Sometimes I hear it before my alarm goes off, sometimes after and no matter the season, it is always dark outside. The coffee maker grinds, rather loudly, the Columbian Supremo coffee beans in order to brew Jeff’s Costco coffee. If you don't know it is the coffee maker, your immediate reaction is to take cover. Most mornings, including Saturday and Sunday, Jeff is up and out of the bedroom before I am. After my exciting morning routine of washing my face, brushing my teeth and making the bed, I head out of our room for the next phase of the schedule always finding Jeff in the same place, doing the same thing-- sitting in his office, sipping coffee, reading his Bible or praying. Sounds “spiritual”, doesn’t it? Well…….it is, actually, and the kids and I have benefitted immensely. I, for some time now, have secretly called those benefits, “fruit of the room”.
Often, as I watch him live life in our home, I wonder, how does he stay on such an even keel? How can he always make such rational decisions? How does he not take the kid's behavior personally? How can his tone of voice always sound so............normal? How does he tolerate all my quirks? It's the Lord. It's all the time he sits with Him. So I started making notes in my head of how his time there affects me. I have found remembering inspires and "spurs" me on. He always has new things to share with me from his time in the Word or from the many books he reads. He is able to forgive me easily which he has to do often. He is confident in a decision once it is made because it came from a familiar Voice with equally familiar authority. He is able to encourage me and seem quite interested in my mundane “dailies” that fill the weeks. (The flesh can barely stand a second of that!) I think the hardest thing, for him and for me, is the times he has to point out unhealthy patterns in my thinking or behavior. Looking back, that may be the most valuable one of all. Because of the discernment the Lord gives him and his obedience to speak the truth in love, LAYERS upon layers have been rubbed from my mirror that’s sole purpose is for reflecting Christ. He is able to love me in spite of my self, in spite of my sinfulness, in spite of all my layers. Fruit of the room.
When it comes to parenting, there are times when I am dumbfounded by his “capacity”. He hardly ever gets frustrated with the kids, even when he has them all day. He makes great parenting decisions when I am drawing a big white blank about what to do. He is definitely the voice of reason, the one who is able to get to the bottom of why everyone is less than pleasant (cranky?), thus the one who helps bring peace to our emotional disarray. Last week when Jeff was at a overnight conference, the kids and I had a rough hour post- dinner/pre-bedtime and this is what my melodramatic girl said, “How much do you love Daddy, Momma?” “The whole world, of course.” (a phrase she began when she was 2) “I love Daddy the whole world too. I would turn the world upside down just to see Daddy right now.” I resisted rolling my eyes, but I knew why. He would have been the loving buffer we all needed. Fruit of the room.
Because it has made such an impact on my life, I do wonder how his time in that room has influenced and will influence Julia and Brighton. Since he is usually finished by the time they get up, they rarely see him in his office, but just this morning, I heard the small bare feet of Brighton on the stairs and then his early morning voice which always sounds two years younger, “Daddy, can I sit with you and you read the Bible to me?” He knew what his Daddy was doing. Sometimes on the weekends, Jeff awakens Julia early, makes some hot chocolate for her and reads the Bible to her-and now her to him. This started about two years ago and for Julia, it hardly gets any better. Almost a year ago, Brighton had his first early morning date with Jeff and because he is our early riser, he requests it quite often, like this morning. Did he just want out of his room? Maybe. Did he want hot chocolate? He didn’t ask for it. Whatever he was wanting, Jeff said “yes” and I believe seeds were given a good down pour. Fruit of the room.
So thanks, Jeff. You are doing it. You are leading us well and to our delight, loving us just as well. I thank God for all the wonderful things about being married to you, but this has to be the crowning piece. The fruit He brings is invaluable, impossible to express with words, still producing, not always tangible, beautiful, appreciated, abundant, though not measurable and only there because God, who you handed your heart over to some 30 years ago, chooses to bestow it as you spend time with Him.
We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. Psalm 78. Lord, let it be.
Happy Birthday, Jeff!
(Julia's above picture-- got a kick out of this one. I love that our ages were important this time-- although she missed mine by a year. (I didn't correct her.) She drew things we "loved to do" beside us. Jeff- football, me- pots and pans-?, Julia- a jumprope, and Brighton- a soccer ball.)