cover [kuhv er] – to place something over, as for protection, concealment, or warmth; to envelope; to offset (an outlay or liability)
I will admit to you that I spent most of my single dating years just like that picture up top. Hidden. Only allowing the men that I dated to see parts of me. The parts I thought were my best. The parts that I thought they would be most attracted to. The parts that were most acceptable. I liked my eyes but I hated my wide mouth. So I blinked alot and smiled very little. Crazy, right? Right. But this wasn’t just about my physical attributes. It extended to my emotional and spiritual self as well. I was comfortable with showing only parts of me because I thought if they…anyone really..got to know Tracey in her entirety…they wouldn’t want her. I would be rejected. They would find me weird or too this or that (as if knowing a blinking, no smiling, half a person is not weird enough – LOL). And most of the time, I was. Rejected, I mean. But often I wonder if those rejections had more to do with the parts of me that they didn’t get a chance to see versus the parts that they did.
Yet, I’m clear about one thing. It was mostly a spirit of fear that kept me from revealing myself. A fear of rejection, of course. But also a fear of denial and a deep mistrust of God, myself, and most people. These were things that I was taught by fear early on in my life and it was something that the enemy used to perpetuate this brokenness in me well into my adulthood.
However, after one year of marriage, I can honestly say that I’m finally getting free of this. It’s a process but it’s happening (I feel like screaming “it’s a miracle!”). You see, marriage…at least one that both parties are fully invested in… doesn’t afford you the chance to hide. Your mask, no matter how well adhered…eventually wears off as the highs and lows of life together begin to reveal your real self. You are now exposed and naked before your mate daily. Not just physically. But again, emotionally and spiritually. All of the beautiful, broken, crazy, ugly, wonderful, wretched, parts of your being are brought to their attention, and maybe most importantly, yours.
That’s why I love when the word “cover” is used to describe how spouses should treat each other. Because that’s what my husband does for me. Yes, he sees me (intimacy)…all of that good/bad stuff has most definitely been exposed…but then he “covers” me. He protects me. He “offsets” my liabilities. He demands that the world see both my beauty and brokenness through his love. Through his eyes. Now this is where I should be saying…”and vice versa” but truthfully, he is the one doing most of the covering. And as a result of that kind of patient love and security, I have become increasingly more comfortable with myself; his physical, emotional, and spiritual protection brings out so much of a fullness within that even me, with all my words, can’t explain it. All I know is that I relish the freedom of this transparency and the awesome feeling of showing my whole self to him and to the world.
It’s a beautiful thing.
And I guess that’s why the bible says, “Husbands love your wives like Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25)” Because isn’t that how Christ loves us? By covering us. Through his sacrfice, His blood, he forces the world to see us through his love in spite of the one-sidedness of it all. On that cross he “offset” our common liability: sin. And only within His love are we made whole. Because of it…we can walk fully and confidently; experiencing an unexplainable comfort in our identity.
I’ll say it again. It’s a beautiful thing.