Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Godly Man

When I was 18-years-old, I packed up and moved to Los Angeles, California to attend Bible college. It was less about wanting to learn more of the Wordand more about trying to find a preacher husband like my daddy. I had been praying for a godly husband for as long as I could remember and I figured that was a good place to find one.

I came home after a year, without a husband. It's amazing just how badly you can do in college when you're not actually there to learn anything.

A few years later, while in school to become an occupational therapist, I met and fell in love with Shawn...decidedly not a preacher, but a really good Christian guy who is very much like my daddy.

While I had obviously moved on from my desire to be a preacher's wife, I still had some hang-ups and ideas about what constituted a godly man. He must be at church every time the doors opened, raise his hands in worship, rise early in the morning to read the Bible, witness to his co-workers, listen exclusively to Christian music, etc. I decided my husband was lacking in these areas, so I set about to change encourage him.

I set the radio in our shared car to Christian music. I removed his magazines from the bathroom and replaced them with a Bible. I bought him family devotionals. If he chose to miss church, I feigned my best martyr smile and set about readying the children until he guiltily agreed to go. I was so subtle in my nagging encouragement. 

If you haven't figured it out, Shawn has mastered the long-suffering fruit of the Spirit.  And, he loves me. So, he put up with all my nonsense and did his best to live up to my ridiculous standards of spirituality to make me happy.

And then something happened. After the birth of our fourth child, I suffered from severe postpartum depression. I found myself in an angry fog that I could not escape. I was unable to function. I was miserable and, I'm sure, miserable to live with, as well.

My husband saw us through. While continuing to work full-time, he cooked meals for us, changed diapers, bathed and dressed children, and generally ran the house. Beyond that, though, he took care of me. I remember him running hot baths for me to soak in and handing me my Bible and journal and shooing me out the door to the nearest coffee shop. When I'd walk by him, he'd scoop me into his lap and pray for me and let me cry.

During my depression, he became the hands and feet of Jesus for me. He loved me as Christ loved the church and gave himself for me. He sacrificed his own comfort, time, and desires and kept the "in sickness" part of his marriage vows. Finally, when it looked as if I may never return to "normal", he gently sent me to my doctor.

After a six-month course of medication, I did return to my old self, but our marriage was never the same, thankfully. I finally realized that God had sent me that godly man I had prayed for. I'd been married to him all along.  It was not out of character for him to serve us. He's been doing stuff like that our whole marriage. I was just too thick-headed to see it.

This is what godliness is supposed to look like. How did I get it so wrong?

"The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." I Samuel 16:7b

Now, seven years later, this man is traveling half-way around the world to become Daddy to a child he's never even seen. He is sacrificing his plans, his security, and his future to care for one of the least of these. He has no idea what awaits us when we get there, and he hates to fly, but he's leading us there anyway because he's good and brave and his heart is broken for children with no one. He is determined to right a grave injustice.

It takes my breath away when I think about it and he is absolutely my hero.....and one of the most godly men I know.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Tara, you always make me cry. I am so sorry you went through that depression, that must have been miserable. I can SO relate to this post, I have been blessed with a wonderful, amazing husband too, but not the pastor I had hoped for. He is the most incredible dad and I have never felt more loved, at peace, comfortable and secure than with him. Thanks for making time to write out your thoughts and influencing me so often. Love,
    Wendy Wagler-Schindler