As I grabbed my purse and headed toward the door, I heard a noise in the garage.
Surely not, I thought. My son had just asked to ride his bike before we left for school. There’s no way he hit a car — more specifically his dad’s new Mustang.
I walked out the door and my daughter blurted out in a tattle-tale voice, “Drew crashed into Daddy’s car.”
I panicked. Rushing over to my husband’s beloved Black Beauty, not even one year old, I saw it. Two little round divots in the paint.
Always Missing the Mark
The rest of the day was a blur as negative self-talk began. It’s all my fault. I should have backed my car out of the garage first. I shouldn’t have let him ride today. I’ve failed again.
Even the best marriage has its point of contention. Ours has always been my husband’s attention to detail and his focus on neatness and taking care of our things. These aren’t bad qualities, of course. I never have to pick up after him. He keeps his space tidied. He’s a good steward of our possessions and takes care of our home with wisdom and skill.
But for someone who isn’t AS focused on the details, it’s a hard standard to live up to. Scratch that. It’s impossible, for me anyway. I have this bad habit of running into curbs with my car and destroying tires, and that’s just the beginning.
It’s not that I don’t try. I do. I’m just a bit absent-minded at times.
The Perfect Wife
When a girl gets married, she decides she’s going to be the perfect wife for her husband. But it’s hard when she realizes it’s just not possible. I long to be the Proverbs 31 wife — you know, the one whose husband has “all confidence in her.” That verse taunts me like the popular girl on the playground. No matter how hard I try, I’ll never be her.
While on a walk this particular day, still beating myself up, a thought occurred to me.
No matter how much I frustrate him in this area, my husband will never leave me because of it. He’s still my husband, and he’s still as committed to me — and all of my foible potential — as he was fifteen years ago when he said, “I do.”
Slowly gratitude crept in and overtook my negative thoughts. Then, the gratitude morphed into thoughts of God.
Marriage as a Signpost
I’ve always thought it a little peculiar that God sees marriage between a man and his wife as a signpost pointing to Christ’s relationship with the Church. But on this day, as I dreaded my husband seeing my failure yet again, I saw a glimpse of how Jesus stands in the gap for me.
Just like my husband will never leave me, despite my inability to measure up in this specific area, God’s love and covenant relationship with me never changes. It doesn’t depend on my ability to meet the standard. He knows I don’t and never will measure up, in this life anyway. That’s why Jesus filled the gap and met the standard on my behalf.
He did what I could never do. He hit the mark when even my best attempts miss it. And just like my relationship with my husband, I can rest in full security that my God will never leave me.
What love is this?! A love that doesn’t depend on us measuring up to an impossible standard. A love that pursues our wretched selves and came not to save those who could do everything right but who came to save those who couldn’t. Let that sink in!
Grace and Acceptance
When I saw my husband a little later, I bit the bullet and told him about the car versus bike incident. His first reaction was, of course, to assess the damage. Then he groaned about a specific command he had given our son that, had our son obeyed, would have prevented this accident. But ultimately his response was grace. Of course, he gave Drew a stern talking-to but the relationship was never in question.
For those of us who tend to be hard on ourselves, sometimes we can doubt God’s grace and his willingness to forgive. We fall into this trap of thinking that if we’re good enough, he’ll love us more. The problem is, we’ll never be enough.
We’ll never be enough on our own.
And although this sounds depressing, it’s actually freeing, life-giving. God loved you and God loved me even though we could never measure up. And when we receive Him, Jesus our Savior fills the gap that we could never fill, and we can rest that our relationship is never in question. We’re His because His love never fails — even if we do.