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Friday, February 14, 2014

More Than A Cute Date

My husband is a really cute date.  However, I haven't left the house since the baby was born except to take her to the doctor at 4 days and again at her 2 week check-up.  She is 4 weeks old today.  This means that I have not gone to get John anything for Valentine's Day (today), and we aren't going on a date.  Ooops.  In my defense, I am horrible at gift-giving anyways.  He would probably return whatever I got him, unless it was edible.  He has returned many of my gifts, and I'm OK with that.  We're pretty cheap, and I don't want him to keep something if it was a waste of money because he didn't like it.  I am working on giving better gifts.  It's just not one of my love languages (if you haven't read the Five Love Languages you need to, seriously).  I am all about some words of affirmation, physical touch, and throw in some acts of service when I just can't do them myself.  Basically, the only gifts I ever want are a decent card with a hand-written note inside, some sweet cuddles, and maybe do the dishes for me.  Gifts? Flowers? Meh.

In lieu of a proper gift or date, this post is what I am giving my husband today.  Right now he is off getting everything I put on a grocery list, while wrangling our 21 month old son who has been a "terrible two" since he was about 16 months old.  I fed the little baby and pumped and read my Bible, all in peace.  That was a great gift.  He gives me this gift of a quiet morning at least two or three times a week.  On my super tired days I just go back to bed.  Sleep is a gift too!

One of our first few dates together, circa Jan/Feb 2013
I remember our first Valentine's Day.  We had only been dating a few weeks.  He was still just a cute guy I was dating, not entirely sure of, but definitely attractive!  He brought me a stuffed elephant and we went to a basketball game at the school where he taught, and then out to eat somewhere.  It was the first time I would meet a lot of the people he worked with, and I was a little nervous about it, because he unashamedly told me, "Don't worry if a lot of people stare at you.  They're always trying to set me up on blind dates with people, so they're very interested in seeing you."  Ummmm, okay Mr. Popular.

I felt warm in my cheeks as he held my hand and led me through a crowd of people (it's not like a ton of people were there, it was just a really small gym).  I held my head high though, because even then, I kind of felt cooler just being with him.  I'm a bit of a closet nerd, and a super goofball, with a really chubby chick inside I try to keep quiet with cookies and yoga.  John was your typical popular small town jock who played football, basketball, and baseball in high school, and admits he was a jerk to the "not cool" kids.  He wishes he could go back and change this, but the past is the past.  He was the cool kid who played sports.  I was the geek who enjoyed writing research papers.  That first valentine's day, I knew it.  Being with him made me feel like the cute cheerleader.  I make it a priority to be my husband's loudest fan, and in return he still makes me feel a cute cheerleader.
One of our engagement pictures, September 2008
I knew John was more than a cute date the night he said, "If we're really going to be boyfriend and girlfriend, then we need to start reading the Bible and praying together."  We sat on the floor and shared some of our favorite passages in Scripture.  I knew he would be a good spiritual leader.  The way we can share our feelings and discuss what God is teaching us through our personal Bible study time today, is awesome.  I love hearing about what God is teaching John.  The way we can be totally honest and open about our own failures, but how we can build each other up in Christ, is amazing.  A few months ago I was struggling with sin, and I tried to hide it at first because I thought he'd be angry, but then I told John about it one day when the guilt was really overwhelming.  He hugged me, and was calm, patient, so kind, and full of mercy and forgiveness that I didn't even know he possessed.  He helped me.  He was my accountability.  He had no condemnation or judgement whatsoever.  I have never felt so loved.  That was the first time I could honestly say that I understood what it means in the Bible when Paul tells husbands to love their wives like Christ loves the church.  Sin is ugly.  Finding out my husband loved me enough to totally, completely, instantly forgive me, was beautiful.
Memphis, February 2011

I knew John was more than a cute date the day he said, "You know I want to adopt some day? If that's a problem we should stop dating."  I shook my head, "No, that's not a problem, I want to adopt, too."  I knew he would be good at loving the fatherless.  When we got our very first foster child, and he fell in love with her and bawled like a big baby six days later when we had to give her back, I found him more attractive than ever.

June, 2011

I knew John was more than a cute date when we met the kind family that would be raising her.  We found out they were good people who had been taking care of her since she was abandoned.  John shared the gospel with them and prayed for baby girl and that family in the parking lot of the juvenile court house.  I knew then for sure that he was meant to work in ministry, and I was proud to serve alongside him.

I knew John was more than a cute date the day I gave birth to Jonah and John spent the entire 24 hours of labor by my side, helping me, holding my hand, never doubting or discouraging me.  When the doctor said it was time to push you might have thought she had just said, "You won the lottery!"  John's face lit up, he grabbed my hand and said, "This is it babe! This is it!  He's coming! You can do it!"  He was so excited.  When Jonah was born he cried tears of proud, thankful joy.  I knew he would be a good father.  He helps so much at home.  I cannot even begin to imagine being a single parent.  When we had foster kids, John was great about helping to change diapers, feed them, prepare food, pick up food, let me leave the house to get a break, take them to daycare, take them to doctor's appointments.  He was a good father to kids who weren't his.  After learning about parenting through all of that, he is an even better father to our kids.  John has spent countless hours taking Jonah places just to hang out with him, to have fun, to get out of the house, to let me get some things done that are really hard to do with a little person around.  John holds Karis when I know she's not hungry, but I am exhausted from her crying.  We take turns late at night when she just needs to be rocked, jiggled, patted back to sleep.  John still changes diapers, even cloth diapers with what feels like twenty snaps (really, only 4 to 6 snaps ever), even when he has to dump the poo in the toilet and then put the diaper in the wet bag.  He is a spectacular father.

I knew John was more than a cute date the day we came home from church one day and he said, "I feel like God wants me to go back to seminary and be in ministry full time."  We prayed and fasted for a week, and a little church asked John to come and preach randomly. We felt it was one of several signs that God was calling him back to ministry.  We changed from the kind of people who worked for money, and stuff, and all the things the world says you need to be cool, to the kind of people who quit our jobs and moved to Memphis because that was what we felt like God wanted us to do.  God doesn't care about cool.  John is cooler now than he's ever been, because he finally gets that.
Southern Made Photography

I knew John was more than a cute date pretty early on.  I am so blessed to be able to live life together with a man who seeks to serve the Lord.  He's a great Valentine every day, and so it doesn't really matter that we don't give each other gifts and we aren't going out on a date tonight.  We will again, when the baby can take a bottle, and we can leave our kids with one of their nanas.  My husband is funny, smart, athletic, faithful and handsome, but it's his love for Jesus that keeps our marriage strong.
Valentine's Day last year, 2012
I thank God that John is so much more than just a cute date!

In DC on our trip in September, 2013

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