Tomorrow is our 28th wedding anniversary. I can't think of a better way to celebrate God's incredible goodness to me than by sharing some of the ways He hs used Mr. Beaver to impact my life:
1. Never go to bed angry. This idea didn't originate with Mr. Beaver, of course. God records this relationship-saving wisdom in the Bible, "...do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity" (Ephesians 4:26,27). When we began marriage nearly three decades ago, Jim insisted we live according to this principle. This has made for some late, late nights, getting very few zzzzs. However, the effort has been worth every nearly-sleepless night as it has kept our union free from the growth of bitterness.
2. Never go to bed without relationship reconciliation. This may sound redundant, but it goes a step beyond Point 1. We can tell ourselves we're free of anger and still not be free of our agenda. No matter the depth of disagreement, my husband insists we stay awake until sweetness returns. He requires us to live, "Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ Jesus has forgiven you." (Ephesians 4:32). Jim's leadership on this point has kept our relationship with each other amiable and gracious. He demands the same standard in our relationships with all 13 children (10 by adoption, two by birth, one by marriage).
3. Never part from a loved one without relationship reconciliation. Again, this may sound redundant. The focus of this Point 3, however, is not saying good-night but saying good-bye. Jim's father died in a plane crash when he was just seven. His mom has spent decades grateful to the Lord that the two of them had this "rule." When my mother-in-law became a widow, she had no regrets. Their relationship was free of fresh bruises and free of unhealed harm from old battles. Jim has insisted that everyone in our family love each other in this same way. Even if we're running out the door late, we must stop and set any damaged relationship right. (See Matthew 5:23,24)
4. The way to a person's heart is through service. I've learned the value of meeting the needs of others by being the object of Mr. Beaver's ongoing selflessness. For as long as I can remember, my husband has walked in from work uttering the same four words to me, "How can I help?" His willingness to put my needs and those of his children before his own desires, even when he's exhausted, has refreshed me nightly and left our kids in awe of their daddy. They "get" what a sacrifice their father's offer is, and they're able to recognize Christ at work in him. The influence his service has had on their hearts has made me to want work harder at honoring Jesus' words: "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve..." (Mark 10:45) Mr. Beaver imitates His Saviour beautifully, day in and day out.I love my husband deeply. I thank God for Mr. Beaver, and for all Mr. Beaver has taught me since we stood at the alter. This list barely scratches the surface. Daily, I watch him. I learn from him. I glean more and more wisdom from him. I hope and pray the Lord will allow me many more years to follow him as he follows God.
5. God's word is worth knowing. On my first birthday after we married, Mr. Beaver gave me a study Bible. My thought was a disgruntled, "Great...what kind of gift is this?" Obviously I didn't understand the value of God's word. However, I've had 28 years to watch as my man has read the Book, studied the Book, memorized the Book, shared the Book with our children in the evenings, and taught the Book at church. I've watched the Book change him. He's grown more tender, humble, gentle, patient, thankful, and compassionate. The more time Mr. Beaver spends in the Bible, the more he prizes God and becomes like God's Son. The Bible says, "...like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word". With the many other ways Mr. Beaver could spend his time (he loves to golf and has his private pilot's license), he invests it in knowing God through His word and it shows! Unlike 28 years ago, I now understand the value of knowing God's word and try to follow Mr. Beaver's example in impressing it on my heart (Deuteronomy 11:18)!