Tuesday, November 26, 2013


On Saturday morning I woke up to a snow-covered farm. The motor on the pellet stove had gone out a few days earlier. I sat bundled up near the box heater that the Cowboy had picked up at Walmart the night before. No one was awake. The sun was rising quietly over the east hill, the one that shades the farm and keeps the snow thick on the farm fields.

I love the farmhouse in early morning.

With my tea in hand, I grabbed the book that I had been waiting all week to read, but quiet moments are rare in this place, and this gift of time on this snowy Saturday morning, felt glorious.

And the words on the pages were so rich I didn't want to put them down...

"Marriage is not mainly about prospering in this life; it is mainly about displaying the covenant keeping love between Christ and His church. Knowing Christ is more important than making a living. Treasuring Christ is more important than bearing children."

"Marriage is a momentary gift... It may have many bright days or it may be covered with clouds.If we make secondary things primary we may be embittered at the sorrows we must face. But if we set our face to make of our marriage mainly what God designed it to be, no sorrows and no calamities can stand in our way. Every one of them will be not an obstacle to our success, but a way to succeed."

"The beauty of the covenant-keeping love between Christ and His church shines brightest when nothing but Christ can sustain it."

The kids woke and the Cowboy cooked breakfast and there were treasures to love on, diapers to change, discussions about kindness to be had. I put the book down to engage in my life...

But then the older ones wanted to sled and the littlest guy took a nap and there I was again, wrapped up in a blanket on the couch in a quiet farmhouse, lost in rich, life-giving words.

It started out with this glorious benediction to those who are just getting started...

"Welcome one another... for the glory of God. That is God's Word for your marriage. Thank Him for it. Thank Him for leading you thus far; as Him to establish your marriage, to confirm it, sanctify it, and preserve it. So your marriage will be for the praise of HIS GLORY. Amen!"

"Most foundationally, marriage is the doing of God. And ultimately, marriage is the display of God."

"Staying married, therefore, is not mainly about staying in love. It is about keeping covenant. "Till death do us part" or "as long as we both shall live" is a sacred covenant promise__ the same kind Jesus made with His bride when He died for her. Therefore, what makes divorce and remarriage so horrific in God's eyes, is not merely that it involves covenant-breaking to the spouse, but that it involves misrepresenting Christ and His covenant. Christ will never leave his wife. Ever. There may be times of painful distance and tragic back-sliding on our part. But Christ keeps His covenant forever. Marriage is a display of that! That is the ultimate thing we can say about it. It puts the glory of Christ's covenant-keeping love on display."

The Cowboy's not much into reading so I've learned over the years that if there's something I want him to read with me, I have to read it first and then give him the cliff notes. It's not that he doesn't want to hear...  He'd just rather read The Word each morning in the bathtub, and scan through hunting magazines in his spare time. So whenever he'd walk into the living room I'd give him nuggets and ask him all sorts of questions, wondering if he thought, "our marriage to display HIS splendor?" I read further into my book... 


"The aim of the godly husband's desire for change in his wife is conformity to Christ, not conformity to himself."

"What is so astonishing is that egalitarians don't embrace what every ordinary reader can see in Ephesians 5. After declaring that there is mutual submission in verse 21, Paul devotes 12 verses to unfolding the difference to the way a husband and wife should serve each other. You don't need to deny mutual submission to affirm the importance of the unique role of the husband as head and the unique calling of the wife to submit to that headship. The simplest way to see this is to remember that Jesus himself bound himself with a towel and got down on the floor and washed his disciple's feet (the bridegroom serving the bride), but not for one minute did any of the apostles in that room doubt who the leader was in that moment. In other words, mutuality  of submission and servanthood do not cancel out the reality of leadership and headship. Servanthood does not nullify leadership; it defines it. Jesus does not cease to be the lion of Judah when he becomes the lamb-like servant of the church."

"To provide spiritual food for the family, you must know spiritual food. This means that a man must go hard after God. You can only lead spiritually if you are growing in your own knowledge of God and love for God. If you are feeding your soul with the Word of God, you will be drawn to feed your wife and your children."

"When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden and God came to call them into account, it didn't matter that Eve had sinned first. God said, "Adam, where are you?" (Gen.3:9) That's God's Word to the family today: Adam, husband, father, where are you? If something is not working right at the Piper house and Jesus comes knocking on the door, he may have an issue with my wife, but the first thing he's going to say when she opens the door is, "Is the man of the house home?" That's the way it happened in the first marriage. That's the way it'll happen in our marriage. When a man joyfully bears the God-given responsibility for Christ-like servant leadership and provision and protection in the home__ for the spiritual well-being of the family, for the discipline and education of the children, for the stewardship of the money, for the holding of a steady job, for the healing of discord__I have never met a wife who is sorry she married such a man.Because when God designs a thing such as marriage, He designs it for His glory and our good."

"A Christian woman does not put her hope in her husband. She does not put her hope in her looks, her intelligence, her creativity. She puts her hope in God."

"And when a woman puts her hope in God and not her husband and not in her looks, and when she overcomes fear by the promises of God, this will have an effect on her heart; It will give her an inner tranquility. That's what Peter means in verse 4 by, "the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." (1 Peter 3)

"Submission does not mean agreeing with everything your husband says... submission does not mean leaving your brain or your will at the wedding altar... Submission does not mean avoiding every effort to change a husband... Submission does not mean putting the will of the husband before the will of Christ... Submission does not mean that a wife gets her personal, spiritual strength primarily through her husband...submission does not mean that a wife is to act out of fear..."

"Submission IS the divine calling of a wife to honor and affirm her husband's leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts."

The kids got cold and came inside. They all brushed their teeth and put on some dry clothes and the Cowboy drove us all up to Denver to have lunch at IKEA. {Ya, IKEA's a cheap and fun outing for our little family. :)}. I talked the Cowboy's ears off the whole drive...

What about this...
"But the reasons I stress living vertically from the grace of God and then bending out horizontally in forgiveness towards your spouse are: 1) because there is going to be conflict based on sin and strangeness, and 2) because the hard, rugged work of enduring and forgiving is what makes it possible for affections to flourish when they seem to have died; and 3) because God gets glory when two very different and very imperfect people forge a life of faithfulness in the furnace of affliction by relying on Christ."

And this...
"...Husbands and wives, drive into your own consciences these huge truths__ greater than ANY problem in your marriage__ that God has "forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross." (Col.2:13-14) Believe this with all your heart, and bend it towards your spouse."

And this...
This is the beginning of how husbands and wives forgive. They are blown away by being chosen, set apart, and loved (Col. 3:12) by God. Husbands devote yourselves to seeing and savoring this. Wives, do the same. Get your life from this. Get your joy from this. Get your hope from this__ that you are chosen, set apart, and loved by God. Plead with the Lord that this would be the heartbeat of your life, and your marriage.

We came home and had cereal and bagels for dinner. The Cowboy fed the baby and let me take a bath get further lost in my book.

If it isn't obvious by now, I absolutely love being married to The Cowboy.

I am a well-loved woman. And I am immeasurably grateful.

May I always remember that my marriage is short, only but mist...

"Marriage is a momentary gift... It may have many bright days or it may be covered with clouds.If we make secondary things primary we may be embittered at the sorrows we must face. But if we set our face to make of our marriage mainly what God designed it to be, no sorrows and no calamities can stand in our way. Every one of them will be not an obstacle to our success, but a way to succeed."

Marriage is the laying down of self, that we all might know Christ more and more. Marriage is the reason there is a dog sitting next to me right now... yes, a dog... inside the farmhouse.. lying at my feet. And would you believe that it was my idea to bring her inside? I was worried she might be cold out there in the snow. I had once vowed that this day would never come.

The laying down of self doesn't mean becoming something that you're not... in fact, it is the becoming of who you were always meant to truly be. It's utterly selfless and gloriously beautiful.

After a chapter of "Little Britches", all of us gathered in the living room listening to the Cowboy read of adventure on the Colorado Frontier, we put the treasures to bed and met each other in the quiet dark of our room. It's in the farmhouse safe-haven where we come together vulnerable and bare. It's the place where we witness the glory of the extravagant love that Christ lavished on His church, when He laid it all down for His beloved.

With the lights down low, he whispers prayers to the giver of marriage, asking him to establish, confirm, sanctify and preserve our marriage... for His glory and our good.

It was gloriously tender Saturday at the farmhouse...

By John Piper
Photos by the lovely
Crystal Miller @