As we were singing in church this morning, I had a flashback to my release from the hospital in June 2006. Having been in the hospital for over 2 months, I felt disconnected from the outside world that had changed seasons while I was flat on my back, climate controlled and under UV lighting, gestating babies.
I was discharged on a Friday. As soon as I was released, my husband rolled me down to the NICU to see our babies. (I had been on contact isolation for 4 days due to MRSA pneumonia and, therefore, unable to visit with them.) My health was still quite fragile--and I exhausted quickly, so after a visit, he drove me the 50 miles to our home. I was able to sleep in our bed for the first time in 9 1/2 weeks and see the nursery which had been mid-renovation when I first went into the hospital. The following morning, itching to see our babies, we returned to Atlanta to be close to the NICU for our scheduled visitation times.
After visitation, he set about tenderly caring for me by taking me to a spa for a massage and much needed facial waxing (my request, not an insulting hint from him). We spent the night in a hotel and the following morning we went to the old Harris Teeter that temporarily housed Buckhead Church. It was a priority. After the experience of the previous weeks, we wanted nothing more than to worship. As we stood together for that praise and worship time I was completely overwhelmed with emotions. The trauma and the miracle we had experienced was just beginning to register.
This morning as I again stood in that congregation next to my husband for praise and worship, I reflected on the tender way he cares for me and was overcome with love for my man. He is not a public, grand gesture, romantic man. He is something better--steady, consistent and dependable. I was reminded that true, lasting love is most notable for the times when challenges have been encountered--not for the sugar-coated peaks. Anyone can splurge on roses or orchestrate romantic dates. It requires much more to walk through the unpredictable nature of life, committed, no matter what storms may come.
Relationships are solidified by faithfulness. It is true of marriage, but also a beautiful picture of the love of our Father. When I think of the tenderness of God, I am reminded not of the 'perfect' days, but of the darkest days of my life--the times when I have had to rely on Him to carry me. He is unchanging, all-powerful, always steady, constant, merciful, loving--perfect. He is our creator and knows exactly how to love us.
My husband is a treasure, but I am reminded to worship the Giver, not the gifts. I love my husband most for the characteristics he displays that are a direct result of his love for God. As it is inscribed on our wedding bands, "We love because He first loved us." I John 1:9