He’s the shoulder that caught me one night years ago in a hotel lobby when God used a perfect stranger to set me free. He’s the one who quietly bought gorilla tape to fix the sole of my shoe when my feet kept getting wet in the snow. He’s the one who uncomplainingly tackles dog poop on the rare occasions it ends up in the house because he knows my nose can’t handle it. He’s the one who always makes me walk closest to the curb to keep cars from hitting me.
He’s the one who was my quiet shadow at a pro-life rally in Houston when we marched through the streets in silent prayer. He’s the one who danced in the new year beside me with 35,000 other worshippers. He’s the one who didn’t blink when he snapped his laptop closed around the giant spider descending on my head; the one who brought the shovel and decapitated the snake that hissed at my bare feet. He’s the one who always kills cockroaches.
He’s the one who told me it was okay to cry as much as I needed to in the weeks after we released our child back into the arms of God–the one who knew to pack me in a car at sunset and let beauty touch the pain he couldn’t. He’s the one who scoured the Internet to find relief for my second degree burns. He’s the one who held my hand and watched in silent strength the day I brought our firstborn into the world, and then carried me from wheelchair to hospital bed when I couldn’t stand. He’s the one who snuck out to buy and set up a tiny Christmas tree that first week as parents because he knew I loved the lights but didn’t have the energy to decorate or “undecorate” that year.
He’s the one who persisted in leaving Scriptures, flowers, and chocolates at my doorstep when I insisted I just wanted to be friends. He’s the one who found bad news first and went out of his way to let me know I wasn’t alone and he was praying. He’s the champion of my purity, who routinely protects my eyes and ears from media that we would deem unacceptable in our home. He’s the one who married me in a hospital and in a church. He’s the one who sat beside me through the midnight hours when we thought my mom was dying, who challenged me to sing praise music at the top of my lungs while he drove me the two hours to the hospital, who spent the week before his wedding in an ICU waiting room, who volunteered to leave his honeymoon early to return to that waiting room when things took a bad turn. He’s the one who spent days sitting in the rehabilitation center with my mother when I had to be at work and my dad had to be under medical supervision two hours away.
And these things are just the surface of what the past three years with this man have been like. I haven’t even talked about the everyday mundane–how he takes out the trash, gets up in the middle of the night to check on our child, takes himself to the couch on restless nights so I can get more sleep, challenges my theology on a regular basis (which often results in glorious fights because we are equally stubborn and equally versed in Scripture, but we make up quickly), takes care of the car before long road trips, watches our child so I can be involved in ministry…. He is as dedicated to promoting my dreams as I am to his. He is generous, compassionate, committed to holiness, quick to apologize, slow to bring up past wrongs, dedicated to family, open-handed to those in need, obedient to the voice of the Lord (when he is convinced it’s the Lord), and faithful to his vows. He is my sweetheart, my hero, my solace, and my unexpected gift from the Lord. This is my beloved. This is my friend.
Happy birthday, “JD.” I’m so thankful you were born.