Some years ago, I read a parable of three women that became my guide for how I wanted to live Christian womanhood--but, unknown to me, that story poisoned my vision of womanhood.
This was the parable, as I remember it.
Taking a quick break from my Incredible Journey posts, I'd like to highlight a meditation that has recurred often for me recently...
Is marriage a distraction from whole-hearted devotion?
When I was single, I often struggled with a disturbing fear: that my future marriage would distract me from true, single-minded devotion to God. That was always very concerning to me, even though I vaguely understood that having a husband would likely consume much of my time and--let's face it--my affection.
But our eyes are on you.
The Judeans were a desperate people. The kingdoms of Ammon, Moab, and others were marching against the people of Judah.
"A great multitude is coming against you..."
This was no secret thing. All of the people knew it. Imagine the panic. Work postponed for the day as the people gathered tensely to hear what their king would say to comfort, to rally. But as he looked out over the assembled families--even the children! the children!--he felt only the sick acid knot in his heart. He had to stand and he had to speak and he had only one thing to say.
It first showed up in November. I felt exhausted, crippled with aching flu-like pain, and edged with the threat of tears. At some point during the worship service, my fiance leaned forward and whispered, "Do I need to take you someplace more comfortable?"
Torn between my desire to be with the people of God, but aware that I was unable to actually enjoy their presence, at last I acquiesced.
My legs had turned to jelly and the cacophony in my head made sight difficult, so my fiance led me. As soon as he opened the outer door of the church sanctuary, a wall-blast of light assaulted me. My legs crumpled.
Paul picked me up and carried me to the closest couch. For the next hour, my entire body spasmed violently, alternating between tremors, full-body whiplashing, intense contractions forward and backward. It was the first time anything like that had ever happened to me, and yet, as my soon-to-be-husband prayed quietly over me, I felt perfectly calm. Even as a prisoner of my body, my mind felt utterly relaxed.
"What can I get you?" Paul asked as he stooped over me.
"New tonsils," I replied. It was week two of mono--a virus like the worst, longest, and most painful flu you can imagine--and I felt like a disgusting ball of misery.
Paul laughed softly and seated himself next to me on the couch, careful not to bump me or to move suddenly. After hours--weeks, really--of caring for my every little need, he knew that my best therapy was simply having him near.
"She is a brave woman."
My husband spoke the words thoughtfully, knowing full well what he said, but my heart was still breaking for my friend.
"But over twenty miscarriages!" I sobbed, unable to stop the tears. "No woman wants to be brave for that reason."
He was right, and I was right. No one is ready to be brave, because bravery demands so much more pain than we ever think we are capable of enduring, and so much more trust than we dare to give. And yet we are called to be brave.
People used to tell me, "God will bring you a husband when you least expect it!"
That never made sense to me, because I was never not praying for or keeping my eyes open for a husband. I wasn't desperate. I wasn't chasing down every potential candidate. But I desired marriage and I was always aware.
So how in the world would God bring me a husband when I "least expected it"?
I wrote this in May of 2016 and, for whatever reason, I never actually posted it. It just sat in my drafts...until now. Because Joy is something worth sharing about. Enjoy!
"Oh!" I gasped as I looked down at the street from the second story window. "It's raining! Look how beautiful it makes the world!"
My friend laughed. "You're cute, you know that? Most people dislike rain."
Later, as we prayed, my friend said, "Thank you, Lord, for giving Yaasha such joy..."
And it hit me like a spray of sunlight through clouds. My joy was a gift.
Some time ago, I walked upon a beach, breathed upon by soft darkness, draped in the glimmer of an infinity of stars, touched by the wet sand beneath my feet, and in the company of a young lady whose compassion and friendship has blessed me immensely.
I felt the Lord's presence as I have only rarely felt it before.
And for half a moment, I felt a twinge of alarm.
When I broke my nose playing high school soccer, my whole game changed. Up until then, people had commented that I was an aggressive go-getter. My coach assigned me as a striker because, even though I couldn't really kick straight, I could move the ball up the field so that a more accurate teammate could score for the team. I wasn't afraid to get into a tangle with an opponent in an attempt to steal the ball.
One day, I approached an opponent who had the ball and prepared to swipe it from her. She kicked--and the ball blasted right into my face.
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.