The one who would be my last boyfriend.
The one who would be my only husband.
The one who would know how to push my buttons.
The one who would never stop making me feel beautiful.
The one who would push me to succeed.
The one who would hug me tight when the world broke me.
The one who would kiss me softly when the world hated me.
The one who would tell me the truth when the world lied.
The one who would watch me struggle through loss.
The one who would give me my dream of life...to mother a child.
The one who would see me fail and still choose to love.
The one who would teach his sons about the life of a man.
The one who would take his daughter on her first date.
The one who would learn to love hugs and kisses from little hearts.
The one who would love to be present for every Christmas gift purchased for his children.
The one who would watch countless children's movies just to hear his kids laugh.
The one who would bring home pizza and make the house squeal with more excitement than necessary.
The one who would see all the worst of me.
The one who would rarely get my humor.
The one who would make. my. day. if he laughed at my joke.
The one who would quickly become my forever favorite worship leader.
The one who would prove to me that I could do things I doubted.
The one who would see me through a different set of eyes.
The one who would provide for his family.
The one who would serve at his church.
The one who would pray for anyone who asked.
The one who would do as Jesus did.
The one who would walk with confidence like few others.
The one who would say only what he meant.
The one who would hate the phone and always call while he was gone.
The one who would text me, from the couch, to bring him a Pepsi.
The one who would not enjoy reading, but still encourage me to write.
The one who would write songs for his King.
The one who would sing with more passion than I ever knew he was capable.
The one who would be gifted more than most people would ever take the time to know.
The one who would teach me.
The one who would help mold the best me.
The one who would speak highly of me.
The one who would (Nerf) sword fight me in the kitchen (and break a glass) to make the kids laugh.
The one who would have to tell me when he was flirting because it was always painful. (Haha!)
The one who would wrestle his children on the floor.
The one who would think constantly.
The one who would be spontaneous if he was in the mood.
The one who would spend and re-spend $ many times in his head before ever entering the store.
The one who would be capable of almost anything.
The one who would say (and believe) that he was invincible.
The one who would hurt easily, but hide it well.
The one who would submit.
The one to whom I would submit.
The one who would stand alone, if it was for what was right.
Although this man I chose would often be misunderstood.... I would always try my hardest to understand him. I am his prayer warrior. I am his cheering section. I am his forever faithful friend. I am his partner in life. I am the one whom he loves more than himself. I am all his and he is all mine. I love him more than I show some days. I love him more than I say some days. I am the one his parents prayed for. And he is the one I asked God for.
My fourteenth wedding anniversary was last Saturday on April 18th. I woke up just a little bummed. Back in January, my husband's grandmother had passed away. Since she lived in Florida during the winter months, her husband waited to do a memorial service with her children and their families back in PA. When he picked the date for the service...guess which day he chose? =/
The morning came and I awoke, fancied up my family and myself and off we went to the service. I had told my husband the night before, when we were out on our celebration date, that I felt like the day was not going to be at all about me. I laughed. He smiled. I was mostly joking...and only very slightly serious. ;-)
It seemed unlikely to me that God would speak to me during a service such as this...and yet He did. My husband's grandmother's husband got up to speak after the pastor had finished. He began to tell the story of the last months of his wife's life. He struggled through as we all watched in silence. Most of us had no idea what those days were like for him. As he was talking about how difficult it was to see her so close to the end...he said something that hit me hard.
"I still meant the vows I spoke when I married her. For better or worse. In sickness or health. I was going to stay with her to the end...because I promised that I would."
I needed to hear those words. My husband is not sick...and neither am I. Our relationship is strong and centered in Christ. The thought of either of us leaving is not a thought at all. I just needed to be reminded that God values those vows. He heard them. He longs for couples to remember those words that they promised to each other...before Him.
It is hard to find couples that live and love like they still believe those words. I say couples...because it only takes one to destroy the hope found in them. One cheating heart. One fallen away from faith. One willing to give up and leave the other without a choice.
What then? Romans 5 has something to say about someone who feels as though they are in a hopeless situation. Starting in verse 3 and going through verse 5 it says, "we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out His love into our hearts but he Holy Spirit, whom He has given us."
Hope does not disappoint us. I LOVE THOSE WORDS!!!!! I have used them many times to change a friend's pity party into praise. The difference between someone who wallows and someone who rises above...is Jesus.
I have seen marriages all around me end. And in the midst of it...I have seen absolute brokenness turn to unexplainable strength. I have seen dependency on 'man' shift to independence with Christ. I have seen lack of faith turn into faith unbreakable. Unshakable. Faith restored. Hope found. And joy....no longer dependent on world-measured happiness.
The question was recently asked of me, "How would you define the joy of the Lord?" What would you have said? Think about it. How is it different than happiness? I encourage you to write down your definition if you'd like.
Here was mine...
The joy of the Lord...
Is joy unexplained.
Joy unbreakable by circumstance.
Joy that is not, can not be faked.
Joy that can be seen through solemness and through pain.
Joy is more than happiness, because it is more real than just a smile, kind word or gift.
Joy is the presence of God and an intentional spiritual mindset in all times, at all times.
The joy of the Lord is Jesus in us, actively and regularly moving through us, no matter how it is perceived or whether it is accepted...and yet we do it with a heart of gladness as onto HIM!
Joy does not always appear happy...but is instead always content.
God will speak to us some days in the most unlikely of places. He will help us to find solid hope and unexplainable joy in Him...when it makes no sense. His ways are not ours. (Can I get an Amen?!) His thoughts are higher than what we can fathom. Yet He chooses to speak in ways that we will understand.
Hold tight to hope in Christ.
Find joy in all places.
Remember promises that you have made before God. He heard them. He remembers every word you have said.
Take pride in holding true to your commitments.
Your relationships matter...work on them. Pray for them. Try to hold others more highly than yourself.
Love. It is the most important...and it covers all things.
I'm so in love with the man God gave me to experience life with. It isn't always sunshine and roses...but we always have love. It softens the hardness. It lightens the darkness.