1 Peter 3:7 ESV: Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
From this, Pastor Mark spoke to the men (my 22 year old engaged son, too) about being husbands, about understanding their wives (and daughters), what showing honor toward us looks like, and how women are weaker vessels, needing gentle handling - he said women are goblets and men are thermoses. Cute illustration.
And he spoke (pretty heatedly) about what God thinks of men who fail to do these things. About wimpy men and overly MANLY men. He spoke of how frustrated he gets when men neglect their responsibilities as men. He spoke of it passionately. And loudly. I've never heard him that intense before. It was great, actually.
The funny thing is, this sermon - written for the men - had a profoundly moving and unexpected affect on me. I felt protected, important. For the first time...ever?
I am the divorced single mother of two biological, four adopted, and two foster children. I am also adopted myself, and my adoptive parents divorced when I was eleven. Dad experimented with other women over the years of their marriage, and finally found a family he liked better.
Along the way I've experienced what seems to be the standard amount of abuse from an older brother, strangers, men who weren't strangers, and my husband. In short, I don't think I've ever felt safe or cherished. Never very important. No one gave me away at my disastrous wedding, no daddy checked into who I was dating in my equally disastrous teens. He doesn't really keep track of me now. My mom was too busy trying to support us to pay attention either. You can imagine the type of guys I ended up with. Briefly.
Long involved story short, Christ got my attention in my late twenties and my life changed considerably. But despite all the healing He's brought (and there's been much), there are still some pretty deep pains that I've never allowed Him to have. Maybe I didn't know they were there. Thus Lisa, the Therapist (see earlier posts). Everyone knows that these injuries fester if not dealt with - even I am not strong enough or "spiritual" enough to avoid the consequences forever. But I've sure spent a lot of energy and time trying to.
Back to Sunday. As Pastor Mark spoke about what men should be, about what God created dads and brothers and husbands to be, my spirit responded immediately and I lost it. I didn't turn into a blubbering idiot, but I sure needed a tissue box.
The message uncovered - gently - the gaping wounds in my heart that were there from the lack of a daddy. The boo-boos he never kissed away. The tucking ins that never happened. The "I love you"s and being daddy's little princess. Maybe it would have been easier if I never knew dad. Having him around but never noticing me...ouch. Then he left and married a woman with three beautiful daughters, my step-sisters. I kid you not. Straight out of a fairy tale or something.
Anyway, the point is that Pastor Mark's message about how God expects men to be lifted a weight I've carried unconsciously all my life. It isn't my fault that stuff happened. It's very very sad, but not my fault. My father was supposed to be my daddy and he wasn't. My dad, my brother, my ex-husband - all these guys will have to stand before God one day (if they don't repent) and answer to Him because they hurt His little girl.
Of course, I bear responsibility for choices I made out of that pain, and there is bitter unforgiveness I need to address. But Jesus spoke to me Sunday at a real level. He told me that I am His baby girl, His little princess, and I deserve to be treated that way.
Powerful stuff, God's Word in the right hands.
BTW, here is the link to the message. I highly recommend it.