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Happy birthday, to my beloved Jonathan

It seems only fitting that my first “real” post of this blog would be written in honor of you – my dearest friend, most faithful companion, most dedicated caretaker, most ardent encourager, and most committed father of our children. When most people get married they likely have a couple of blissful months, and then realize after a while that who they married isn’t really who they thought were. The masks come off and the true colors are revealed. You, however, have been the complete opposite. The longer we have been married, the more I realize that you are better than I could have ever imagined. Who others may know you to be or think you to be doesn’t hold a candle to who you really are. Behind closed doors when no one is looking, in the waking, should-be-sleeping, unglamorous routines of the day-to-day, you show up – every day – with kindness, gentleness, and quiet strength for others to lean into. I have spent these past six plus years as the grateful recipient of your seemingly endless patience, steadfast, abiding love, and selfless commitment, and have been changed by the atmosphere of grace and peace that you provide.

Something that others may not know is how you have spent the past year as my caretaker. When my health tanked last year from insomnia and the residue of PTSD, and my mind struggled to remember much of anything – including how to get from point A to point B in our own hometown, we did not know how we would survive. I couldn’t sleep at night, which meant I could barely function during the day, either because of exhaustion or because migraines consistently took me out. I would lie awake, frustrated, desperate, and guilt-ridden, knowing I was keeping you from sleep, too. You never hesitated. Every miserable night you came to my rescue, praying for me and asking God to have mercy and grant me rest. I struggled because not only was I not “contributing” to the family, I was being a drain – which was in my mind, the worst possible thing I could be. Instead of shame and frustration you showed me compassion and patience, and assured me that I was worthy of love whether or not I contributed anything. When the doctor said we were going to need a radical change of life in order to shift my body and mind’s “fight or flight” loop, we did not know what to do and our options seemed few. There wasn’t enough money to hire help, and we couldn’t impose on our families to meet our needs, considering our complex healing diet and Hallie’s special needs. After we weighed everything, you announced that you would take on the responsibilities of the home, run the tea business remotely, and care for me and our three babies, including all of the cooking, cleaning, and night time wakings with the baby. And you did. And I rested. And I started to heal, and even started to thrive. You were Jesus-with-skin-on to me every day, putting your needs and wants last (every. single. day), in order to nourish me, restore me back to health, and bring me into a new understanding of my worth. It still brings me to my knees. Such love. Such incredible faith expressed through deeds. Such strength. Truly walking the walk, in the footsteps of Christ, who laid it all down for undeserving recipients.

So this 37th year of your life, my prayer is that you will reap the goodness, lavish generosity, kindness, patience, and love that you have sown into others. My prayer is that you will be seen for the man that you truly are, and that you will enjoy great favor whatever you put your hands to. My prayer is that you will enjoy your friendships – old and new – and that you will know their support and loyalty. My prayer is that you will feel alive in your vocational pursuits, and that you will discover deeper wells of ingenuity and creativity than you ever imagined. My prayer is that you will live from a place of rest, and that your spirit, soul, and body would come into greater wholeness and health than ever before. It is true that the measure of a man is not in strength, riches, or knowledge, but in how much he loves and is loved. Know that you are loved with everything in me, and that I am eternally grateful that you chose me to walk next to you. Happy birthday, Jonathan, my gift of God.

I love you forever,
Your beloved


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