Monday, June 17, 2013

My full heart

I know I've been a little sporadic around here.  There has been so much to do that it has been hard for me to steal a few moments and sit down to share. This makes me sad because I have much to document and get out of my heart for my family to remember from this season in our lives.  I think the fact we attended two funerals this past week has helped me prioritize my time a little. I mean, what is more important to me?  Unwinding by watching a little TV or spending a few moments writing so that my life is documented for my grandchildren and children? Well, here I am so I guess you know the answer.

What compelled me to finallysit down and share,  was my full heart from yesterday. Father's Day.  I am blessed beyond what I deserve in the man the Lord chose to be the daddy of my girls. I could go on and on. But I won't.

What stirred my soul was the message he preached yesterday. Actually, it was a culmination of things....  The testimony that was shared by everyone in church about their dads..specifically what my girls shared about Nick.  And then his sermon that followed.

Long story short, Nick has not always been the man or daddy that he is today. He did not come to know Jesus until 9 years into our marriage and fatherhood and I have watched him evolve over the years as he grows in grace and knowledge.

He is not an emotional guy.  He's not up and down. He's steadfast. And he is stern.  We four females who has lived with him  over the past 25 years have not been able to use our womanly wiles to manipulate him.  Batting eyes and shedding tears just didn't work with him.  He wasn't effected.  He has always been able to be objective in a situation no matter how close to home it was.

So anyway in church yesterday, our worship leader Bro Bill, gave us an opportunity to share a word of testimony about our dads.  Lauren tried but got so choked up she couldn't get a word out. Bless her heart...I've been there.  Then Lydia shared.  She shared that when she was little growing up her daddy was a great disciplinarian and she thought he was mean at times...even harsh.  But now she realizes that what not the case. In her words, he is the most gentle person she knows....and the kindest person she knows and how he never speaks bad about anyone and she desires to be more like him.

That alone filled my heart to the brim. Then he stepped up to preach and it overflowed.

I just want to share with you a small snippet that spoke volumes to my heart.  It's not that the message was super deep or profound. It was simple and straightforward. What filled my heart to overflowing is the fact that the girls and I discussed afterwards how we could see every one of the qualities that he preached about in him.  God did that.  It was like God illuminated my heart as he spoke.....I could see so clearly how the years and years of him spending time with Jesus in His word has shaped him into the man his is today.  And not just because he is a pastor or a preacher of the word...but because he is a lover of the word.   

My pastor  challenged the men to be manly men and in order to do that they must be balanced men. Yes..be a man.  Be strong...but be balanced in that strength.

I don't do it justice in his deliverance but these were his points and some of this thoughts.
  • Be tough but also be tender....strong and disciplined but also having a tenderness for the heart of people.  Don't be a law driven person but be driven by wanting to connect and relate grace to where people are and by grace to where you desire to take them.  Grace teaches us that it is unwavering in its standard for us (Titus 2) but when we do fall short of that standard, it covers a multitude of sins.   Oh my, I have watched Nick's tender side grow more and more over the years. With each daughter he has had to give away in marriage his heart has tendered.  And when our oldest was pregnant with  our first grandchild, God began shaping and tendering his heart even more preparing him for his grand children.  It has been so beautiful seeing this incredibly tough man exercising tenderness and gentleness.   He just exudes Christ and it is so attractive to me and the world around us.
  • Be smart but also sensitive....a man who enjoys learning, one who grows in understanding and love yet not filled with pride and arrogance as a result of his knowledge. A humble man. When you're not sensitive to where people are, it will make you respond out of anxiety and frustration with people and not out of a wise and understanding heart.  I've seen Nick grow and exercise this over and over again within our ministry dealing with people and within our home as he relates to me and our girls.  I'm so thankful his aim is to help us, not to be right or have his way.  "Knowledge without love puffs up.."
  • Be courageous yet compassionate....to have the courage to take a stand for the Lord and His ways yet realizing others may not be as courageous in the fight as you are... yet you show them great compassion and not condemnation.  Your goal is to inspire, to inspire them to be brave and stand for Jesus.  Nick has never been one to be afraid to stand alone for God's truth.  I have learned so much over the years seeing him inspire others around him. I've seen his compassion toward other people just grow so much even recently and his attitude always humbles me.  Lydia said it best when she texted me  after seeing the movie, "Courageous" and said, "I told Marcus my daddy was ahead of the game.  He was courageous before Courageous."   
  • Be powerful yet patient....being a grace teacher... one that has the ability or "power" to see and do what others cannot see or do but you show great patience with them as you graciously lead and guide...  be one who equips and influences others for good... by not focusing on what they can't see or do but leading them patiently and persistently.  I'm so thankful for this quality in Nick.  That he doesn't focus on my many faults but instead tries to help equip me and teach me.  I've seen his pastor/teacher heart at work in our ministry exercising this with the people the Lord has given him to lead.  His patience with people has grown in leaps and bounds over the years.
  • Be authoritative yet approachable. ...knowing you are a leader. You have the authority, yet not being so overbearing to where people are fearful of approaching you. People should feel comfortable in your presence regardless of your authority because of your kindness.  Proverbs 19:22 says "What is most desirable about a man is his kindness."   A great example in scripture is Boaz.  He had the authority to do as he pleased but showed kindness to Ruth and was such a great picture of our Kinsmen Redeemer, Christ.  Nick has always been authoritative.  He is a leader.  God has gifted him with this quality. He doesn't waver and he's not intimated.  But he is also approachable. He has the authority in our home...that is God's design, but we know we can go to him with our thoughts and opinions and he will listen to us and use godly wisdom in responding.  This is manly.  This makes me feel so secure AND valued.  
  • Be loyal yet loving... be loyal to those you've been given to serve yet loving them enough to be honest and discrete, that you may truly lead and serve them.  You must love them enough to lead them faithfully in the truth.  Love them enough to lay your life down for them.  Love them enough to sacrifice and set your preference aside yet loyal to the will and ways of God. Even before Jesus interrupted Nick's life he was sacrificial as a husband and father.  He has always put his family before himself.  But now when he corrects us in our attitudes or something, I never doubt his motive...it's always to help us...to lead us closer to Christ.
It was such a great word from the Lord.  A message for the men, yes.  But it applied to me too.  Any one of us who wants to be bold and passionate for the things of the Lord yet also tender and compassionate toward the people along the way. It brings me so much joy that I can receive along with everyone else there because of the genuineness of my pastor.  He's not perfect by any means but he is one of the greatest living examples I know of what a transformed life looks like that is  daily being shaped to be more like Jesus.  And Nick is no different than your husband.. or me.. or you.  God just needs a willing heart who wants to be changed.

I think this makes a difference too.

This is his bible.  Every. single. page looks like this one. 
He spends countless hours in it finding out what God desires.
Because of that, he has discovered how to be a manly man. 
A balanced man.
A godly man.

May we all be found finding out what God desires.
And may we wives, continue to pray for our husbands that they would strive to be all that God has called them to be. And let's do it with the same patience that we would like them to extend to us.

Well,  I said I wasn't gonna go on and on about how blessed I am that Nick is the daddy to my girls, but I guess I kinda did after all huh?
Please forgive me. ;)


                                                                                             

9 comments:

  1. What a wonderful post, Stephanie. That sermon was exactly what I needed to read tonight. Thanks so much for sharing it. I mean it.

    You look fabulous, lady! Where's the update?!

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  2. What an awesome post and what a blessing to be married to such a Godly man! And, you are sure looking good my friend! Happy week!

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  3. First of all, I love that he's a pastor that uses alliteration :)

    Second, I love how much you love each other. I know I only know you by what you guys put out there on Instagram and this blog but I can tell it's a genuine, true love. The kind we all want. You guys are crazy about each other and everyone knows it. I love that. Such an encouragement to me!

    Third, so many things about your mister remind me of my dad. He also raised three girls, by the way.

    Last, thanks for sharing this. Such good stuff! Also you look so great!

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  4. It touched my soul to read his thoughts about being a righteous man. I hope that my son and grandsons grow to be such people.

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    ReplyDelete
  6. Looks like Nick and my dad preached very similar messages. My father's message was right along those same lines. My children's father left us 7 years ago, but I have been honored that my dad has been such a good example for them and that they were able to sit and listen to him speak about what godly men are supposed to be just blessed my soul.

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  7. Oh, I looove this. Beautiful. Loving the importance of manly + balanced.:)

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