The onion disease.

I have suffered from the onion disease my whole life (or at least for as long as I can remember).  It’s the disease that causes us to add layers to ourselves so that we seem more interesting, or more beautiful, or more Godly, or more anything really than what we know we are.  There are the layers that offer us protection…layers that say I don’t need anybody in my life or I will never allow anyone to know the real me or if I never love then I will never hurt.  We add layers to please others, to fit into others’ ideals of who we should be.  We add layers that say we are okay with something when we know full well we aren’t, but we call it the cost of fitting in…the “I need you to like me” layer.  Let’s be honest.  We all suffer from a varying degrees of onionliness. 

Because for me, (and I’m guessing for many of you) it’s really hard to just be me.  And you know why?  Because if I show you me, the real me…the me without layers of padding and protection and fluff…and you don’t like that me – the one that’s without all the bells and whistles…the one that is just the plain old me – then that means it’s really me that you don’t like.  It’s not that you don’t like who you think I am.  It’s me.  And at that point I could try and add layers to please you but underneath it all, the pain of knowing that you’d rather have the fake would still remain.  And that pain would probably be excruciating.

Why am I like that? 

Is it because I don’t think I’m likeable just like I am?

That would be a resounding YES

Is anybody else out there like this?  Always feeling the need to un-say stuff because you didn’t get the reaction you thought you’d get and you know your cool points total just took a dive?  Always starting your sentences with “I could be completely off-base here, but…”?  Always feeling like you have to be a part of eh-vah-ry-thing because you might miss a key moment and lose your spot with the “in” crowd.  It seems like a constant struggle sometimes to make sure the layers are properly placed and that there are enough of them.  And it’s a struggle that I find myself getting quite tired of. 

I must admit that I have let some of my layers go.  The upkeep on them was just too much.  And of course some of them required other layers in order for them to be effective.  Exhausting.

The prayer is prayed…

Search me, O God and know my heart

Test me and know my anxious thoughts

See if there is any offensive way in me,

And lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:23, 24

 

Enter Jesus.  And His healing Balm of Gilead.  And His Handy Dandy Holy Moley Layer Remover 3000.

Some of the layers come off slowly causing an ebb and flow of pain as bit by bit is torn away and it seems the tearing away will never cease.  Some of the layers come off quickly…are snatched away all at once…and the pain comes all at once and the exposed wound left behind throbs with every heartbeat.  And when the pain reaches the heights of all I can bear and threatens to drags me into the depths, He smears that balm on my wounds.  It is cool and calming.  Its fragrance is salvation to my soul.  And the healing begins. 

And the old worldly layers I have covered myself with for so long slowly go…and He becomes my covering.

Are you wearing layers that are wearing you out?

 Are you ready to let them go?

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With this ring…

My husband is a police officer.  And he’s an amazing man.  He is also a former Marine and he fought in Iraq.  His name means “warrior, protector” which is certainly fitting for him.  Now being a former Marine, you have to know how particular he is about certain things…one of which involves his uniform.  As a Marine, he takes pride in that uniform.  I remember many nights that he would spread everything out in den and put his uniform together.  How tediously he would roll up the sleeves.  How particular he was about shining his belt buckle.  How much time he spent iron creases and making sure there were just right (yes, my husband irons…I told you he was amazing).  So you can only imagine how honored I was the first time he asked me to put his police uniform together.  Basically I just transfer everything from the uniform he takes off onto a clean crisp uniform so it’s ready for him at his next shift…but still.  I don’t take it lightly.  At first I would only take one thing off at a time…badge, belt, nametag, etc…and immediately put it on the clean uniform so as not to mix up where it went.  I know how important it is to him to be at his very best.  And with each piece that I take off the old and put on the new, I pray.  I pray as I put his compass and his eyedrops in his pants pocket, that God would give him direction in all things and keep his eyes wide open.  I pray as I slip his belt through the belt loops that he would also put on the belt of truth that God gave him so that he will walk in that truth as a son of the Most High God.  I pray as I put his badge on his shirt, a symbol of his authority as an officer of the law, that he would also carry himself with the authority given him in Christ Jesus.

And I want you to know also that my husband prays for me.  I lead a Bible study and before I go each time, he prays for me.  Many times his prayers are short, sweet, and to the point.  He doesn’t mince words.  However, even those few words still set the heavens in motion and those short sweet prayers still storm the gates of hell on my behalf.  (And as a bonus sometimes if I’m extra lucky, I even get a little background harmonica music with those prayers…but that’s a whole other story.) 

Now, don’t think for one second that we are a perfect couple.  I really stink at being his wife sometimes and he’s a poophead from time to time himself.  But he is my covering and I am his rear guard.  It wasn’t always this way.  In fact, there were times I wondered if we would make it…but we have.  And we will.  As God works in mine and in my husband’s lives, the result is that as we draw nearer to God, God draws us closer to each other.  And every time my husband speaks the name of Jesus, my heart just soars and I fall in love with that darling man all over again.

Paul talks about marriage toward the end of Ephesians 5.  He explains that husbands are the head of their wives, just as Christ is the head of the church and as well that wives should submit to their husbands in all things just as the church submits to Christ.  Sometimes we get this thing all mixed up as far as what it means to be submissive and what it means to be the head…because we have to remember that both of these are paralleled by Christ and the church and the relationship there.  A husband in holding the position of head over his wife, if done by Christ’s model, will do so with honor.  He will stand in the gap for her.  He will seek the Lord in all things and therefore will be worthy of her trust.  He will never tear her down but will always edify her.  He will encourage her as she builds her faith and he will walk with her in the ways of the Lord.    And a wife in being submissive to her husband, will do so knowing that he has her best interest at heart.  She will cover him with prayer and encourage him in his faith.  She will have great respect for him as a warrior in God’s army and will not do things or say things to others about her husband that will be dishonoring to him.  She will trust his judgement knowing that he seeks guidance from God in all things.

I don’t really know why I felt led to share all this with you.  I guess in a world where divorce is more and more common and the institution of marriage is continually taking hits, it would seem as though this were a battleground on which the war is raging.  And married or not, we must all fight in this battle.  We must pray that God will strengthen marriages, that He would continually give spouses eyes only for each other, and that husbands and wives would keep God at the helm of their marriage.  We must pray that God draw spouses hearts toward each other and to Himself.  We must pray that God will instill in husbands that desire to protect and edify their wives…to love and cherish them, and that wives would be encouragers for their husbands…lift them up and honor them.  Oh Lord Jesus, renew passions, heal hurts, restore brokeness, strength bonds, bind hearts together… 

And the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh.

What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.

Mark 10:8,9