Laying in bed last night, Hugh and I had a conversation that went as follows:
Me: Babe, the fact that you are only turning 29 tomorrow makes us sound really young. I know we never know the Lord’s plans, but if things happen the traditional way, you’ve still got a long way to go.”
Hugh: Morgan…nothing in our life has ever gone the traditional way so I probably wouldn’t plan on that one.
We laughed, and I knew it to be true; but as I lay awake in the middle of the night, I began to think about that statement even more; and I began to feel oh so grateful that God continues to wreck the plans that we assumed would be true. As it says in James 4:13-14,
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’- yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that”.
I believe these verses are there for two reasons. The first being to remind us that God is Lord and that He has the authority and the right to determine what all of our moments bring. The second, so that we are saved from these false expectations of what we wanted life to look like; and can instead, embrace the life that God has chosen for us, knowing that it is His best.
This is a picture of Hugh doing what he has grown to love best, serving others. It was a picture he sent me while doing medical missions in Peru, and I love the joy I see in his face. It is Hugh’s birthday today. If you know Hugh, he doesn’t enjoy being the center of attention, and is probably already embarrassed that I noted this fact in the blog. But, as I have been thinking about his life, his leadership in our family, and all that the Lord has brought us through and to, I wanted to remind those of us who are mothers a little something: we are not married to our children.
This seems so obvious; and those of you who are not parents might wonder how this truth could ever be mistaken. But, I want to speak specifically to women in these moments because I think it is a gentle truth that needs to be highlighted.
When I met Hugh, I literally could not believe a man like him existed. I magnified his strengths and was blinded to his weaknesses, and I thought he was the best thing to have ever hit the planet. I can remember getting butterflies each and every time he walked through the door, and I could not wait to get married to him. I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world. In the months after we got married, I can remember getting excited whenever he pulled into the driveway. Excited to see him, to give him a kiss, and to simply be around him. When we found out we were pregnant, the whole idea of having a baby (or two) with him seemed so glamorous. I fully anticipated our love for one another to grow deeper as we brought new life into this world, side by side.
Fast forward some time. Pregnancy was spent vomiting and being so tired I could barely function, and then the newborn trenches were all a blur. I remember people telling me to be careful to guard our marriage, and that children changed everything, but just like every other season of life, you never think you are going to be the person affected by that truth because your emotions don’t line up to it in the moment it is told to you. Oh, how we would be wise to listen to those a step ahead. The truth is, those people were absolutely right. Children do change everything, and if we are not careful, our priorities can become completely misaligned in the midst of it. I could go on and on but here is what I want to say to us today: as a father, your life is certainly changed when a little one comes along. But, as a mother, your entire being is changed. Your body, your day to day life, everything. And, while this may not always reign true for every situation, I think men tend to do a much better job of continuing to put marriage above kids than women do. It makes sense, and believe me, I get it as much as anyone. I was once told that there was a statistic that says that 90% of marriages of couples that lose a child end up divorced; and that 75% of couples who have children with special needs do. I believe this is a direct result of misaligned priorities that God intends for our families. Ladies, it is hard. We are called to nurture and invest fully in our children, and there are days where the thought of being needed by anyone else at the end of the day is exhausting. We are tired, we are drained, and often, it is hard to feel close to sexy after the stickiness and bodily fluid-filled moments we walk through. I get it, believe me. However, we must be cautious, for we are not in a covenant relationship with our children. We are in a covenant with our husbands, and they deserve to be right behind God in our list of priorities. It’s a part of what we promised them on that day that dirty diapers and toddler messes were far from our minds. We should not tolerate finding more comfort from the touch of our babies’ hand than the embrace of our husbands. You feel me on this?
I could go on and on, but in light of that, I want to spend a couple moments honoring Hugh and who he is; for I spent an entire blog doing that for Ally and Bailey Grace.
I celebrate Hugh today, and all the qualities that make him who he is. Yes, he is a wonderful, loving father. He is quick to celebrate the beauty in our girls, and spends most of his time simply loving on them. He comes straight home from work most days, ready to help with baths and bedtime stories and nighttime duty. But, outside of that, going back to the basics, Hugh is a man of God who authentically seeks the Lord in everything he does. He desires to share the Gospel with everyone he comes in contact with, and is quick to lead me back to what the Word says if I ever speak otherwise. Simply put, he wants to be more like Jesus in all that he does and all that he is. He works hard at loving me well, and is tough on himself when he does not feel like he has done that. He is quick to repent, and patient with those around him in all things. He strives to be the man that God has called him to be; and goes against the grain when necessary. He refuses to be legalistic, and refuses to set up legalistic standards for those around him. He believes the best in both his family, co-workers, and patients. He is intelligent, good-looking, ambitious, and just plain funny. He is not perfect, and he will never be. He is a man worthy of respect. As time goes on, we may argue less, but those arguments still occur and once they are over, he does not keep a file of them on record, as he knows Jesus does not do that either. He is not exactly what I always thought I wanted; but he is exactly what the Lord knew I needed in a husband. Hugh is not my Savior; never has been and never will be. Hugh will never completely satisfy me, and for that I am so grateful because I know the One who will and when all else fails, Hugh will always remind me of just that. He is much more than I would ever deserve in a husband, and while the butterflies might not always be there, I still can’t believe that I get to call him mine.
In honor of Hugh’s birthday, if you are married, would you spend today honoring your husband for who God made him to be? Let’s prayerfully celebrate their strengths instead of looking at their weaknesses; and if you have children, let’s remember to always put them third in line. Happy Birthday Hugh! I love you, and I pray to be the wife God has called me to be for all the days He chooses to give to us. I am so thankful to walk through this non-traditional adventure that we call life together.