Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Dear Future Husband

Dear future husband to Adelynne & future husband to Aubrey,

Today, as I picked up Nolan from school...his half day, while Aubrey and Adelynne attend full-day, he said  to me, "Where's my girls?  They comin' home too?"  When I told him we'd get them later today, he dropped his shoulders, puckered his lips, and sadly said, "aawww."

This is just one of the many visuals I get when I think about the relationship between Nolan and Adelynne & Nolan and Aubrey. I also see them each stop in the school doorway to hug and kiss him goodbye each morning.  I see it when they walk into the door each afternoon and ask him first how his day was, the way they praise him when he had a good day, and the way they encourage him to do better when it was a not so pretty day.  I see it in the way they divvy up homework and play time with Nolan.  "How about I'll do my homework first while you play with Nolan and then when I'm done, we'll switch," Adelynne will say.  I see it in the way they battle over who gets to sit with him at dinner.  I see it in the way he prays on the way to school in the morning, "Fank you God for my Adie, my Aubrey...and...and...trucks."  I see it in the way Aubrey boldly talks to her class about Wiliams syndrome, proud of her brother.  I see it in the way they both, separately, on the same Sunday, grabbed a prayer request card from the pew and wrote, "Please pray my brother will accept Jesus."  I'm not even kidding...I was sitting between them, trying to hold in the emotion from realizing their deep, passionate, enduring commitment to loving this boy.

I tell you all this only to let you know, that marrying into any family is never easy. There are family dynamics that are uncertain at times and uncomfortable.  There may even be people you inherit that quite frankly you don't care for.  There are illnesses, there are additions, there are life changes and hard times.  But, in our case, each of these girls come as a package deal.  I've prayed for you for a very long time, and before Nolan was part of our family, I prayed that you would love Jesus first, them second, and that you would have many of the same qualities as their daddy. They know this as the "3 criteria for a husband."  :)  I'm serious, ask them. But, I'd now like to add a fourth...you must love their brother.  By that I don't mean...

Oh sure I love your brother.  He cute, he's funny, I love him because you love him honey...

I mean LOVE him.  I mean love him so much you'd reconsider taking Aubrey or Adelynne far away from him to live because that would devastate him so.  I mean love him enough you overlook the nuisances of an adult with special needs.  I mean love him to where he's with you two often, at your house often, and goes places with you.  I mean love him so much that no one can tell whether or not you're his brother or brother-in-law.

This is no easy task, just as it was never easy for them, growing up...worrying over surgeries, worrying over whether or not someone's making fun of him, worrying over what will happen to him if he dies, being asked to deal somewhat with adult concerns at a much younger age than should be asked of them.  I ask that if you can't sign up for the package deal, that you love her enough to let her go.  But, if you are willing to sign up for the package deal, we welcome you into our family with open arms.  I promise you, either of these girls is a catch, and having the privilege of being loved by Nolan is one of life's greatest treasures here on earth.

I pray for you almost each day, that God's working in your life somehow.  I pray for His hand of protection over you as you grow in your relationship with Him, even as a child.  I pray he's creating in you a loving, compassionate heart, as each Aubrey and Adelynne have sensitive hearts that will need such qualities.  I pray you're learning to love Jesus first and foremost, as He loves you, and that you love people second because ultimately that's what life is for...to love Jesus, and love others.

I pray for you because I love Aubrey, Adelynne & Nolan more than all the fishies in the sea.


Monday, February 3, 2014

Wuv, true wuv

From the moment I could remember, my grandparents never slept in the same room.  The old beloved farm house in Clinton County, at the end of the upstairs hall, to the left my granddad slept, and to the right, my grandmother.  I remember wondering about this fact, but....as I grew up, I noticed other things, like the way they did their own activities separately, banter some with each other, and quite frankly, John annoyed Betty.  I'm smiling now as I type this because of the memories...these two stubborn, rascally, strong-willed, yet warm people, had a history, a past, I knew nothing about, but, could see slightly, as a child, yet knowing this, also knew, they loved each other.  They loved each other enough to remain committed to their commitment, that I knew. Regardless of mistakes long before I was around, they loved each other enough to remain committed.  Their marriage wasn't a picture of perfection, rather a picture of steadfast commitment.

In 2000, she was diagnosed with cancer.  While in the hospital, grandpa came to visit one day and literally dropped dead outside her room...cardiac arrest, heart stopped, dead.  They were able to perform CPR and bring him back.  I remember wheeling grandma into the ICU to see him, face covered with a mask as to not come in contact with any unwanted germs, her eyes spoke volumes.  She loved him.  It wouldn't be too much longer after this, that we all knew she was near meeting Jesus. I watched grandpa shake his head and weep in the waiting room, sad, regretful it was her and not him, sad she suffered, sad to lose the woman he loved, a lifetime of memories.

These images forever etched in my brain, and two amazing people who weren't saved until after they were married, imperfect with a long life together of good times and also bad, who remained committed until death. And through all that, love was what held them together.  A love for each other, but, ultimately, their individual loves for Christ.

Often times we don't know how events in our lives affect us until after...memories remain, reflection occurs, and we're able to see.  It's almost like washing a window in the spring after a dirty winter...the glass becomes clear and we're able to see so much more, so much brighter, so much clearer.

It wasn't until after these events with my grandparents that I truly understood the deep love of my Savior...the Savior I'd run from for years, unable to accept His true and pure, perfect love. How on earth could he possibly love me?  Mistakes, oh the mistakes...the dirty feeling, the inability to forgive and love myself...

"Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow..."

Every so often, I have to wash the windows to more clearly see His perfect love for me.  Satan loves to dirty up my windows and cause me to questions Christ's love for me.  I wipe away the dirt and see I'm white as snow before Christ because He.literally.washed.me.clean.with.the.cross.

Matthew 7:44-48
"Do you see this woman ("a Sinful Woman")?  I (Jesus) came into your (Peter) house.  You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wiped them with her hair.  You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.  You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.  Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven--for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.  The He said to her, 'Your sins are forgiven.'"

His blood cleaned me...no sin uncleanable.  There is no greater act of perfect love.  John and Betty knew this.  Their love for Christ who forgave them, visible in their commitment to each other.  Now in heaven these two, experiencing the love that never ends at the feet of the One who perfectly loved them first.

Go see what my sweet friend Steph is writing about at: www.solidjoysandlastingtreasures.com