HOW TO BE FREE... indeed
OUR HOUSE: The Bedroom #3
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
On Saturday Jude and Mo and Sunday spent the night. We had our usual fun with Pops: eating quesadillas and popcorn, trekking out in the dark to walk to the park around the corner, watching The Apple Dumpling Gang.
As I puttered and ordered my home, I relished their laughter over the silly innocence of the Wild West as Disney depicted it. Simple, harmless, fun.
The next morning they each took their turn in the bathtub. Sunday first, with pink bubbles and Amma’s lotions. A girl in all her glory, beautiful and sure of it.
Then the boys. They wanted G.I. Joe’s in with them, asked for the green bubbles that smell of pine trees and adventure.
I poked my head in just to be sure the water stayed in the tub, and they hardly noticed me. Jude, I’m sure, was dreaming up a story. There were battles to fight and bad guys to vanquish.
What struck me as I bustled about getting ready for church was this: they are free. Free of inhibition, free of shame, free of that pressing need the rest of us feel to be perfect, to measure up, to conform.
If I could only hold these moments forever. Just pause right here in this place of innocence, of freedom.
Because I know what’s ahead; the hurt, the bruises, the embarrassment, the mockery.
The world of boys becoming men is brutal.
I watched it with my own boys.
How John Mark’s passionate enthusiasm was made fun of. How Matt’s gregarious greetings were sometimes met with sullenness and how he learned—the hard way— to restrain his joy, to hold back.
I ached as only a mama of boys can ache, over how the assault on my sons bound them with cords of shame. How, too often, they seemed pressed into less than who they were made to be.
And I ached for Sunday too, because I know that…
The whole world seems to conspire to steal a woman’s freedom.
I remember when my daughters knew their own beauty— when the mirror reflected loveliness, not flaws. I miss those days when my daughters knew they were princesses and warriors all wrapped in one, fearless and free.
What happened to my girls? To my sons? To me?
What happened to the freedom that marked us as children? Where did we lose our firm belief in our own beauty? When did we lose sight of our strength and begin to cower under the gaze of a merciless world?
And more important:
How can we get our freedom back?
Because, my dear daughters, that is what our husbands need from us more than anything else— freedom.
Freedom to love and be loved, freedom to find our own strength, freedom to be ourselves without inhibition.
And I know it’s complicated; I realize that simple steps don’t work. But I also know that it is up to us to clear the obstacles in our path to freedom. First we ask God to show us, to give us insight into ourselves and what is holding us back. Then we obey…
1. Forgive freely because nothing binds us tight like bitterness. Forgive every man who has hurt you lest you build walls that no man can penetrate. Forgive your husband for not being what you’d hoped he’d be. Forgive yourself for not being perfect enough or skinny enough or simply enough.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving the other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4v32
2. Encourage freely because to give words of courage to your husband and to yourself is to set the both of you free of unrealistic expectations. Telling him that you love him, that you like him, that you love his touch and welcome his body, that you’re so glad he’s yours… those are freedom words.
“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love.” Ephesians 5v1
3. Give freely because in giving we receive. When we give without holding back, with passion, with generosity—that’s when we receive. Give and give and give until he’s satiated with your loving, and you’ll know that freedom of absolute abandon.
“…Freely you received; freely give.”Matthew 10v8
4. Give sexually because when you freely embrace your own sexual passion, he is set free to be who he is. He knows that when you give with abandon, you’re loving him, enjoying him, wanting him. Nothing speaks courage to a man like a woman who wants him.
“Come together again” and again and again “lest Satan tempt you…”
I Corinthians 7v5
Your freedom is the key to unlock courage in your man.
The man whose wife is sexually, emotionally, and spiritually free knows a boldness of soul that releases his own inborn manliness. He becomes that little boy in the bathtub— able to conquer, eager to explore, fearless.
Against the backdrop of your freedom, he becomes free again. Free to love with abandon, free to feel intensely, free to pursue and respond, free to fail and to risk and to try again.
Praying, and hoping, and wanting you and every woman to know freedom,
From my heart,
P.S. I want to wrap every girl-woman and every boy-man close and hide them in the safety of a mama’s love. But I can’t. My arms aren’t big enough. The real world is too big, too unsafe for unsuspecting innocents.
But I know who can.
I know the One who keeps us safe, loves us sure, likes us as we are. He’s the One who relishes geekiness, infuses souls with warrior like strength. The One who sees our beauty and celebrates our loveliness.
Can you tell us how He is setting you free to love with abandon?
(image by Hillary Kupish)