"Dad, I just want to say thank you for always being there for me and being on my side even when I am wrong. Thank you for disciplining me when I do something wrong. It's always nice to have someone like you to help put me on the right track. I love you, Dad. You are my champion." ~Mary's written message in Paul's 49th birthday card
|Mary's expression upon seeing Paul get choked up while reading her message in his birthday card|
There's a scripture passage in Proverbs (12:4) about a worthy wife being a crown for her husband. I love that passage and hope that I am proving to be a worthy wife and mother. But, there really should be a passage about worthy husbands being a crown for their wives and children, for if there was such a thing, I would proudly proclaim it in gratitude for my husband, Paul.
It isn't easy being a dad these days, but Paul has proven to be exemplary at his calling. No matter the difficulties he faces in raising five children, now all well into their teens and young adult years, no matter how tired he may be working two jobs and volunteering at our parish food pantry, giving cooking demonstrations to those in need, he continues to stand firm in offering loving discipline to our children and loving assistance to me in all situations.
And I turn to God in absolute amazed wonderment at the beautiful gift He has bestowed upon me in the form of my cherished husband. I've done nothing to deserve such a joyful life, and in fact, have sinfully grumbled and complained more than necessary despite the fact that I have suffered nothing more than ordinary sorrows in the now and then. I look around and see tragedies and hardships befalling many in all walks of life. Like the rain falling on the good and the bad alike, so do heartbreaks afflict all, both holy and wayward. But me? God chooses to place a strong and holy man beside me, one who never backs down from his responsibilities, who lifts me up when I stumble and points me ever so gently toward the good God from whom all of life's blessings are bestowed. And I fail more often than not to be truly grateful. It is, perhaps, my greatest sin.
So in this month when my husband of twenty-three years has entered his final year of his forties, and in this month when giving thanks is the custom, I offer long-overdue thanks to God for my husband, Paul, along with heartfelt contrition for all of the ways in which I've failed to be gracious and thankful for him in the past. If I were a writer of scripture, this would be my proverb, and it would perfectly describe Paul:
"A good husband is a valiant guard. He protects his wife and children from sin and calamity, and when even his best efforts to keep them on the straight and narrow appear to be in vain, he never gives up or backs down. He is constantly looking to the future and trusting that God will prevail beyond our sinfulness. He is the tower rising above the rubble of dismay and regret. He lovingly cares for his family, providing for all of their needs and leading them in the ways of God, and doing so with joy in his heart and laughter in his throat. He stands firm in all circumstances. Let him be praised here on earth and into eternity where he will meet his divine reward and proudly wear his crown of blessing."