Some of the most powerful lessons I have learned as an adult have come straight from the mouths of babes, as they say. They have revealed parts of my character both good and not so good. Seeing your sin acted out in front of you can be eye opening and truly humbling. (and not humbling in the “I am so humbled to accept this award” kind of way AT ALL) Not only do they act like me, for better or worse, but with brown hair and brown eyes, most people tend to say they also look a lot like me too.
Enter the fifth child. Having light eyes at birth, that slowly darkened, still to the lightest of the browns, he had the best chance of looking like his father. What I didn’t know at that time was how much he would act like him too.
Listening to the radio one day I heard a program discussing the personality types of your children. “Your introvert child will be the first one to say ‘Can we go home now?” Stopping in my tracks, I immediately thought of our little 2 year old who would utter some form of that phrase anytime we went anywhere. I have an introvert?? I wondered. How was this possible! His four older siblings, along with myself, are always looking for the next party! Typically, when we pick up the kids from the grandparents after a date night, Paul and I are met with moans and requests to “come back later!” from 4/5 of our brood, but not #5. He is typically waiting by the door with his backpack ready to get back home. Knowing that my husband and my littlest are so similar I started to work backwards and concluded to my more intuitive friend “I think Paul’s an introvert!” To which she responded, “Ya think??” Right. That only took me 12 years!
To say our fifth child also loves to cuddle is quite an understatement. Most of our kids, and even our dog, are very cuddly. But the littlest takes it to a new level. More often than not, before the morning comes, he will have sneaked into our queen sized bed, draping his arm around my neck and/or trapping my legs under his. Then when I wake up he looks me right in the eyes and tells me “I love you. And your pwetty.” Swoon.
William also has a tender heart. He feels things deeply. If he gets hurt and you try to tell him, “your fine, honey” he will not accept it. “I am not fine because it hurts!” he will correct you. He loves deeply and shares his heart freely.
One day I was thinking about my little boy’s future, and praying that he would have a wife that appreciated his cuddles, his need for an escape from the crowd, his tender heart and his encouraging words. I want a wife for him that loves him as God designed him, someone that can see who God is shaping him to be while encouraging him as he works out his own salvation. I prayed for someone who would love him and give herself for him, looking to serve more than to be served. And as I prayed for the wife I wanted for him, and knowing how what a clone he is of his father, I couldn’t help but reflect on whether or not I was the kind of wife for which I prayed. To be sober-minded would be to admit that in some ways I am, but in some ways I am not.
Taking my husbands strengths for granted and harping on his weaknesses is a trap I have fallen into more than once. And sometimes it is just easier to believe it when a 4 year old says you’re pretty than a grown man who is well acquainted with all of your imperfections.
But because of that moment, because of my son(s), I am learning more and more to see my husband in light of who God has designed him to be. I am beginning to accept the fact that it’s possible for Paul to see me at my worst, and still see beauty because of his love for me. I am seeing the importance of being the wife to my husband that I dream of for my boys. Not perfect, but walking together towards the Lord with humility and love, knowing that He who began a good work in each of us will be faithful to complete it!
And because any good blog about marriage needs some good Tim Keller quotes, here are 2 of my favs from “The Meaning of Marriage.”
“When over the years someone has seen you at your worst, and knows you with all your strengths and flaws, yet commits him- or herself to you wholly, it is a consummate experience. To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”
“Within this Christian vision of marriage, here’s what it means to fall in love. It is to look at another person and get a glimpse of what God is creating, and to say, “I see who God is making you, and it excites me! I want to be part of that. I want to partner with you and God in the journey you are taking to his throne. And when we get there, I will look at your magnificence and say, ‘I always knew you could be like this. I got glimpses of it on earth, but now look at you!”