“You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of the dust.
You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of us.“
Beautiful Things* is the song that played in the background one night as I read Messy Beautiful Love. I often think about life in terms of theme songs. This was the perfect song as I read the lessons Darlene Schacht shared in her story of redemption. How is it possible that a woman who had been caught in an adulterous relationship would go on to write a book about building a thriving, Godly, self-sacrificing, Christ-centered marriage? How is it that the lessons she is sharing are not based upon her marriage to a different or new husband, but to the husband to whom she had been unfaithful, and has now been married to for 25 years? It is because she has experienced the truth behind…
“You make me new, you are mak-ing me new…“
Ladies, there is an attack on marriage, and the temptation is to focus only on external factors. But, while we are busy fighting external cultural battles, we are neglecting our own hearts and marriages. People often make decisions about the value and joy of marriage based upon the marriages they see, not what we say. Are our marriages thriving? Do we represent Christ well? Can people look at the way we treat our husbands and know that something is different?
Do people look at your marriage and want to be married – not the image controlled facade, but your authentic messy and beautiful marriage? Would a young wife seek you out because she needs help in her marriage? Is your husband proud of the wife he married, or does he cringe when you open your mouth? Are you prepared for the messiness and the beauty of love and marriage?
This is the help Darlene provides in Messy Beautiful Love. She takes passages that many of us may have previously read and presents practical applications to marriage, specifically, but relationships in general. She ends each chapter with a challenge for the reader, and ends the book with 31 days of prayer for marriages. She writes about how God has made and is making her new. She has lived this.
This book is not for husbands and wives (though husbands benefit). It is for wives. It is for women who want to be women after God’s own heart, realizing that obedience and commitment to Him naturally permeates every aspect of one’s life. I appreciate the challenge to work on me. A lot of great marriage books address both spouses, which is wonderful. But, while reading them, I am often tempted to focus on what hubby’s doing from the book, how he’s changing or growing, or how my prayers are being answered in his life. This book is all about me, my actions, my relationship with the Lord, and how that relationship spills over into the relationship with my husband.
But, a bit of honest talk. There are a few times when I read something and was tempted to roll my eyes. Sarcastically reminding myself, “Well, she is the Time Warp Wife.” Dress for my husband? Be quiet when I really want to give him a piece of my mind?? Serve? Submit and obey? Strong women don’t do these. Then I flashed back. Typically when I reject these ideas it is because I want my way. I am not concerned about peace or others. Let’s be honest. Stubbornness and selfishness is not strength. They definitely are not God-honoring. With amazing timing, I read and recalled this quote from the book, “When we walk in humility, treating others with more love and respect than we might think they deserve, we aren’t choosing the way of weakness; we’re choosing the way of strength under control.”(p.111). Truth!
I married at 33, and was quite independent. Seven years, 3 children, two major moves and many ups and downs later, I am grateful for this book. Messy Beautiful Love has served as a beautiful reminder and alarm to avoid future pitfalls – to love my God and husband well, to live as a woman of character and virtue, to encourage, serve and strengthen my husband, to pray for him, to be his best friend, to be his helpmeet (her description of this was life changing) – to continue to be made new.
A True story…
Last night, we were on a plane, and I was on a mission to finish reading this book. I was holding one sleeping twin in my arms. Hubby was holding and feeding the ‘fighting sleep’ twin and engaging the 3 year old. He called my name and I responded with slight irritation because he was interrupting me as I was learning how to be a better wife. (Really???! Epic fail). Then, I realized his reason for getting my attention – he wanted me to witness the sweetness of our 16 month old feeding her snacks to her daddy.
But, the next morning…
Prior to the plane incident, my husband commented on how much nicer I’ve been. He assumed it was a change of scenery, since we were traveling. It is actually because Messy Beautiful Love has been a mirror and I have not liked what I have seen. At any rate, he’s noticed it. He brought me breakfast in bed as I was writing this. The beauty of redemption.
Messy Beautiful Love launched today!! If have a thriving marriage, struggling marriage, or somewhere in between, if are yet to be married, newly married or quite seasoned – this is for you. Go. Get it.
To learn more and read a free chapter go to Messy Beautiful Love.
The messy part of marriage comes naturally.
Blessings to you as you seek, and obey God on your quest for the beautiful.
* Beautiful Things by Gungor, 2010.
*Disclaimer: I received a copy of Messy Beautiful Love to review. The opinions are my personal thoughts and I was not paid for my review.