Saturday was Chris’s birthday. A friend asked me how we celebrated it, and I told her that I was with kids in Wilmington for a soccer game and he was with other kids in Roanoke for a soccer game. (We celebrated a different day!)
I have heard that a great way to tell your kids you love them is by telling someone else (in front of the kids) how much you love them. That’s true for husbands too! Of course, maybe this letter is fulfilling the #15 on the list of ways to encourage my husband, but I not-so-secretly hope others husbands see what my king does here that makes him such a great king!
I am so thankful God brought Chris to earth! March 16th became such a special day for me – because I get to celebrate Chris! I would not be me if there were no Chris; he has helped me more than words can say.
God used Chris’s immense example of humility to give me some. He is a leader of quiet strength. I have watched him see other people (including me!) get credit for his work – and he gladly shares the joy. I have watched Chris back down from a soapbox that was rightly his. He has coated many hammers with velvet in order to aggressively love while humbly teaching truth.
I didn’t think words of affirmation would ever pierce my tough skin – until they came from someone as admirable as Chris. His words have melted me. He says nice things, but yet somehow convinces me he believes them! Most of all, he stands behind those words and shows me where they apply so repeatedly that slowly I start to believe them too. He loses himself in the uplifting of others.
Marriage can have some not-so-fun moments. Chris is fun in the middle of them! (Warning to men: some wives might not have my sense of humor; tread lightly before copying. LOL!) For example, if I were about to lose control over kids stacking dirty dishes (instead of putting them in the dishwasher) I could see Chris putting a dirty dish half-full of cereal on my purse on the counter …to make me laugh.
An outstanding example of his humor in the midst of intensity was years ago, when checking into the hospital in labor with our first baby. I was asked, “Marital status?”
“Married,” I said (in pain).
Chris looked at me in front of the nurses and the waiting room. With disdain in his voice, he said, “You’re married?!!”
He handles adversity. There is a saying he incorporated into our lives that has probably changed our family’s course: “Doesn’t matter! Doesn’t matter! Doesn’t matter!” Picture him saying it in a fast cadence – like the sound of hitting speed bumps in a trailer park at full speed. (Not…that I would know that sound…) He has used that saying to make sure we keep the main thing the main thing. When obstacles come our way, trying to stop us from keeping our eye on the prize, he will chant it, in crescendos if necessary, “doesn’t matter! DOESN’T matter! DOESN’T MATTER!” And whatever it was, it usually didn’t really matter, despite how my Chicken-Little thinking wanted to make it matter. It didn’t matter that the second story bathroom was leaking water through to the living room, right on top of the baby grand piano. In the grand scheme of things, that was NOT grand. (Pun intended.) Financial goals were met when we shut off that bathroom’s water and waited 2 years until we could afford the time and money for a plumber to fix it. I look back at those 2 years without a master bath, and realize it really DIDN’T MATTER. His living by priorities clarified what DOES matter, and he has shown me how to live that way.
Leading is a requirement of any good king. By far, that has been the most attractive trait of Chris – his leadership. It has not always been easy on a marriage (See “turning off water to master bathroom for two years example above.), because his leading sometimes meant that my following required going in a direction against my natural grain. That didn’t stop him from leading. Tough conversations happened. He led. I questioned. He still led. I don’t mean head-down, nose to the grindstone, “I don’t care what you think, you’re doing it my way!” leading; I mean, “I love you; I have prayed; I want what is best for God’s glory, for you, for me, for our kids, and that makes me lead in this direction” kind of leading. It is easier to follow a man who is following the Lord. A velvet hammer. A strong man. Thick skin. A soft heart. A man I will follow to my destiny…born on March 16th.
Chris’s morning begins by reading his Bible; his day is full of working his utmost for his Highest. I am blessed to be joined in this life with him.
Happy Birthday to my babe!