Saturday, January 30, 2010

As Christ Loved the Church

I love my husband. I would like to take the occasion of the interesting week we have been having to brag on my husband a little. We have been beset by a most unwelcome stomach virus in our house this week. Starting last Friday night, no sooner would one kid begin to be on the mend from throwing up all night, when, like dominoes, the next would fall. All three kids eventually succumbed. We have been up virtually every night this week with either full blown sickness or some kind of miserableness. From the first incident, my husband has taken upon himself the worst of the clean up duty. I got up, too, and did my part, but my darling husband took the worst of it, because he knows that this particular type of thing is a weakness for me, especially right now. Small aside, why does it always strike at night? Why not during the day when I can chase the kid around with a bucket and contain the damage? But no, it happens at night when it’s going to get all over the bed stuff and carpet.

He was not happy about having his sleep interrupted night after night, who is? But, even though I get to stay home each day and he has to go to work, he still demonstrated such a servant’s heart this week. And he always does. One huge example of his servant’s heart that still moves me to tears happened a couple of years ago after we suffered a second miscarriage. Just the day before I had realized I was miscarrying, we had gotten the maternity clothes down from the attic. I had not even taken them out of the boxes yet. When we got home from the hospital, I was worn out and still under the influence of some of the anesthesia from the surgery I had had to endure following that miscarriage, and while I was sleeping a drug influenced and depression influenced sleep that afternoon, Drew quietly put away the maternity clothes, because he knew how painful it would be for me to look at them there when I woke up. He is constantly doing things like that, looking out for me and the kids.

I love how he works hard to support our family and to allow me to stay home with our kids. I love how he is coaching the boys’ Upward basketball teams, head coach for one and assistant for the other. He loves his boys and is involved with them. I love how excited he gets when our least athletic boy finally ‘gets’ it and has a great, a great I say, game and how proud of his son he was when the other boys on the team patted him on the back and told him what a good job he did during the game. I love that. And I love how he helps our least mathematically interested boy patiently and how thrilled he is when the light goes on for our son and he understands the math problem. I also love it when our daughter puts on her ‘dress up dancing shoes’ and says, “Dance with me, Prince Charming,” and he picks her up in her arms and dances with her. And I love that he sees the kids' growing relationship with Christ and the development of good character as more important than everything else. I love that he loves our kids.

Is my husband perfect? No. But neither am I. Marriage is such a picture of grace when two imperfect people, two sinners in fact, covenant together to love each other and to live together until death do us part. Both of us believe we made our vows to God and to each other before witnesses who were our family and friends. We hold that covenant as a cherished thing. I love that my husband is not just committed to me, but to our marriage. That is a significant thing. And it takes a lot of grace. God has extended such amazing grace to us in saving us from our sin and reconciling us to Himself through faith in Jesus Christ, and marriage can be such a picture of that grace and light to a dark world. But the neat thing about my husband is that he does this joyfully. He loves me unconditionally, and has demonstrated it over and over and over in such practical ways. I am not easy to live with. He loves me on days when I am just not all that lovable. He may not feel all that loving, I don’t know, but if that’s the case, I don’t think he has ever shown it. He just goes on loving me more than I deserve.

And in that way, he shows a picture of Christ’s love that marriage is meant to show. How thankful I am that I got the privilege of saying, “I do,” to Drew on December 18, 1993. For sixteen years we have been growing together as we’ve walked through a lot. We’ve endured separations due to his Army commitment, and one of the highest compliments he ever paid me was when he told me about how astounded he was by the kinds of trials some of his companions faced with not being able to trust their wives back home when they were away, and how thankful he was that he knew he could trust me and that the finances and home and kids and everything else were being taken care of when he was away. That’s because I love him and I want him to be free to do his job well and not be worried by a flaky wife back home.

I love that we can share what God is teaching us as we read His word and as we hear it preached. That is a very great blessing, to share the most important thing in life together as we grow in the Lord and grow together as a couple.

The word ‘submission’ has gotten such a negative rap in our culture, but I think that is because we have so distorted the biblical meaning of it as to make it virtually unrecognizable. I also have to say that my husband does such a great job with his part of the biblical picture of marriage, loving his wife, that it is a joy to do my part. (Eph. 5:22-33) It is easy to respect a man like my husband, and for that I am very thankful. How grateful I am that I get to spend my life with him.

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