(Note: I did borrow this idea from my friend and fellow blogger, Laura Baggett. I won’t be doing it at every birthday as is her tradition, but I wanted something special to honor my Man on his 40th birthday. Thanks for the inspiration, Laura!)
To my Man,
In reality, I suppose, we have only known one another for about 15 years, but I feel like I have known you my whole life. In some ways, I have. I came to know Christ after I met you, and in that way you have been there for each moment of my new life—my time of surrender, my first steps as a Christian; learning to walk like a disciple. Learning to talk like one. You were an integral part of all of it and are now as much a part of me as my arm or my heart.
We certainly did not have a typical beginning, did we? I don’t foresee any fairy tales being written of our “courtship.” Neither of us knew Christ then. Those were difficult days, and I confess that I did not appreciate you much at the time. Let’s face it: we both had a good deal of growing up to do. However, as I reflect back on those days, I see now with the perfect vision of hindsight that you were always a man willing to sacrifice deeply for his family.
I remember when I found out I was pregnant with our firstborn. I did not handle the news well. But you did—you knew just what to do. You showed unflagging love to me when I was unlovable, even when I didn’t want to be loved. You were willing to work ridiculous hours to ensure that we did not have to put our baby in the care of strangers. We surely weren’t living the American Dream at the time, huh? One car, basic phone service, a 4-room duplex in a shady side of Nashville, a 13-inch TV with missing buttons. . . yet you never complained. While many men your age were hanging out with their buddies, watching the game, hitting the bars, buying the latest and greatest gadgets, and padding their man caves, you were studying, learning, and working – so much work — in order to provide for us.
When the second baby came along, you moved us away from the seedy side to a beautiful neighborhood in a family friendly community. When the third was on the way, you uncomplainingly moved us closer to my family.
All this rumination on the past makes me realize that I have an immense appreciation for you now. For who you are. For what you are becoming in our Lord. I am proud of my strong, capable, handsome, and dedicated man. I am grateful that God prevented me from running back when my life was dominated by fear and self-loathing. I have seen glimpses of the difficulty and darkness of your past, and I am astounded at the hurdles God has helped you to overcome.
Though your relationship with your own father was strained at the best of times, you have not given into despair. You choose instead to look to your Heavenly Father for wisdom and advice. You have loved both me and the children sacrificially. You have endured bitter, long hours in the corporate world when you would rather be outdoors just so we can be faithful to God’s call to homeschool our little brood. These sorts of sacrifices do not go unnoticed; they are of great value to our children and for me.
As a father, I love that you make our daughters feel valued and beautiful, encouraging them in their gifts and talents and giving them a good idea of how a lady should be treated. You are firm but loving with our son, always careful to balance the hand of discipline with that vital reassurance of love and acceptance that he needs. You have amazed me in each new season of parenting, always stepping in just when I am at the end of my rope, always supporting me and even guiding me through the rough times.
You amaze me in each season of our marriage, as well. You have been the calm center to my emotional whirlwinds. When we were having babies, you were there for each birth, there to provide for each additional mouth to feed. When I am exhausted and irritable, you are unafraid to tell me point-blank when I need to take a nap. You exercise your God-given authority with grace, yet boldly when the situation calls for boldness. You are decisive when I waffle. You are my perfect complement. I am so thankful to God that He brought us together, even using our sin to humble us both, bring us to repentance, and to display His perfect grace and mercy.
I am thankful for the difficult times we have had, times that remind us that God will see us through anything the future may hold. I am thankful for every moment we have to spend together, no matter what we do with it. I am thankful you put your God and your family first, forsaking other things you might like to do in order to obey God’s greater will and plan. I am thankful for your help in training our children, for your compassion in dealing with my moodiness, for your steadiness.
I look forward to growing old (or, well, older!) with you, to watching you with our grandchildren, to being at your side through whatever challenges may face us in the days to come. I have such enormous confidence in you. I love you more with each new wrinkle and grey hair we add to our respective collections. You are highly esteemed in my world, loved with all my heart, and yours is all the devotion that does not belong to our King. I am delighted to be your Woman.
Here’s to 40 years gone by and, Lord willing, decades more together! Though our flesh and our hearts may fail, the Lord our God is our strength and our portion forever
Happy birthday, Hon!!