To My Husband, Who Loves a Woman With a Broken Mind

As I battle with a broken mind, you battle with a broken heart, feeling helpless and confused from the weight of it all.

We weren’t prepared for this. Certainly “for better or worse” sounded so romantically bittersweet. I’m not sure many of those entering into a lifetime of marriage say those words and think of being worse in a way they cannot see. In sickness and in health“—a deathbed, an epic medical failure, a withered body with a hand to hold. We take our vows and imagine the contrast of these words will not be tested until our relationship has matured through the decades. But we know better than that now, don’t we?

The truth is, I’m broken in a way we cannot see, you cannot understand, and I cannot fix.

This hurts, and it’s painful in a way we’ve never known. And as I battle with a broken mind, you battle with a broken heart, feeling helpless and confused from the weight of it all. Together in our brokenness we feel through the dark, searching for answers but arriving only at one: this is the journey He has given us to endure together.

“My eyes are blinded by my tears. Each day I beg for your help, O LORD; I lift my hands to you for mercy.” {Psalm 88:9}

Of all the people who have seen how I fight, you’re the one who sees how I lose. The anger. The crying. The silence. The sorrow. The cycles. And oh, how I pray. I read. I study and meditate and memorize and fast. I confess and repent and plea and seek. I calculate and document and strategize and equip. The battleground of my mind is soaked with the blood of the Lamb—with every blow of the curse comes the swell of the gospel in its place. Battered and beaten I march in the trenches, wet from the streams of red mercy which flow from His side.

And this is the bride you were given. And this battle is for a party of five.

You, me, the Holy Trinity. It’s no mistake that the worst of me is meant to bring out the Christ in us. Together we are one flesh (Mark 10:8), and this flesh—however weak—is what keeps us together. Paul writes,

“In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. Indeed, no one ever hated his own body, but he nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.” {Ephesians 5:8-9}

This one flesh, this broken mind and broken heart, we are to nourish and cherish as best we possibly can this side of heaven, leaving the rest up the God’s good plan and purpose. Yes, he can save us from this fiery furnace, but even if he does not, whom else have we in heaven but One who paved our path to its gates?

If there was another way to sanctify this one flesh of ours…oh, if there was another way. Do Jesus’ words ring loud in your ear yet?

“My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” {Matthew 26:39}

This is what he has chosen for now, for the good of our one broken flesh. Somehow this chronic trial is also what he has designed for you all along—this is our brokenness, and together we limp to the cross for our hope and restoration. Indeed two are better than one.

“If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” {Ecclesiastes 4:10}

United we stand, united we fall, and united we remain through it all—because that’s Christ in us.

Beloved, this is agony some days, but God knows what he is doing even when we don’t. Don’t lose sight of eternity when the minutes seem to last for months. We are weak and broken vessels, but these jars of clay the Father cups into his hands and holds close to his holy heart. The days we feel like the least, we are the most exalted; the days we feel like the lost, the most found; the days we feel like the weak, the most strong. It makes no sense by human wisdom, but in God’s economy this is the way to glory.

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,” {2 Corinthians 4:17}

Ed Welch writes, “When we get God’s story right, our suffering confirms that we belong to him; it does not mean that he is distant and unresponsive. Suffering is a time when he is most obviously at work, and our spiritual task is to turn to him rather than try and manage our world our own way.” This is the nature of the task we are to accomplish together through Christ in us. We think we must wrestle with God for blessing like Jacob did long ago, not realizing that the kingdom is already ours—we need not struggle for it anymore. Instead, we are called to fight not for blessing, but for the glory of the One who by grace has made his reward our inheritance.

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice–the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” {Romans 12:1}

For the man who loves a broken mind, take courage. The Lord has not called you to heal, he has called you to love.

You have a front row seat to the pixels of pain in our picture, but Jesus sees the whole of the canvas. He knows the shades and the strokes and what it takes to brush together our masterpiece. Up close, it cannot be appreciated for what it is to be—a color here, a blend over there, a splash of paint thinner to dilute the opacity down. These things make no sense without the perspective of the whole. Only the Painter, who has meticulously planned the process of creating this portrait, can make full sense of the method of his skill. The brush strokes lay eagerly in anticipation for the work to be complete, that they may finally see what the wait was all about.

Henri Nouwen wrote, “When we are crushed like grapes, we cannot think of the wine we will become.” Beloved and friend, we cannot imagine what we will become as we are pressed in this way, but we do know where it is leading. We may not always feel it, see it, or believe it, but together we wait on Him. In all of our brokenness, he is accomplishing his purposes for us, in us, and through us. One flesh. One Love. One Image. One glory—because that’s Christ in us.

“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Now we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this surpassingly great power is from God and not from us. We are pressed on all sides, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” {2 Corinthians 4:7-11}

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This article originally appeared at FaithfulSparrow.com.

Christine Chappell
Christine M. Chappell is a wife, mother of three, and the author of "Clean Home, Messy Heart: Promises of Renewal, Hope, and Change for Overwhelmed Moms." A former business owner and marketing trainer, she now balances home life with raising children and growing in Christ. Christine has a deep passion for ministry of the Word to women–desiring to bring God's Word to bear on spiritual and emotional battles such as panic, fear, depression, anger, and anxiety. Her personal blog is faithfulsparrow.com and she can be found on Facebook (Facebook.com/cleanhomemessyheart) and Instagram (@christinemchappell).  

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