When a Man Loves a Woman–Thankful Thursday

nativity

Tonight my husband did another thing in that long list of things that he does best. He helped me. Actually that’s an understatement. Because the truth is, he did almost all the work. I helped him. You can almost see him in the picture above. He’s sort of in the shadows behind the angel that’s behind Mary and Joseph.

Earlier this afternoon I texted him asking, “Do you think you could stop by the church after work and help me put the nativity up?”

His reply, “O.K.”

Man of few words.

Around the end of November, he helped me and our 6th graders as we lugged “the family” out of the garage and freshened them up with a coat of paint. He made us a few new camel’s ears, tightened some loose screws and went on a search for the stakes we had apparently lost–again–that would help keep Mary, Joseph and the wise guys from falling over in the wind.

So he came by after work as I was beginning to put Mary and Joseph in their places! With my wrist still healing from the summer’s VBS break, there was no way I could hammer the stakes into the partially frozen rocky ground.

But he could. And he did. In the cold. Never complaining. Mary, Joseph, three camels, two angels, and three wisemen. I have no idea what happened to the shepherds. I don’t remember that we ever had shepherds, or sheep, but we have some pretty cool camels! (Which, btw, we did not put up on “hump day”, but that would have been pretty funny!)

And that is the man I am thankful for, not just on Thursdays, but every day.

He is the man who loves me unconditionally with all my crazy ideas. Trebuchet?? No problem. Toy Story themed rehearsal dinner? How can I help, honey?! (Yeah, there’s my wedding shout out for today!) Hang fake stone wall throughout the entire church? We’ll need a ladder. Hammer the holy family into frozen ground? O.K.

Drive 7 hours for a 2 hour soccer game? Let’s go! Invite a myriad of college students into our home? No problem. Repurpose furniture for the boy? Sure! Dance, twirl and spin? He gave it a try!

Listen to me when I’m frustrated, tired, and silly? Yup. Listen to me when I still have 3,800 of my 5,000 words a day left to go? (Did I mention he’s a little hard of hearing!) Allow me to travel to speak, teach, share, and encourage, even when it’s not always convenient? Uh-huh.

He is willing to eat sandwiches for dinner, embrace the leftover (he calls them scraps) and keep quiet when I chose Christmas cookies and tea for my dinner tonight.

The truth is that this man is THE BEST! and I am overwhelmingly thankful for him. He is a little quiet, a lot strong, totally humble and faithfully mine.

Why? Because these are the things a man does when he loves a woman. It makes him live differently. He puts my needs before his, and does all he can to make me look good. He encourages me and helps me shine, and when necessary he tells me “no,” every now and then, because he cares more about what is really best for me than what may seem best or what I may want at the time.

This weekend when we were at the wedding, I heard these same thoughts shared, and I watched our son model these same traits. Traits I see in his dad and that I see our first son live out with his wife, and it made me think that this Thursday, I’m not the only Farris wife who is thankful–giving me even one more reason to be thankful!

And I hope your Thursday is filled with thankfulness as well!

mom trevor and dad
Tim, who I am always thankful for, with me and Trevor, before the wedding.

Adult-ery

adultery

Adult-ery. . .

. . .In its simplest form is a grown up thing. Yet, it is a grown up thing that affects us all–especially our children.

During the month of October in our children’s ministry, HiSKidZ were challenged to memorize the 10 Commandments. Towards the end of the month each small group chose a commandment and then decorated a pumpkin to represent that commandment. My older son joked from Russia, “Who’s going to get adultery?” Well, with 8 small groups and 10 Commandments, that one fell to me.

I created the simple pumpkin above centering more on the honor side of the commandment than the dishonorable side of it. (This worked, in part, because we were also studying about honor in the Bible last  month. Besides, what else would you put on that pumpkin????)

As the kids were coming in they stopped to check out my pumpkin. A couple asked what is meant and I told them it was commandment #7 “Do not commit adultery,” and one replied quite nonchalantly, “Oh yeah, my dad did that.” Broke. My. Heart.

Now don’t get me wrong, I know that  dads are not the only ones who  either initiate or commit adultery, but just because moms and people without children do it, too, does not make it right.

But since today is a “Dadderday” post, I want to talk to the dads for a second.

Dads. Don’t do it.

Walk away.

Run away.

Count the cost.

Live with honor

Model integrity.

Express self control.

Keep your vows.

Get right with God.

Parent your children.

Stop

what

you

are

doing

now.

For your sake, for your wife’s sake, for your children’s sake, for the sake of the name of the Lord, for the other person’s sake. . . .

Stop acting like an adult-erer and begin acting like a child of God again.

Matthew 26:41 says, “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

So often we read this verse and we center in on one part of the verse and are like, “Oh man, the flesh is weak, what can I do?”

What can we do??? We can look at the other four parts of the verse that’s what can do.

Keep watching.

Keep praying.

Don’t enter into temptation.

The Spirit is willing.

That’s 4-1 in favor of victory, and the fact that “the flesh is weak” is in there isn’t an excuse for sin; it’s a warning against it.

Dads, I have no idea where you are right now in your life, your job, your home, your walk with God, but I know that there are little people watching everything you are doing, and your actions have consequences and cause responses and reactions, some of which you will have no control over. But this one you do.

When it comes to the Ten Commandments, we teach HiSKidZ that the 10 are 2 and the 2 is just 1. The ten become “love God and  love others.” And the two become one, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” For when you live out the one, you want to live out the two, and when you are living out the two, you are living out the ten.

So do whatever it takes to live out #1, and #7 will take care of itself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Son Married His Cousin–Mama Mia Monday

ceremony

Mama Mia! How did it happen? Just this past Saturday, our son, Trevor married his cousin, Ashley. I never saw it coming.

I guess none of us did, actually. Sometimes, I think that’s how it is when God is at work. He brings people into your life. He changes your heart. He moves you in directions you never thought you would go. Love changes everything.

Like Trevor and Ashley.

Ashley was the first born cousin. Trevor was the third. They were pretty close growing up, but we didn’t always live near each other so it was a holiday visiting kind of thing. Plus, she’s a bit older than he is, so normally she and his older brother, Connor, spent more time together. But Connor’s in Russia right now, so I suppose that’s why it didn’t work out for them!

It’s a little unusual, I know, but it’s happened before. It was touching to see how they cared for each other, and to hear Trevor say to her, “Ashley, let’s do what you want, it’s your day; we just need to relax and enjoy it.”

The ceremony was special, God centered and simply beautiful. The bride was gorgeous, and Trevor looked pretty handsome himself in his wedding suit and tie.

He commented later that when he saw her walk down the aisle, he wasn’t quite prepared for the totally different perspective of being up at the front of the church (he’s been a groomsman three times now) waiting for the bride. She and her dad, Tom, met Trevor up at the front with tears in their eyes. She was beautiful. He was proud of her. It was a moment to be frozen in all of time.

It was time for the big question, “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?”

“Her mother and I,” Tom replied.

At which point that handsome groom stepped up and took his bride’s hand. The church was quiet as the ceremony where our son Trevor had the privilege of marrying his cousin, Ashley, to her new husband, Derek, began!

Mama Mia! Who would have thought?! Back when they were just babies none of us could imagine that one day one of these cousins would have the privilege of officiating at the other’s wedding. What’s even more, Trevor can now say without lying, “I married my cousin!”

Congratulations, Ashley and Derek! We love you and wish you years and years and years of life together! Thank you for allowing us all to share in the beauty of your day!

And Congratulations, Trevor, on officiating your first wedding! We are super proud of you and excited that you have the special memory of Ashley and Derek’s wedding.

Mama Mia!

Hyper Smash

Men of the Vow

vowsLast night we were up late. One of our sons had arrived home from college a day early as a surprise. He brought the added blessing of his girlfriend, and as we were up talking and channel surfing we came across the movie The Vow, and we convinced Trevor to give it a go. As we were getting ready to watch, Jordan and I explained to him that it wasn’t just another Nicholas Sparks chick flick, but it was based on a true story, and he might just like it. I began to share about a few of the men we have been privileged to know who were “men of the vow.” Being a “man of the vow” isn’t just a story for a movie; men like these are real. They exist still today. They are to be honored, and they are worth waiting for.

Take Ed Smeltser for example. Ed passed away just a couple of days ago at the age of 95. He was a great man. He loved to fish, and he loved to tell stories. He was hard working and kind, and he loved his wife. Ed and Cledia have been married more than 70 years. Just thinking about that stirs within my heart with emotions that need to stirred every now and then. Cledia hasn’t been in the best of health these past years, and I guess I have to admit neither had Ed, but they both still lived at home with the help of one of their sons and his wife. They have stayed together through thick and thin, loving each other through each day of those 70+ years. Their lives have taught me every day the power in love and the keeping of our vows.

Then there is Charlie Barnes. Mr Barnes was our neighbor when we first moved into the house we live in now. Mr Barnes was in his 70s and his wife’s health was failing. He stood by her, cared for her, and nursed her all the while taking care of the house, yard, garden, woodworking and beating us to shoveling our driveway every time. Mr Barnes had made a vow to love and cherish Mrs Barnes, and we were blessed to see that “man of the vow” in action as a great example to us and our sons.

Just this week I was sharing with a friend about Gene Gabel. Gene is another man in our church who is a “man of the vow.” Gene is a quiet man, small in stature, but a giant in honor, faithfulness and chivalry. Gene’s wife, Bernice, has also been in poor health, and Gene has taken care of her, loved her and been at her side every step of the way. He, too, continues to teach by his quiet example of what love and commitment and faithfulness really are, and gives me proof that they still exist.

I could go on and on about these “men of the vow,” men who promised to love, honor and cherish the women who became their brides, and who have kept their vows until the end and beyond. These men stand as shining examples to those coming behind them. Men like Dave, Walter, Ed, Jim, Roger, Verne, and Bob who encourage and inspire people every day as they simply live as men, doing the things men do–like keep their promises, provide for their families and love their wives. I am married to one of these men, and pray that Farris men for generations to come will follow in the footsteps of the “men of the vow” who have gone before them.

Do you know some “men of the vow?” Feel free to share below. I’d love to hear your stories.

The Wedding Miracle

Tonight we had the great privilege of attending the wedding of a young couple in our area. The minister, a friend of ours, used “the wedding miracle” passage as the beginning of the wedding message. The wedding miracle . . . that’s what we call it. Y’know it’s that story in John 2 where Jesus turns the water into wine at the wedding. There are so many good things in this story, but I had to wonder where Mark was going with this one in our room of mostly non drinkers. Was he really going to suggest we needed some wine at this wedding??

No, that’s not where he was headed at all. Instead, Mark used a mom quote. Maybe the best mom quote ever. I mean EVAH!!!! After Jesus’ mom lets Him know that the family has no more wine. She tells the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” Sermon basically done.

That was the advice. “Do whatever He tells you.” And what awesome wedding advice it is. I mean, seriously, if each of us, in our marriages, simply lived each day, “doing whatever He tells us,” our marriages and our families and our lives, and our world would never be the same again.

Simply profound. “Do whatever He tells you.” Could it be that easy? Yeah, I think so.

So thanks, Evan and Kati for including us in your special day. Thanks, Mark, for speaking the Word so clearly. And thanks, Mary, for being an advice giving mom, speaking this little piece of instruction, which if followed, could become the real wedding miracle.