To my sons and my brothers

On Saturday morning I was standing on a ladder, wearing protective eye ware, ear plugs and a dust mask. My husband was standing on the ground, watching me sand rust off the roof of a shipping container. He was making sure I was safe, as he had just given me my first lesson in operating a grinder. I have to admit, I was nervous. I had always, not so secretly, had a fear of grinders, despite the fact that I have a “thing” for power tools. I came in to our marriage with my own toolbox, full of power tools, that I am quite adept at handling and I am so blessed to have married a man secure enough to let me do my thing.
He watched for a few minutes and must have been satisfied that I wasn’t in any danger of doing harm to myself or the container, as he walked off to his own grinder and perch on his own ladder. It was in this solitary place that I started to think, as I often do.
I started to recall every time my husband has done this amazing thing for me – let me have a go. Often I would ask the same question as I did before my lesson this morning…”do you think I will be able to do this?”. The answer is more often than not the same as it was earlier… “Of course you can”. My husband, with his unfailing belief that I am more capable than I believe I am, has, through the years, encouraged me to be more than I ever believed I could be.
When I ask my husband “can I do this”, I am not asking his permission to try my hand at something. What I want to know is “do you believe that I can overcome my fear, my insecurity, the lies I believe about myself and succeed at this thing that seems too big for me right now. Do you believe I will grow into these shoes that are just too big for me at the moment?”. If he ever said no, I would have believed him and I have to admit he had to repeat himself often to undo the damage done through years of listening to the voice of the enemy, telling me that what I felt stirring in me was just too much, too big, too soon…too, too, too.
I have to thank my husband for every time he picked me up off the floor, sometimes literally. I owe him for the times I just wanted to give up, when I suffered yet another blow to my self esteem and confidence, and he took me by my shoulders and made me look him in the eyes, making me promise not to give up on myself, on the call, on the Lord, reminding me that mistakes and failures weren’t fatal.
This man has encouraged me to explore the length and breadth and depth of the Lord’s love for me, even when he realized I was going in a direction different from the one he signed up for when we married. He has allowed and even encouraged me to follow Jesus, even to the places he could not go with me. This has come at great cost to himself – having to fend for himself for weeks on end, while I travel and minister. He has invested his money, his time, his expertise and his heart in my vision, without one promise from the Lord that he would be released from his labour to join me in mine.
Isn’t this the picture Paul paints for us when he says to the Ephesians: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Eph5:25 – 33)
My husband is a wonderful provider, always has been, and I have been thoroughly spoiled with beautiful gifts during the years we have been married. But the greatest gift is that he understood, even before he really knew what he was doing, that my spirit and my soul also needed to be fed. He has never taken this directive lightly and this is my prayer for my sons, one a brand new husband, the other a soon-to-be bridegroom; and for every brother in Christ…that you would understand that you have the power and influence to make your bride radiant, like Christ is in the process of making His bride radiant.
Brothers, I urge you to be brave – allow Holy Spirit to deal with your hearts. Allow Him to heal your wounds and deal with your own insecurities so that you become a valiant champion for your wives and daughters, your sisters and your mothers. Through your actions and your words, tell them that they are stronger than they think. Believe for them, until they are able to believe this for themselves. By all means be a gentleman to your wives and a helping hand to your daughters, but never to the extent that she believes she needs a strong man to take care of her. Too many women go from relationship to relationship, trying to find a man to replace her daddy. The world is a cruel place and you will not always be around, therefore point her to her heavenly Father, allow Jesus to be her lover, encourage her to explore the call on her life. Learn from my husband, and many men just like him…doing this does not make you smaller, it enlarges you, it makes you a giant amongst men.