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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Happy Birthday Michelle!

Today is the day that my beautiful and wise wife was born. As most of you are aware, in addition to being a wife to me--no easy task!--a mother to our four children, the principle author of our first book (Yes, another one is coming.), and just this year, administrator of Gainesville Home-School Academy, Michelle edits almost everything I write. Several years ago I wrote a piece for Valentine's Day on love.

I'm no expert on love--certainly not on romance--so to write the piece, I relied mostly on the wisdom of others, especially the Word of God. Much of what I write deals with issues related to families, and thus, marriage. As I noted in the Valentine's Day column, we believe that, after our relationship with our Creator, the most important relationship in the universe is that between a husband and wife.

In order to be a light to the world, Michelle and I are determined to do our best to have our marriage be what God desires it to be. We sometimes fail (the enemy hates marriage!), and that is usually due to me. In spite of this, Michelle does the amazing thing that true love requires: she chooses to love me. In other words, no matter what, I am hers (and she is mine).

As Scripture, and any marriage counselor worth a dime, reveals, love is not simply a feeling, but a matter of the will. As C.S. Lewis put it, “[Love] is a state not of the feelings but of the will; that state of the will which we naturally have about ourselves, and must learn to have about other people.”

Jesus told us that His entire law can be summed up with two commands: Love God and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” How do we “love” ourselves? If we are honest, we should all admit that there are times when none of us is particularly lovable. In fact, most of us have probably been pretty disappointed in and disgusted by our own behavior, and thus, in ourselves. We may even have seen ourselves as downright nasty.

Therefore, loving our neighbor does not mean always having pleasant feelings about him, or being happy with everything she does. As Lewis also put it, it does not mean “thinking them nice either.” I'm certainly not "nice" all of the time. As anyone married for any length of time understands, my absolute worst moments are at home. In other words, my most unlovable moments are usually in the presence of my sweet wife. Yet, she chooses to love me.

Consider 1 Corinthians chapter 13, where the Apostle Paul reveals to us what true love is. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Patience, kindness, a lack of envy or boasting; humility, politeness, and controlling your temper; keeping no record of wrongs, rejoicing in the truth, and so on—these all are matters of the will and Michelle does these better than anyone else I know on this earth. Happy birthday baby!!!

Love, Trevor

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