Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Missionary Embrace

14 years ago I married my best friend.

14 years ago with knees shaking, tears streaming, and a quivering voice I managed to repeat Ruth's  pledge to Naomi. A pledge that I was making to Patrick . A pledge that would ring true year after year leading to the 14th year…..

Where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge.  Your people shall be my people , and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me , and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.

Until now, these words of Ruth had slipped past my lips and fallen on rocky soil. Never tended, never watered, never fertilized. I could not have know that this woman, Ruth, would come back into my life, my home, my marriage in the most significant way. Her life story, written in my heart language, would enter itself into my home and become a familiar friend. She would rest herself on my kitchen table and capture the hearts of the two, who just 14 years earlier, had repeated  her most famous passage. A passage taken from her desperation to follow the one who had changed her life with love and devotion. A story of courage that led to redemption. A life unfit, but covered with grace. So, too, are the lives of the two that are now headed to Africa. Two, that do not deserve to be a part the great plan. A plan so perfect that it can take the lowest of the low and use them to be a vessel of His glory.

Ruth's  pledge to Naomi would again be repeated on my lips to Patrick and take on a new meaning. It would no longer lay among the rocks and thorns but would penetrate, take root, and grow.

So, now, two years after being planted in the heart of my man and repeated over and over as a daily mantra - here we stand moving into our new home for the next five weeks. It hits us both. Patrick stops and asks if he can give me a hug. "This is real? We are really getting to do this?" We both have to stop and take a deep breath.

I am sure that it sounded a lot like the exhale that Ruth made when she chose to leave Orpah and her Moabite family and follow Naomi into the unknown.

May we be so faithful.

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