WILD AT HEART
A BEAUTY TO RESCUE
tower is built brick by brick, and when she's a grown woman it can be a
If her father
is passive, a little girl will suffer a silent abandonment. Stasi remembers
playing hide-and-seek in her house as a girl of five or six. She'd find
a perfect place to crawl into, full of excited anticipation of the coming
pursuit. Snuggled up in a closet, she would wait for someone to find her.
No one ever did; not even after she was missing for an hour. That picture
became the defining image of her life. No one noticed; no one pursued.
in her family, Stasi just seemed to get lost in the shuffle. Her dad traveled
a lot, and when he was home he spent most of his time in front of the TV.
An older brother and sister were trouble in their teens; Stasi got the
message, "Just don't be a problem; we've already got too much to handle."
So she hid some more—hid her desires, hid her dreams, hid her heart. Sometimes
she would pretend to be sick just to get a drop or two of attention.
Like so many
unloved young women, Stasi turned to boys to try to hear what she never
heard from her father. Her high school boyfriend betrayed her on prom night,
told her he had been using her, that he really loved someone else. The
man she dated in college became verbally abusive. But when a woman never
hears she's worth fighting for, she comes to believe that's the sort of
treatment she deserves. It's a form of attention, in a twisted way; maybe
it's better than nothing. Then we fell in love on that magical summer night.
But Stasi married a frightened, driven man who had an affair with his work
because he wouldn't risk engaging a woman he sensed he wasn't enough for.
I wasn't mean; I wasn't evil. I was nice. And let me tell you, a hesitant
man is the last thing in the world a woman needs. She needs a lover and
a warrior, not a Really Nice Guy. Her worst fear was realized—I will never
really be loved, never really be fought for. And so she hid some more.
Years into our
marriage I found myself blindsided by it all. Where is the beauty I once
saw? What happened to the woman I fell in love with? I didn't really expect
an answer to my question; it was more a shout of rage than a desperate
plea. But Jesus answered me anyway. She's still in there, but she's captive.
Are you willing to go in after her? I realized that I had—like so many
men—married for safety. I married a woman I thought would never challenge
me as a man. Stasi adored me; what more did I need to do? I wanted to look
like the knight, but I didn't want to bleed like one. I was deeply mistaken
about the whole arrangement. I didn't know about the tower, or the dragon,
or what my strength was for. The number one problem between men and their
women is that we men, when asked to truly fight for her . . . hesitate.
We are still seeking to save ourselves; we have forgotten the deep pleasure
of spilling our life for another.
OFFERING OUR STRENGTH
"There are three things that are
too amazing for me, four that I do not understand: the way of an eagle
in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high
seas, and the way of a man with a maiden." -Proverbs
Agur son of Jakeh is onto something
here. There is something mythic in the way a man is with a woman. Our sexuality
offers a parable of amazing depth when it comes to being masculine and
feminine. The man comes to offer his strength and the woman invites the
man into herself, an act that requires courage and vulnerability and selflessness
for both of them. Notice first that if the man will not rise to the occasion,
nothing will happen. He must move; his strength must swell before he can
enter her. But neither will the love consummate unless the woman opens
herself in stunning vulnerability. When both are living as they were meant
to live, the man enters his woman and offers her his strength. He spills
himself there, in her, for her; she draws him in, embraces and envelopes
him. When all is over he is spent; but ah, what a sweet death it is. And
that is how life is created. The beauty of a woman arouses a man to play
the man; the strength of a man, offered tenderly to his woman, allows her
to be beautiful; it brings life to her and to many. This is far, far more
than sex and orgasm. It is a reality that extends to every aspect of our
lives. When a man withholds himself from his woman, he leaves her without
the life only he can bring. This is never more true than how a man offers—or
does not offer—his words. Life and death are in the power of the tongue
says -Proverbs 18:21. She is
made for and craves words from him. I just went upstairs to get a glass
of water from the kitchen; Stasi was in there baking Christmas cookies.
The place was a mess; to be honest, so was she, covered with flour and
wearing a pair of old slippers. But there was something in her eye, something
soft and tender, and I said to her, "You look pretty." The tension in her
shoulders gave way; something twinkled in her spirit; she sighed and smiled.
"Thank you," she said, almost shyly.
If the man refuses
to offer himself, then his wife will remain empty and barren. A violent
man destroys with his words; a silent man starves his wife. "She's wilting,"
a friend confessed to me about his new bride. "If she's wilting then you're
withholding something," I said. Actually, it was several things—his words,
his touch, but mostly his delight. There are so many other ways this plays
out in life. A man who leaves his wife with the children and the bills
to go and find another, easier life has denied them his strength. He has
sacrificed them when he should have sacrificed his strength for them. What
makes Maximus or William Wallace so heroic is simply this: They are willing
to die to set others free.
This sort of
heroism is what we see in the life of Joseph, the husband of Mary and the
stepfather to Jesus Christ. I don't think we've fully appreciated what
he did for them. Mary, an engaged young woman, almost a girl, turns up
pregnant with a pretty wild story: "I'm carrying God's child." The situation
is scandalous. What is Joseph to think; what is he to feel? Hurt, confused,
betrayed no doubt. But he's a good man; he will not have her stoned, he
will simply "divorce her quietly" -Matthew
1:19. An angel comes to him in a dream (which shows you what it sometimes
takes to get a good man to do the right thing) to convince him that Mary
is telling the truth and he is to follow through with the marriage. This
is going to cost him. Do you know what he's going to endure if he marries
a woman the whole community thinks is an adulteress? He will be shunned
by his business associates and most of his clients; he will certainly lose
his standing in society and perhaps even his place in the synagogue. To
see the pain he's in for, notice the insult that crowds will later use
against Jesus. "Isn't this Joseph and Mary's son?" They say with a sneer
and a nudge and a wink. In other words, we know who you are—the bastard
child of that slut and her foolish carpenter. Joseph will pay big-time
for this move. Does he withhold? No, he offers Mary his strength; he steps
right between her and all of that mess and takes it on the chin. He spends
himself for her.
"They will be called oaks of righteousness"
-Isaiah 61:3. There, under the
shadow of a man's strength, a woman finds rest.
journey takes a man away from the woman so that He might return to her.
He goes to find his strength; he returns to offer it. He tears down the
walls of the tower that has held her with his words and with his actions.
He speaks to her heart's deepest question in a thousand ways. Yes, you
are lovely. Yes, there is one who will fight for you. But because most
men have not yet fought the battle, most women are still in the tower.-...continues