I was recently given 89 roses. They were magnificent. And heavy! Whew! My husband, Joshua, gave them to me.
Now, I could tell you they were given to me because he just had me on his mind one day. I could smile big and flaunt to everyone. But that would be such a disgrace to what they mean to me. To be honest, I think a couple of years ago if anyone had found out about my gift, I would have said just that. It was just an extremely thoughtful present. But they are so much more that that. They are redeeming and grace filled. The day before I received my gift of 89 roses, Joshua and I had an argument. One of those big bad ones you have sometimes in marriage.
Oh, you don’t? Ok. Just us then. We had both been going through a lot personally and had placed expectations on each other in the midst of it. And when they weren’t being met we both imploded. I wanted him to be more open and honest about everything and he just wanted me to understand that he struggles with that as someone who has been through deep hurt and to leave it there. We were pretty hurtful to each other and made accusations that were far from truth. And then we walked away from one another for a whole night and day. The silence was deafening. Then he came home with 89 roses.
We talked for what seemed like forever. We were open and honest about everything we were hurting about. Most of it had nothing to do with each other, it was just manifesting itself in our relationship. We said hard truths and offered each other grace and understanding. We asked for forgiveness and gave it freely to one another. God was all over it. Because, trust me, our reckonings don’t usually go like that…
This journey God has placed us on has taught us so much about our marriage. We have learned that we have to deliberately choose to be open and honest with each other, no matter what. We are partners and are in this together. Forever. If we just go off assumptions and half truths we will end up in a mess (erm…like this one). We need all the information. All the time. I need to know where he is hurting, and he needs to know where I am. I need to know where he is feeling weak. He needs to know the same about me. The list could go on and on.
When things are left unsaid, you have to start filling in blanks on your own, and I was never good at guessing games. Especially for a man’s mind. And a man trying to fill in a woman’s unsaid thoughts?! It only creates distance and confusion
Now back to my story. After we had talked, I was looking at the roses and I asked Joshua, “exactly how many roses are here…?” He said, ” I bought 90, but gave one to Cadence (our daughter), so you have 89 roses there.” I was floored! “Joshua, where did you get 90 roses?” His answer stilled my heart. “Well, I had to buy all they had.” My husband, hurting and not understanding at all where I was, went and bought a store out of their roses. For me. My heart was overwhelmed. It is in moments like that I can really see a portrait of who God is. That despite all the hurt I had inflicted on him, he wanted me to know I was loved and cherished.
We have been through so much in the last three years, and I can remember some days being so lost and hurt, wondering if we would ever make it through. But then moments like this one happen, and God brings so much beauty into the hurting. As I stood, admiring this vast bouquet of flowers I just saw grace and redemption all over them. God is redeeming our story for His glory. And offering grace into every hurt. A rose is such a classic unique flower.
It has a long stem filled with sharp thorns that lead to a beautiful case of soft petals. And those petals hold one of my favorite smells. But if a rose is not handled with care and purpose, it can hurt you. Marriage can be the same way. Beautiful, with a sweet smelling savor. But if not handled with care, can become hurtful and hard to maneuver . We let the thorns of hurt, misunderstanding, miscommunication, pride, fear, and silence take away the beauty of the bloom. Choose honesty and openness today in your relationships. Choose hard conversations over the “I’m fine” response. Say I’m sorry and genuinely mean it. Try to really forgive and give grace, if you can, because so much grace is given from the Lord to your life. Verbalize your expectations. That way, together you can decide if they are reasonable for each other. Each of these moments will be like cutting off a thorn. And thornless roses are so much more enjoyable…don’t you think?