Sunday, February 15, 2009
My Husband, My Valentine
Many years ago, my husband presented to me a most precious gift. Unbeknownst to me, he had been journaling the highlights of our life together in a letter he titled "Memoirs of a Happy Man". It entailed all the little just-between-the-two-of-us moments that made us 'us'. Our trips to the beach where he gave me piggy-back rides so I wouldn't get sand between my toes...the scent of my perfume...the late night dinners we shared after the kids went to bed. This tender and special letter went on for pages and didn't end at the last memory. Every few years he updates his Memoir by including the most recent memories that remind us of our life well lived.
Somewhere in the middle of his chronological Memoir was written the most important memory of ours. A moment in our lives that will never be superseded by something more important. A moment that ensured we'd be spending eternity with the Father. He wrote of the time that we, side by side and hand in hand, met and fell in love with Jesus.
Since that life-changing moment, our memories have more meaning. They reflect eternity. They show the Father's love and the Spirit's presence. In essence, our memories are now all about Jesus. They are either directly about Him, or are surrounded by His characteristics.
Since today is Valentines Day (OK, it's actually the day after Valentines Day, but I began this post several days before Valentines Day, so that has to count for something), I thought I would publicly share some of my own personal highlights of my God-loving husband. I'd like to introduce to you a man who loves Jesus and isn't afraid to make it known. A man who uses Christ's example of loving the Church as his sole example of how to love me. The man Jesus created my husband to be, and his willing and passionate response to that calling. A few of the 'God-Things' in our lives. A few of the outward actions of my husband that come from a heart that follows after the Lord. Meet my husband...my valentine.
"Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs,
and He will give you all you need from day to day
if you live for Him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern."
In a current world where many people are faced with job loss, God has seen fit to bless my husband with continued financial security by not only keeping him in his career that he loves, but by giving him a 13% annual raise. We completely acknowledge this is of the Lord. I mention any of this because as the sole provider for our family, I know a large part of my husband's time and energy goes into his work schedule and that isn't something to be overlooked. Because my husband finds his strength in Jesus, he is able to give to his career in such a way that doesn't take him away from us. As my husband daily seeks direction and discernment from the Lord, he is in turn blessed with an abundant supply of time that can be shared between both career and home. He's not only a financial provider to us, but more importantly a spiritual provider, continually bestowing respect and honor towards me and my role as full-time home manager. I rejoice in the Lord for calling and equipping my husband to be a reflection of His provisions for us. And I'm thankful for His meshing of our two hearts into one, as we share the same vision for what our roles are in our family. Daily I'm given the opportunity to see God's heart through my husband as he comes home with wonderful spiritual stories of what took place that day at work. The Lord provides all our needs, and as He shows me more and more His provision through my husband, the stronger my love is for him...and Him.
"For you have been called to live in freedom -
not freedom to satisfy your own sinful nature,
but freedom to serve one another in love."
Outside of our precious Lord Jesus, my husband is the most impacting, sold-out, sincere example of a servant in my life. Rarely, if ever, does he put himself first. And because my husband is quick to listen and slow to speak, his words are chosen carefully with the intent to glorify God. Just as Jesus bent down to wash the feet of sinners, my husband's servant heart usually shines through strongest in action. (He may have taken the Lord a little too literally on the feet washing, as he does indeed wash my feet. But he then goes on to polish my toenails, and I don't remember reading that in the bible, so....). However, my husband continually works with a cheerful heart at allowing me to accomplish my schedule of events before his own. He joyfully comes along side me in my ministries to help make them smoother and more meaningful. He uses the love of Christ to reinforce his faithfulness to me and our marriage by working along side me in being an extreme hands-on dad, preparing dinner, accomplishing household chores, helping with church functions I'm involved in or praising and supporting the gift of painting for others I've been given. Most importantly, he's always pointing out the spiritual purpose in them, giving Godly direction and council through the Spirit.
"Be glad for all God is planning for you.
Be patient in trouble,
and always be prayerful."
Our marriage is no different from others in that it is continually under spiritual attack. Being aware of this, my husband makes it his top priority to cover me in prayer. As the leader of this home, he knows it falls to him to be the chief intercessor on my behalf. It is not uncommon for me to awaken to his opened bible on the counter top right next to his love note he leaves me every morning. Nor is it uncommon for him to wake me up by laying hands on me and speaking to our Father about my upcoming day. One of the greatest areas of growth in my husband since giving his life to the Lord has been his protection of us in the spiritual realm. He pleads with Jesus about all topics and areas, so whether my husband has a great day and all his actions prove as such, or he's having a hard day and seems to be lacking in many areas, ultimately I have the constant reassurance that he is seeking the Father daily. He prays alone, he prays with me, he prays with our children, he prays with co-workers....he prays because he has an appointment to do so, he prays on the spot....he prays for life and death situations, he prays for the smallest of detail. This is one of my favorite qualities of my husband as it's such a strong reflection of the Lord. Jesus spent much time in prayer, and not only do I feel more connected to my husband through our prayer time, but I feel closer to the Lord as we pray as one-flesh. As is the case with all areas in our walk with Him, our Lord isn't allowing my husband to grow stagnant in his prayer life, but is bringing him to a deeper understanding of it by asking him to begin leading us in prayer and fasting. How amazing this chapter will surely be in our marriage. To see the excitement in his eyes and the trembling in his voice as he proceeds to tell me the great things our God has shown him through this is one of my favorite things. It's such sweet fellowship with both Father God and my husband. Indeed, the best of both worlds.
"You must warn each other every day,
as long as it is called 'today', so that none of you
will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.
For if we are faithful to the end,
trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed,
we will share in all that belongs to Christ."
Just as Jesus is our primary source of purity in this world of perverted...everything, the Lord is more and more equipping my husband to fill the earthly role of moral compass in our marriage. With his new life in Christ, my husband has been given new eyes to see and a new heart to discern with. I believe my husbands leading, praying, serving, and other Christ-like qualities wouldn't hold much weight if he wasn't willing to also exercise an unfailing stand against the impurities of this world. Setting the standard in a house full of mini-men is not an easy responsibility, but nothings impossible with our Father. The Lord daily fills my husband to over-flowing with zero tolerance to unclean language of any kind, monitoring with high expectations our television or movie watching. It isn't uncommon for him to turn a movie off in the first 3 minutes if something is deemed inappropriate to the Lord's standards. Also in the line of Jesus' will is his zero tolerance to any kind of representation of women in a jaded light. Jesus has an open invitation to come mingle in our midst whenever He feels He'd like to, so if it's not something we would watch, talk about or associate with while the Lord is in our presence, then it's deemed inappropriate, and rightfully so. My husband seeks to exhort us in this area and I have come to expect nothing short of a narrow path of acceptance from him, gladly. Some might believe this leaves us to live in a small world, but just the opposite, our world has broadened and reached such beautiful views by living within God's boundaries. Jesus loves us and wants His best for us, and my husband strives for us to meet Him in this area.
"The person who wishes to boast
should boast only of what the Lord has done"
2 Corinthians 10:17
As much as the Lord has blessed me with the ability to love my husband with His heart and see my husband through His eyes, I should probably keep the remaining thousands of things I love about him between the two of us. But bringing to light these few areas is just one way of honoring the work the Lord is doing in him. It truly is all about Him. We both know that, and we both love that.
I love you, Valentine!! :)