One quick caveat: as I was reading over the post I linked, I read this line:
...I can never say I'm sorry for talking about us having babies! Hasten the day, Jesus!
It made me tear up, because little did we know that a few weeks later, our long desired firstborn would be rapidly forming in my womb. And now we're halfway(ish--I don't put a ton of stock in my due date after the first go 'round!) through a second pregnancy, en route to meeting our daughter. Grace abounds in our life in so many ways I couldn't count them.
Chief among God's grace to me, though, is Jason, so now, I write to you, my sexy mo'!
[For the record, it's sexy mojangles, though he is the other, more colorful, term, too!]
You Live the Gospel
You understand that it's not about trying to be a good person, or even about saying you're sorry--it's about acknowledging your depravity and receiving the grace to repent. We still argue (I would be most concerned of all if we never did!) but your heart has softened so much in the last 9 months or so that at times I hardly recognize you.
Remember that night when I had been sharp and graceless with you, and you and Rog were sitting at the table waiting for me to bring you dinner? Roger was super groucho, quite impatient and unhappy that his every desire was met, like, yesterday. I said, "Rog, you need to have patience and grace for mama because I am doing the very best I can. Sometimes life just doesn't go the way we want and so even now you have to learn how to rest in Jesus and receive from him patience and grace for others...although I have to repent because I sure didn't have any patience or grace for Daddy earlier." All of a sudden you went, "Dang it!" And I asked what was wrong. You told me that you were chiding me in your head for my hypocrisy, asking Rog for something I was completely unwilling to give you. But then I repented and it melted your hard heart.
|Love my tender hearted dudes.|
You know why I love that story? You weren't that way when I met you. You liked holding a grudge, and felt entitled for anyone who had wronged you to earn the right for you to give them freedom and grace. It was the way you thought God saw you--"I saved you, boy. So now work more, try harder, make changes and implement systems and plans to show that you deserve for me to stick around."
Now that you increasingly embrace the Gospel, you have more rest in your identity of beloved, bought and paid for by Christ's blood for all time. The work is done, and even when you are completely, well, shitty toward God he still embraces and receives you, enables you to repent by the power of his Holy Spirit, because you're already forgiven. As you live this, you have grace and patience and forgiveness for others, by the Holy Spirit's empowering, because you worship Jesus, allowing him to flow through you. This is complete grace to me and it compels me to worship our Lord all the more.
You Point Me Toward Jesus
Even though I don't always love it immediately, you love me enough to call me on my crap and point me to the cross. Sometimes it's lacking in grace and you repent. Increasingly, though, you gently and tenderly lift my chin to stop obsessing on myself and see my ever present Help right in front of me. You're learning to engage, to pursue my heart, and I am more able to be about God's glory and not my own because of it.
You Embrace Your Role as Head of Our Family
It's not popular in our culture, and for the first long chunk of our almost 5 year marriage you said you were the leader but really shirked the responsibility. This is no longer true. I could write a long list of ways you do this, but instead I'll simply say that you are a man who continues to grow in being above reproach, particularly in how you lead this family.
I know I'm not an easy woman to lead and my first instinct is always to figure things out on my own and then decide how I'll allow you to enter in. Instead of beating me up about it, or using it as an excuse to sinfully embrace your own desire to not stand up in your role as head, you challenge me. You press in. You pursue. And, in vein with the previous point, you go to Jesus and beckon me to come with you. Few women have this, yet we were created to live out this role if we are called by God to be a wife. I thank Jesus for it!
You're Pastor Daddy
With this, you are a great Pastor Daddy. Yes, you have a lot of room to grow and you would tell me I'm being overly flattering if I don't mention that. But you weren't always the one to initiate prayer, dinner devotions, Bible reading, etc. Now you are the majority of the time. I know Roger already treasures his nightly Bible and prayer time with Daddy. I love seeing you teach him the truth of who our God is and what it means to live for his glory. I do not doubt that Roger and Juliet will be inclined toward godliness because of your fathering. I thank you for this and I praise Jesus for the grace it is!
You ADORE Your Children
Man alive, you are a great daddy. How many times have you already embraced my belly to say hello to your daughter? You've been kissing my tum and talking to her for the entirety of the months that she's existed. And a sign that you are a wonderful daddy is the way Rog lights up and goes nuts the second he hears your key in the door. I know he loves me, too, but there's a reason his first real word was Dada :)
You know my absolute favorite thing about you as a father? You don't make it about you. So many men get puffed up and proud, as though their child's existence is about them and some sort of validation of their manhood by God. This leads to a plethora of problems, with kids always trying to win their dad's love and affection, trying to measure up. It leads to dads harshly punishing their children, lest the child's bad behavior suddenly invalidate what the man thought God was giving him. And it's all complete crap.
|All four of us.|
You don't do this. It's not that you never will, but you haven't yet. You see Roger as a gift from Jesus, not as a possession. You recognize that our children were created by God and for God and we're given the gift and blessing of it being through our love and marital intimacy. You want Roger, and now Juliet, and any possible future children, to be raised with the knowledge that you are always their second best father. God is their first and best father, and you are under his authority. This is the best gift you can give them--to always exhort them to worship Jesus and not you.
PS Here--how excited am I to see you be a daddy to a little girl? It gets it's whole own future blog post, that's how much!
You're Pretty Dang Crazy About Me
So many times I've wondered how it came about that Jesus said, "And you, my daughter, get to spend your life with this son." I'm secure in your love for me. Your eyes don't wander, nor does your heart. I don't care how many women in our world protest it--at their core, every woman wants to know they're the only one. We all want a one woman man. I have that in you and it's sweeter and more precious to me than any other gift you could ever give.
You Do Ministry Right
As we've been married, you've been called by Jesus into more leadership and ministry roles. I won't naively say your motives are always pure--when are our motives ever entirely pure? That said, you do ministry the same way you pursue Jesus. You get that it's about God's glory, not yours. You read your Bible and read the books and listen to the sermons by the impressive names but you don't do it to impress anyone. Likewise, you haven't gone seeking glory in ministry. You've simply responded to Jesus where he has met you and he has raised you up.
|We're secure because your priorities are straight.|
There's nothing wrong with you pursuing things like deaconhood or the leadership roles you hold, but it's been sweet to see God's story in your life starting with his glory in your heart, then raising you up as he and godly authority have seen fit. As such, you are careful to ensure that ministry is truly about God's glory and call and you don't throw our family on the altar to "obey" God. Yet another thing so many men struggle with but Jesus has blessed our family in you not being that sort of man. Good, good gifts abound with you, my love!
You Still Work Crazy Hard
Can you believe it was three years ago today that you got your first job in the tech industry? And now you basically have your dream job and you're dang good at it. I know it's been said many times, but I never worry about our children, especially our sons, learning laziness from you. You have room to grow in your work being only for Jesus and not for selfish reasons, but even there you have changed so much since I've known you.
|A mid-day nap with a two month old: priceless.|
As a wife, though, it's a precious thing to rest in having a husband who won't decide to be lazy, work part-time, and follow his own pursuits and dreams (even godly sounding ones like ministry). You free me up to focus on being a godly wife and mother, and this is another gift I treasure and pray I won't take for granted.
You Just Make Life Dang Fun
I could write a gazillion more things about you--I'm sure I'm forgetting lovely ones that I'll wish I'd remembered!--but overall life with you is just pretty wonderful. We laugh so much that I'm getting silly wrinkles around my eyes that feel rather premature! We have dance parties and "attack" [tickle] parties with our son. You lose with a laugh and a smile when I kick your butt at bocce ball :) We just have so much fun together! I know there's no such thing as "happily ever after" but I think what we have is pretty close. Life is painful and ultimately it ends in death, yet going through it with you makes the outlook so much brighter.
I pray today you rest in how loved you are, first by Jesus, then by Roger, Juliet, and me, and so many others who consider themselves blessed to know you. Praise Jesus that shortly after blowing up a big ol' mountain he said, "And now, son, you shall enter this world."