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.

Ravens and Patriots

It’s Sunday afternoon and the playoff games are on.  Currently the Ravens and Patriots are battling it out. Honestly, I don’t give a lick about either team. I have my favorites (GO PACK GO!, Tebow time, anyone?, and what Christian doesn’t get excited when we hear the Saints are marchin in!). But they were all knocked out last week (sad face).  Now, since I always tell my kids at church that you can find God in anything, I decided to ask Him what He might show me about Himself through this game that I care so little about, and of course, He has.

First off, Let’s take a look:  which tells me that a patriot is:

1. a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.

Then, let’s take a look at:

I Kings 17:1-6Tthe Real Story of the Patriots and the Ravens.

We don’t see Ravens and Patriots battling, we see them both being used to save a person (Elijah) and a  people (the Isreaelites).  God sends The Patriot, Elijah the Prophet, as His spokesman to His people, and deliverer of His judments. So not an easy job!!  As God’s messenger of judgment, Elijah must endure them as well– and this lastest judment means no rain, not even any dew for the next few years.  Of course, drought for Israel, means drought for Elijah the Patriot/Prophet as well. And no rain, means no water, no water  means no crops, no crops, means no animals, no animals means no food, no food means no worries for the ULTIMATE PATRIOT–THE GOD WHO LOVES, THE GOD WHO SUPPORTS, THE GOD WHO DEFENDS HIS COUNTRY WITH DEVOTION.

Enter the Ravens.  God lets Elijah know that although times are tough, He is keeping His promises to take care of His faithful.  (I LOVE THESE KIND OF PROMISES!!)  God gives Elijah specific instructions to turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, just east of the Jordan. There is a brook there to drink from and, get this, “I have ordered the RAVENS to feed you there.”  How awesome is that!!! What a blessed assurance that the God we serve controls all things, even Ravens.

And Elijah did what faithful people do, “He did what the Lord had told him.  He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and he stayed there.  And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.”  What I think was probably the original Happy Meal!! I mean, just think how pumped Elijah must have been every morning to see those birds flyin’ in with his extra value meal.

But more than just meat and bread, every morning and again every night,  Elijah had this great evidence that in the midst of trying times, rebellious people, false prophets, false gods, lonliness, evil Kings and Jezebels, that God loved him, supported him, and was defending him and the people of Israel with devotion. Elijah knew that the God who ordered the Ravens to bring him the food necessary to save His life, was also at work to save the lives of the Israelite nation.

I guess what God is showing me, through ravens and patriots, is that every morning and every night as I sit down to eat, I can remember that the same Patriot God loves us, supports us and defends us with devotion.  So it is my desire to live like Elijah, loving God back in the same way–following faithfully, with trust and obedience, wherever He may tell me to go.