Monday, November 06, 2006
It's not as if the Christian blogosphere needs another post about Ted Haggard, you know? It doesn't take a genius to see that if you look at Phil's post about this over at TeamPyro, you'll find that every Christian blogger and his crazy uncle Guido has written on it and linked to Phil's post to boot. Adding to that would only be bandwagonish, so I wont do that. This really isn't so much about Ted Haggard anyway, it's more about Mrs. Haggard, and the Haggard children. More than that, it's about me, and my children. Even more specifically it's really about Christian wives and mothers, and their children. Okay, it's about all of those things rolled into one.
Kev (and for those of you that don't know, that's my husband - and he doesn't have a crazy uncle Guido, but he does have a crazy uncle Jerry, which has nothing to do with anything) and I have discussed this issue in the news over the past several days, as I'm sure many other married evangelicals have done with their spouses. There are so many angles and areas involved in this, that hits right at the heart of any Christian church & family. In some ways, we can't help but relate to what the Haggard family is going through right now.
When I first heard about this last week, after my initial lack of surprise (which actually bothers me, I want to be surprised when a leader in the Christian community is at the center of a public scandal), my next thought was Mrs. Haggard, and the Haggard children. As a wife and a mother of a professing Christian man, I immediately empathized with her. How could I not?
However, if the truth be told I did think of the things here and there in my own marraige that could stand some improvements (if we're all honest, we'd all admit there are things like that) and had the most arrogant thought as I think I was trying to make myself feel better about the severity of the issues I have in my own life:
Well, at least my husband didn't sleep with a gay meth dealer.
How dare I think such a putrid self-righteous thought? As quickly as the thought crossed my mind, I felt like a haughty slob, and new thoughts took its place. That might not be an issue in my own marraige but there are plenty of others to keep me occupied in prayer. Like self-centeredness, lack of obedience, temper-control issues, laziness, procrastination. And those are just my own issues that I have hard time with.
I know there are all kinds of books out there that tell men what women think & how we feel, but I suspect most men don't bother to read them. I probably wouldn't, if I were a man. Not because I wouldn't care, but more because as a woman when I've read them, I get this sick feeling in my gut that as I read I find all sorts of things that are supposed to be "wrong" with the way things are and how should desire to improve in this area or that area. I actually feel worse about my situtation after reading, than I did before reading. Even if it's an area that there really isn't anything wrong with! So... I could be dead wrong here, but I assume most men don't beat down the door to the bookstore when the latest "what women think" book comes out, for the simple reason that it's unpleasant. Like a visit to the dentist, when he's having a bad day.
For that reason I want to sum it all up in one simple sentence. I wont sell any books with this, but here's the truth all the same:
WE NEED YOU
There it is. Women need men. We were designed by God to need men, and we do.
As little girls we need good and godly men to raise us the right way. If we don't have that, we suffer greatly.
As young women we need good and godly men in our lives (pastors, elders, youth group leaders, dads, friends of the family, etc.) to help us navigate through the miserable puberty years and help us focus on Biblical goals for our lives.
When we marry, we make a vow before God and men that this man is going to be our husband for the rest of our lives. When we say "husband", we mean best friend, lover, team-mate, confidant, companion, study partner and all sorts of other things. Somewhere in the deepest part of our hearts, we know that we've become one flesh and we want it that way even if he does leave the cap off the toothpaste or never picks up his dirty socks. If we lose him, it's like losing a part of our own physical body because we do become one with him.
We expect to be able to count on him to keep his word, to trust him to keep our secrets, to protect us (and oh boy do we ever need it!), help us, hug us, teach us, laugh with us, cry with us, pray with us, pray for us, fix things that are broken, and listen when we spill our own hearts. We rely on this husband person in so many ways like we rely on our own two feet, or our own hands. He is part of us, and these things have to work in conjuction one with another or things go all wonky. We don't like wonky, it throws our schedules completely off balance.
Naturally then, when I read about the Haggard scandal, my thoughts went to Mrs. Haggard. I don't know that she'd agree with me 100% about what a husband means to a wife, but I suspect if she had the chance to read what I just wrote, she might be nodding in affirmation more than she'd disagree.
Her trust was violated and she was betrayed by the one person in the world that is never supposed to betray you; your other half. Along with that, comes the devastating reality that this same person also betrayed his own children and made himself out to be a hypocrite in their eyes. I don't say this with any kind of malice or snarkiness, I'm only stating the unpleasant truth.
When a woman's children are hurt, she is hurt. When she's already hurting herself, it's a doubly painful reality that only the supernatural grace and mercy of God can soothe. That mercy is the only thing that will prevent her from reacting in the flesh and being angry, seeking revenge, losing her temper, and having irrational thoughts of self-blame.
I thought of all of these things and discussed them with Kev, after we'd initially heard this news break, and the subsequent updates. Every armchair theologian blogger has a thought on this (and many of them I'm sure are excellent God glorifying thoughts), this week. More than anything else though my only thought now is what this woman and her children need. They need the same thing they needed all along, good and godly men (and women) to be there for them in prayer, to help them sort all these things out and to direct them to the foot of the cross. Obviously Ted Haggard needs the same thing but to be truthful, my heart tends to go out to the blameless in situations like this, more than the one who caused the pain to begin with.
So, just a suggestion but as you read more and more about this topic in the days to come, you might ask yourself if there is something you can do about it, rather than just read, discuss and write about it yourself. There IS something you can do, and that's lift these folks up in prayer, that God's wisdom, guidance, comfort and assurance will be theirs in abundance, in the next few weeks and months as they all adjust to the bombshell dropped in their laps over the last few days.
I honestly cannot dare to imagine what I would do/think/feel as a wife of a professing Christian, were this to be my own life situation.
Mrs. Haggard has shared a few thoughts in her open letter to her church this past Sunday, and if you read it carefully, you can see that she's a wounded woman desiring to have the right attitude and do the right thing. You can read this letter at Justin Taylor's blog, here.