Author’s Note – A few years ago, I unintentionally started a series of blogs on the way that certain prominent people in my life have impacted it, and the lives of others. You can read about my parents here and here, and specifically about my dad here. I have learned a lot from these individuals, and hope to continue to do so and to write about it. My hope is that as their example has been an encouragement to me, it will be to you as well.)
Every semester, I start my classes off my telling my students a little bit about myself. I find that it is a helpful way for them to not only see me as “the professor” but as an individual. Letting them know a little bit about me demonstrates what’s important to me, what I am like, and gives them some insight into what they can expect in the class. Of course, they will learn more as the semester marches on, but at least they get a preview into what they can anticipate.
One of the things that I share with my students is a quick description of my family. My family is extremely important to me, and they often are used as the sources of stories and illustrations during class. As I describe my family, I almost always start off my telling them about my husband. Although some of the details of the description change depending on what God has him doing at that specific moment in time, one of the things that is constant is how I describe his importance in my life. “My husband is the best thing to happen to me apart from my salvation in Christ” I tell them. I want them to not only have insight into how wonderful my husband is, but to realize how much I appreciate the good gift that he is in my life. God could have given me any type of husband He wanted, but He was gracious and generous and gave me an amazing one. I never want to become “used” to that, or lose my gratitude for it.
While the description I share with my students is apt, it is also sparse on details as to what makes my husband such a good gift. In the years that we have been together, I have learned many lessons from him – mostly through simply observing how he responds to situations and interacts with others. Here are just a few of the ways that this good gift that God has given me makes a difference in my life, and the lives of those God has placed in his path:
- He is a proficient encourager. – If you spend any amount of time with my husband, it won’t take long for you to realize that he is a natural “coach.” He looks for the good in others and quickly exhorts them to continue on pursuing what God has called them to do. Years ago he started this silly habit that when I would make a statement if there was any way to turn it into a compliment, he would. So for example, if I were to say “That light is bright,” he would respond with “you’re bright.” It may seem insignificant (and sometimes the turned around phrases can get pretty ridiculous), but it’s a great representation of his heart. He wants to help others be what God has created them be. He is quick to recognize where someone needs encouragement and to dispense mounds of it in order to benefit the other person.
- He keeps things in perspective. – One of the things that I most appreciate about my husband is his unwillingness to be swayed but the insignificant troubles in life. My husband maintains a long-term perspective on things – which means that as momentary inconveniences arise, he deals with them in the manner that they deserve. He places His trust in God for the big picture, and relies on Him to figure out the details. When things seem insurmountable, my husband is quick to recognize that God’s power is more than sufficient in the circumstance. His trust in God supersedes the difficulty of the troubles that he faces.
- He responds with prayer – I’m confident that one of the reasons my husband is able to keep things in perspective is because he is regularly lifting up things to God in prayer. Because he has placed the situation in his Father’s hands, he knows that he does not need to worry or fret over it. I remember a specific instance early on in our relationship where I was concerned over some situation. I honestly don’t even remember what the situation was, but I remember my husband’s response – “Let’s pray.” His dependence on God is strengthen by the regular conversations he has with Him. He knows that he is not on his own; God knows and cares and is working to bring about the good He desires.
- He is slow to anger. – Recently as I was talking with a friend, she shared that she can’t image my husband getting angry. I told her that is because it rarely happens, and almost always when it does, it is because there has been some injustice to someone else. It would be hard for me to come up with a specific time that my husband was angry over something that happened to him. Again, I’m sure this character trait isn’t insulated from the things described above. Because my husband responds with prayer, he is able to keep things in perspective which means he is not given to bouts of unrighteous anger. He is quick to look to God, which means he isn’t quick to respond with anger when things don’t go as he anticipated.
- He serves unselfishly. – Perhaps the biggest impact that my husband has had in my life is watching the delight he takes in serving others. When an opportunity to serve presents itself, his first response is “yes.” He doesn’t look for reasons why he should or shouldn’t – his default attitude is to serve. I remember clearly a night where he had organized an event for the men in our church. Despite being the last one to leave because he was busy cleaning up after the event, when a friend of his realized that he may have left his phone, my husband went to help him find it. It didn’t matter that it was raining and that the event had been outside, he was not only willing to deal with the hassles of the environment, he was eager to do so. He saw the need that was there, and realized that there was something he could do to help meet it. This is his approach to service in general. He is not calculating, trying to fit things in as long as they aren’t too inconvenient. He takes joy in helping others, in representing Christ well by serving others.
There are many more things that I could write about my husband. These lessons, however, have had a significant impact on who I am and my appreciation and admiration of who he is. I am forever grateful for the good gift that he has been in my life, and for how he continues to put our Lord on display through the way he lives.