I find myself unable to go back to sleep this morning, as per my usual routine when you rise before the sun. Instead, these wee hours find me in prayer for you. As you drive the fifty-two-mile commute to work, I am with you in spirit, and I am lifting to God the burdens that you shared with me before leaving. I know you are tired and weary of this toil, yet you continue. Your boss is a tyrant, yet you take it. Why is this so? You have always been there for me, and I want to be here for you now.
Remember when I was pregnant with Chris? You allowed me to quit my stressful job and become a stay-at-home mom, which was my heart's desire. One night as I balanced our checkbook, I found myself crying in fear and frustration. I told you that we wouldn't even be able to afford to buy diapers for the baby. As tears fell on my swollen tummy, you smiled tolerantly and said, "Hand me the checkbook. Let me take care of the budget." Your strength carried me through the fear.
When Sarah's pregnancy forced me to bedrest for three months, you were there for every doctor's visit. You came home each evening and played both mom and dad to our toddler, and then you played backgammon with me, to help relieve my boredom. I know you wanted to sleep. You were exhausted with the stress and anxiety of guarding my peace of mind and being strong for me, as we worked together to bring our daughter safely into the world.
Then when Steph was born, limp and blue, literally, it was you who stood between my line of vision and the baby as they worked on her, reassuring me that she was fine. It was you who made the quick, quiet call to our friend, saying only, "Pray!" You wanted to protect me from what you had seen.
When David ran off and married at only nineteen, we held each other together for the sake of the three kids still at home. We got through that storm of life together.
When job changes caused three moves within two years, you had to be terrified, because you knew only too well that the lives of six people depended on your choices. You were our rock. You made the whole thing an adventure.
I haven't forgotten how - when mom was dying - you willingly sacrificed your time with me and the kids to allow us to be with her in the last stages of her illness. And for years you have traveled at Christmastime - even after she passed away - because you know it was her favorite holiday and she loved for the whole family to be together.
It seems I've only written about our challenges, but we both know that for every one trial, we have enjoyed at least ten blessings. There are many family vacations that knit us all together and live on in our memories - skiing trips, Disney World, the cruise to Cozumel, visits to Alabama and Tennessee to meet relatives we didn't know we had. You know we will forever joke about the time we thought we were going to meet our Maker on Ophir Pass, while off-roading in Colorado! We even share our own private family 'language,' as we each repeat the funny phrases and quotes from all the movies we have seen together.
I hope this makes you smile. Together with God, you and I are creating a legacy of love, which holds our family's hearts together. I cannot imagine my life without you. You give purpose to my world. You graciously overlook my shortcomings. You've seen me at my best and at my worst, and you are still here - my champion, my defender, my protector.
So as you go off in the dark to a job that has long since ceased to satisfy, know this: I know that you unfailingly give me your loyalty, your sacrifice, your love, and your honor. The Word says, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13, NKJV)
Our wedding invitation read, "Today, I will marry my best friend." Twenty-one years ago, those words were a hope, a dream, a promise. Today, they have been proven true. You are indeed my best friend!
Knowing both the freedom of surrender and the pain of resistance, Cheri desires to bring God's hope to others suffering in life's deserts. She and husband Wayne have been blessed with four children and three grandchildren. Contact Cheri at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright 2007 Cheri Hardaway
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