Blunt Swords and Cradles as Shields

I was parked in a random parking lot in Lima with Cohen in tow. The phone had rung and I needed some time to have a conversation while not manning a car.  ”You know, I just don’t want to settle for the house and the white picket fence and the 2.-whatever kids,” he had barely finished his sentence before I cut him off, both assuring him those were not my main goals AND letting him know that I wasn’t appreciative that he said it as if they were.

….and this was all before we had even seen each other or had a cup of coffee (in 5 or 6 years anyway).

David is nothing if not intense. He’s passionate. The wheels in his brain never stop turning. You add that to his love for God, his desire for the Kingdom to advance, and his sizable dreams and you’ve got a real force to be reckoned with.

I meant what I said sitting in that parked car. “Me too” wasn’t a lie but you know what is was? It was me answering before I fully understood the breadth and depth of what my would-be husband had meant.

Last night I was lying in bed reading, when this passage from The Hobbit nearly jumped off the page and choked me:

“I tried to find one [a might Warrior, even a Hero]; but warriors are busy fight one another in distant lands, and in this neighborhood heroes are scarce, or simply not to be found. Swords in these parts are mostly blunt, and axes are used for trees, and shields as cradles or dish-covers; and dragons are comfortably far-off (and therefore legendary).”

Swords are blunt, axes are used for trees, shields as cradles or dish-covers….

We’ve been in limbo for some time here. I love our little house. I love that we’ve put our own mark on it. I can look at any wall or floor or cabinet and remember when it was installed and by whom. I’m not one to get attached to spaces, but this little space holds a lot of my history, a lot of our history. We have our house, our 2 kids, and even… (yes, wait for it)… a white picket fence around the front yard.

—Oh, the irony!—

But the thing is for a long time now, we’ve both been battling one form or another of discontentment. Whether its job-related, parenting-related, location-related its just felt like there’s more somehow that is being missed. For David, the man of many dreams (and many abilities), he sees what he wants to chase and I fear (confession time) often I’m one holding things up.

Last night I laid in bed and asked why? Why am I so quick to point out the holes in his plan? Why am I afraid of stepping out into the what-could-be of all those wild dreams? I can tell you that it is not because I don’t trust David. I trust him with my life. All of our lives, without question. He is the most honest, hard working, pull-through-for-you person I know. I know he’s not rash or short-sighted or selfish. I know he will take care of us no matter what.

And yet, I know what it is to be very unsettled. Sometimes I feel silly at how much the past still impresses my knee-jerk reactions, but it does. Less and less, but it still crops up. Since marrying David I have reaped the benefits of a loving husband and shepherd. I know what it is to not cringe at bills and phone calls from creditors. I know what it is to have insurance when you need it, to be settled, to have a safety net, to have someone to share things with, someone to check out the strange noise in the middle of the night. I once lived on the edge of hope, just getting by, with no ability to think past the strain and pressure of the moment. In the last two years, I’ve stopped waiting for the other shoe to drop.

While that’s good and right and just a few of the many blessings of a righteous leader, I’ve taken that comfort and run with it.

When he wants to leap out in faith or jump out on the line for a dream, I can feel everything inside of me resisting. I don’t really care that much about the house or the picket fence, but the security of what it represents? I find myself clinging to that with all my might.

And that’s why the words of Gandolph choked me so tightly. In a world where there are so few heroes and warriors, I’m married to one. In a time when so many men have allowed their swords to become dull and their weaponry to have common uses, I have a husband who is ready for battle, rarely distracted from his vision. And here I’ve been, wanting to use his shield as a cradle. Part of me has been hoping he’ll get used to his axe as nothing more than a tool for trees.

I’m not one much for regret, but I’d be a liar if I said there weren’t times I looked back in the years between when David and I dated in college and when we married nearly a decade later with a twinge of it. I’ve thought about how it could’ve been if we’d have been in touch during those years when he was chasing down God’s direction for his life the abandon of a single, childless 20-something.

About the time we parted ways, David had decided to take some time off of college. He was driving bus in Columbus, reading with an insatiable appetite, digging in to the community at church and becoming the strong, immovable, wise man he is today. I thought he was nuts! Quit school? Why? Just get a degree and then figure it out, I thought. But he didn’t. He slowed down, took a job that gave him lots of time to mull things over, and that’s just what he did. Eventually, he decided to go back and get his design degree. And after that he spent a couple of years studying at the Vineyard Leadership Institute. He spent some time interning in Holland and dreamed of missions. He learned to be a giver and a thinker and a rule breaker.

I’ve been sad to have missed those adventures with him that I’ve barely let myself think about it.

It occurs to me this morning that the last thing I want is to miss adventures with him now.

(Deep breath).(Another deep breath)

So pray for me. Its time I brought out my own axe, sword and shield out of retirement and followed the Hero I know and trust and love. (Deep breath) I don’t want it to be said of us or our family or our community or The Church that we lived in a time where heroes were scarce, dragons weren’t believed to be real or that warriors were too busy fighting each other to go on exploits.



  1. beautiful post. you always write such inspiring things.

  2. Oh, Kate. I’m not an emotional gal, but this post really got me in the heart. What profound words you’ve shared. THIS is what marriage books should be full of. Thank you for writing, and for reminding me that I married a warrior, too.

  3. Such a challenge to us to step out of the place of fear into abandon. Thank you, wise Kate. I love how God has used Tolkien and Lewis to speak to me at just the right time- such rich men with rich words- you’re making me want to read more soon. Thank you for inspiring me with this post :)

  4. Don’t forget that you are the girl who has led many to Christ, who stood for the Lord at college and in high school; who tackled the crazy Christian music scene with your lil sis, who had killer, award winning science projects with titles no one could pronounce, who went to Macedonia and shared the gospel. You have survived some storms and scaled some walls and slain more than a few dragons in your young life. Often, your example of love and faith and refusal to compromise has encouraged and inspired others, me included. You and David are just getting your stride and I say, “GO FOR IT”.

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