alone standing before them in this mansion of mine.
I asked them if they knew my Steve, they nodded politely and worked quickly. They knew no such man.
I ran back up to the massive closet, pushed rows and rows of clothes to the side, and began beating on each finely paneled wall ---- looking for the secret exit that would surely take me back to where my heart was. Just days before, we had watched the Chronicles of Narnia. i imagined i had surely arrived at this palace type house through a secret compartment in the closet just as the children traveled to Narnia through the wardrobe. But no panel would open for me; no passage way opened to carry me back home.
I was surrounded by everything material a girl could possibly dream of ----- so how could it feel so much like a nightmare. Everything around me was beautiful --- but nothing mattered --- because my "home" was missing.
I curled up inside one of the fine deep cabinets and began to pray ---- "God, please, take me home -- God, please, take me back to where my heart is..."
As i prayed ---- i awakened to the sound of the alarm clock resting on the bedside table. I held my breath in the dark room, and turned off the alarm. My face was wet with tears and my heart froze as i slowly reached beside me to see if my hand could find familiar skin. Just as my fingers found his arm, he rolled over and encircled me with his sleeping strong embrace.
More tears flowed --- my heart beat again --- the sounds of snoring sang beautifully to my soul --- i was home.

The man God gave me ----- loves well.
He fills up the rooms of the home he provides with a safety and sureness --- he will do what is right and care for those beside him.
He doesn't look for perfect skin --- he looks at my skin and sees it as perfect.
He doesn't look for flawless hands with manicured nails --- he gently holds my hand and sincerely kisses it.
He doesn't expect me to wear the latest, most expensive styles --- he can hold my old worn clothes in his faithful arms and make me feel like Cinderella surely never felt.
He doesn't expect me to look like barbie with altered body parts and perfect lines --- he looks for the woman God made for him, and sees beauty (even when i don't).

When i see all that i am not --- he sees all that i am.
And all that surrounds me fades away when he looks at me.

Once, we made a list of the things we wished most for --- from each other.
The first thing on his list...
----- I wish that donna would believe me when i tell her she is beautiful.

Oh my soul --- what a gift he is from God to me. I can be imperfect with him --- he loves unconditionally. I can be myself with him --- he sees "me".

Yes --- i had two dreams ----
One came true ---- the walk-about-hoping sort of dream.
One did not ---- the night-time-sleeping sort of dream.
Only God could use the realness of the night-time-sleeping sort of dream to magnify the goodness of the walk-about-hoping sort of dream.

My walk-about-dream and i are preparing to live out a God-authored-dream ---- in Africa --- together.
Only God could do all this...

"Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband." Ephesians 5:33 KJV

"No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That's how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become "one flesh." This is a huge mystery, and I don't pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband." Ephesians 5:29-33 Message

Photo taken by Maggie

©2012 Donna Taylor/Reaching for the Robe

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