“A man who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
I don’t know about you, but yesterday was different for me. I didn’t do the normal things I do in the normal places or ways I do them. It wasn’t a bad day, and in fact it was a good day topped off by snuggling up with the two boys who are still willing to snuggle up with the third nearby watching the sequel to The Christmas Chronicles on Netflix (which I highly recommend). But it wasn’t normal. If it wasn’t a day rooted in gratitude, though, it wouldn’t have been a good day. Gratitude really does make a world of difference. I hope you’ve seen that this week. I hope more you’ve learned to practice it. At least, I hoped you’ve seen enough to encourage you to want to get started on it. Next week we’ll start something new and with the season of Advent in view like we did last year. As for today, here’s one more thing for which I’m thankful.
I am thankful today for Ben Folds. Why? Well, he’s a piano virtuoso and a cynically sarcastic songwriter which are two things I love. What’s not to like? Okay, his language is pretty rough, but one time I saw him in concert and the way he determined his set list for the show was to have everyone write down their song requests on a piece of paper and throw them on stage as paper airplanes. He then went around and picked up random planes, played the song, and found another. It was a lot of fun.
None of that, though, is why I’m thankful for Ben Folds. I’m thankful for Ben Folds because he wrote a song called “The Luckiest.” For a cynically sarcastic songwriter, it’s a really beautiful love song. (Here’s the link to listen to it on YouTube.) It also happens to be the love song I used when proposing to my bride. Now, I’m pretty sure she would have said, “Yes,” anyway, but having Ben along didn’t hurt. She even let me include it in our wedding music. My good friend Grant Mulkey knocked it out of the park as he always did.
So, what I really mean when I say I’m thankful for Ben Folds is that I’m thankful for my wife, Lisa.
When I first laid eyes on Lisa sixteen and a half years ago, she was standing in the doorway of Morrison Hall on the campus of Spalding University in Louisville, KY. I had just gotten off a van from the airport and was nervous about starting my summer job as a Bible study leader for Passport youth camp. She was standing in the doorway with some of the other lead staff and her eyes caught mine immediately. Later that night she led a devotion for the staff and I knew she was staring at me the whole time. Our eyes were locked. I had already felt something the first time I laid eyes on her. By the end of devotions I was in love. I don’t know how I knew it, and I wouldn’t have been able to put words to it if you had pressed me, but I knew she was the woman I would marry.
Since then our journey has been one of constant adventure and learning exactly who this other person was that we had thrown our lot in with without ever really dating and having only known each other for 14 months. There have been challenges and hard stuff. I wouldn’t dare lie and say there haven’t. You’d know better anyway. But there’s been so much more good and I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything in the world.
By every measure she has been the spark to God’s making me a better man. I married up. Because of her I am more thoughtful and considerate than I ever was before. I’m more patient and willing to meaningfully consider the fact that I don’t know everything than I had been. I’ve learned (and am still daily learning) how to put others first in ways I didn’t even know I could.
Lisa is my perfect helpmate. She compliments me at every point. It was not good for me to be alone and God made a helper fit for me. She is strong where I am weak. She is patient and gracious far beyond what I could expect, much less deserve. God knew exactly what He was doing when He drew us together.
I am a pastor by gifting and calling. But I am a better pastor with her at my side than I could have even dreamed of being without her. She enables me to minister more effectively than I could on my own. I’m a teacher. I don’t say that like it’s my vocation. That’s who I am. That means I tend to put lessons before people. She helps remind me to think about people first.
She has the ability to care deeply and meaningful for the people around her. She can give of herself to the last drop and then dig a little deeper to give a bit more. She has fantastic ideas. She can visualize something before I manage to even get my mind around the concept. Any good idea I’ve had in twelve years of ministry was her idea first.
As a wife she is absolutely amazing. That’s far from the only thing she is. She’s also an amazing mom. We have three incredible boys whom she loves with all her heart, and for whom she sacrifice the world if it meant they would have their needs met. She’s able to understand what they are thinking better and faster than I can and make sure they are loved no matter what.
In fact, she really is amazing at whatever it is she does. She makes a difference everywhere she goes. She brings with her wisdom and poise and thoughtfulness and this administrative genius that allows her to make whatever it is she’s working on work better than it did before she got her hands on it.
I could keep going, but I suspect you catch my drift. My wife is amazing, simply put, and I am grateful beyond words that I get to call her mine and myself hers. Whatever I have that’s been good, I have because I have her. Things that aren’t as good are better because she’s in my life than they would have been if she wasn’t there. I married up. For this…for her…I am grateful.
Four days this week, four things for which to be thankful. This is just the start of my list. What’s on yours? Who is on yours? Find a way to express your gratitude in the days ahead. You’ll be glad you did and so will the person to whom you express it. Gratitude will make your life better and make you better at life. Let’s get started. There’s no time to waste.