Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How Sweet It Is {Part 7} "Practicing our Throw"

There’s nothing like a small town wedding.  It's the event of the weekend.  The town bulges at the seams because of out of town people driving in.  Florists stay up all night.  You don’t send invitations.  It just gets put in the church bulletin and people just show up ~ some who have invested all sorts of love into your family and some come just because they are curious.  Mommas just guess how many people will be coming to eat afterwards.  Our reception was at my house and Daddy spent gobs of time and money getting the outside ready and my mom and her best friend orchestrated the whole affair.  Even though I thought it was dreamy, white tents and all, it will go down in the minds of our guests as the hottest day ever.

Jeff and I never noticed.

On any given wedding day at the First Baptist Church, our small sanctuary is usually packed like an Easter Sunday when everyone could make it.  The place seems smaller and the walls come close.  In between all those people, those white walls witnessed a short ceremony, sweet with personal words by my pastor in college, a young girl making music on her harp, practical jokes brother style, songs that minister to me even today, sung by one who still invests in my life and a couple in their early twenties with some of the highest hopes and expectations that an altar has ever seen.

Twenty years later, I have to wonder why it has taken us so long to figure some things out, all of which, I think, I have shared throughout the year.  Many of those things are still in “active” status but identifying them is a huge part of moving forward.  We have been blessed by couples being transparent with us whether it be through phone calls, talks over dinner, by writing a book or talking to Jim Daly on Focus on the Family.  We have so much to learn, but here’s what I’ve been thinking about lately.  Our kids.  We are intentionally preparing our kids for so many things but what about marriage, the single most important relationship on the earth and the stickiest, and the most complicated, and the most tender?
Several years ago a beloved babysitter was getting married.  Julia fell asleep looking at her magazines.
I think, certainly, there are things we can plan to do to help prepare our kids for that relationship, but just as in everything, what are they catching?   At home?  What is bouncing off the walls over here, hitting them square in the heart?  I know I can’t pick and choose from our daily doings what takes root in their spirit, oh, if I could........

I’d want Brighton to always remember the picture of his dad filling up the leather chair in his office every morning, head bowed or Bible spread in his lap or sitting listening, thinking.  I’d want Brighton to take that with him because it’s everything.  It’s the foundation, it’s the plumb line, it’s leadership, it’s decision making, it’s freedom, it’s food, it’s THE relationship.  Everything.

I’d want Julia to remember all the times she knew her daddy and I needed to “discuss” something~ that it takes time, patience, and courage.  And Jesus.  It may not be fun but the things that hurt each other can’t be shelved for months on end. I want her to remember how we committed, through Jeff’s leadership, to hit them head on, no matter what, so it would make us stronger.  For each other.  For them.

I’d want Brighton to catch how his dad dreams for his family.  Our family has done things because each thing started with a dream inside Jeff’s head.  He sees them more clearly than I do which, at times, has led to the paragraph above this one, but I will say now, his dreaming needs to be celebrated and encouraged.  Because I struggle with dreaming, this celebrating and encouraging is in “active status”.  Let’s just say, I would have led, so far, an absolutely boring and dreary existence if it weren’t for Jeff.  I wouldn’t have known it was because my nose would have been in a book somewhere, but it would have been.  I want Brighton to dream for his family.  {And I’ll tan that girl’s hide if she responds like I have at times. Tan. It.}

I’d want Julia to catch how a lady is to be celebrated.  I think she’ll see lovely dinners for two set up in the backyard by the fire with flowers and candles a screen full of Tony Bennett or Harry Connick Jr.  She’ll think of those dates she’s had with him to fancy restaurants and how he took her shopping EVERY time.  She’ll remember the gifts displayed on the breakfast table for me on special days or the package left on the bed “just because”.   She’ll have pictures of us on the couch with our coffee, reading, watching or just talking, after their bedtime.  She’ll remember the Daddy Daughter Dances and how special he made her feel.  I want her to catch what it means to be celebrated by her husband.  And know that it's all grace.

I’d want Brighton to recall the sacrifices of time made by his dad ~ for all of us.  Most working men have more to do than the day will hold so they have to hit the stop button at some point.  Brighton sees his dad making time for almost everything. Early morning bike rides, “farm chores”, throwing the ball, field trips, batting cages, dates with me, recitals, Galaga games in the man cave, baseball games, quiet evenings at home with me, coaching, weekends at the lake, dates with Julia, dinners at home, shopping for special occasions, school functions, reading at night.  His dad takes the time because he loves his family.  I want Brighton to catch that.

I’d want Julia to have a clear picture of what a man looks like whose love for Jesus drives everything he does. I want her to know the real thing so well that she can smell a fake coming from clear across the continent or even across the street.  I want her to recognize godly leadership, a man who is willing to sacrifice much for the cause of Christ, one who is willing to take a back seat while he sees the Kingdom growing, and one who is willing to carry a burden because it needs to be carried.  Personally, I think she’s in the right house.

Oh, they’ll catch their share of our stuff that will spur those “discussions” I mentioned in their own marriages.  I just pray that those discussions will serve only to remind them- and us- of our great need for Jesus, the Cross, the Gospel.  Because of the Gospel, we always have hope.  And hope does NOT disappoint us.

“Because of the gospel, we have hope (Romans 5:1-4). Therefore we can endure any marital difficulty, hardship, or suffering, with the assurance that God is working all to our greatest good (Romans 8:28).”  Jonathan Parnell

So Jeff, how I pray the kids are playing catch with you more often than with me.  We are so blessed to have you.  To be under your leadership, your protection.  To experience your love, your devotion.  And to live out those dreams with you.

{And I can’t wait for the one you are working on now to come true!  Watch out west, here we come!  Pop up and all.  Fun!}

First date

Last date so far....


andrea said...

Lovely post just like Jeff. He is an awesome husband, father, leader, encourager, friend and follower of Christ. Tell him hello from me.
I love seeing the pictures when you got married (you were such a gorgeous bride) and of your first and last date(you are still gorgeous...love your hair).

It is wonderful that Jeff makes time for his family, as a lot of men struggle with this because society puts so much into 'what you do for a living', instead of living/life. Jeff sets a great example to his children and to others.

ps...I think they have a pretty awesome mom too.

love you friend!
hugs from down under

Sarah said...

Chris always says Jeff tries to make the rest of us husbands look bad ;) He really good write a book on intentionality. Love this post. The Sanders family is truly blessed with its leader :)

Sarah said...

meant to say, "he really COULD write a book"

Emily said...

Great post. LOVE the contrast between the "first" and "latest" dates. Young Jeff and Krista were so cute!

Krista Sanders said...

Down Under- Love you. Your words are always so sweet and make me miss you more.
SW- whatever! We've got the best husbands in TX! Yes?
Em- watch your mouth! As opposed to the "old" J and K??!!! Weathered? Vintage? Matured? Prune-like?

TJ Wilson said...

ok - so you seriously did not send out invitations??!

nikki said...

you look younger on your recent date- than you did on your first date?!?!?! wow.