How He Loves Me, Let Me Count The Ways.

I was thinking in light of last week's question of how I could romance and bless my honey and a thought occurred to me. I could praise him publicly. Well, I can put it out on my blog and you "the public" can read it. And to you dear public, would you please post a comment for Mike. It could just be an encouraging comment or something you appreciate or are thankful for about him. My hope is for him to feel loved and know how special he is to me and others.

Mike has always been an amazing man. When we were courting he would write me romantic notes. We would study at IHOP together. He would call me daily while I was in China teaching English... and when I came home (from China) he had gift certificates for a massage and pedicure at a luxurious spa. Mike would always do things big and small for no reason in particular and would make special days extra special. My first birthday when we were a couple I turned 22 and he had 22 little presents for me. The best present of the day was that he gave me his first kiss. It was a precious gift. My lips are the only ones he's kissed...with exception to his mom and grandmothers... :) Mike has always been thoughtful and quick to put my needs above his. He's willing to watch girlie movies like Pride & Prejudice with me, and I'm not talking about the new one, although we saw that together 3 times in theaters, I'm talking the whole 5 1/2 hour A&E rendition with Colin Firth. He's watched You've Got Mail with me more times than I can think of.

Mike is always willing to rub my back even if he's had a long hard day. On days that he knows are difficult or I'm just extra tired he will wake me up by bringing me up a cup of hot tea and will make me oatmeal just the way I like it with raisins and walnuts and brown sugar and a splash of milk. Mike makes a mean cup of "Oh Boy" (Swedish hot chocolate) and a delicious grilled cheese.

I remember being pregnant with Libby and it was just after my sister died. Mike was always willing to get me food or prepare something for me to eat.. I never felt like cooking and was nauseous and depressed almost all the time. Mike never complained or was resentful. He never told me to snap out of it or to pull myself together. He didn't complain that I was being such a picky eater. He would hold me as I cried myself to sleep night after night.

He's always looking out for my best. Always encouraging me to grow, to try new things, to help me in anyway I can. He is for me. He wants me to do things that I enjoy doing. He wants me to continue getting more education. He wants me to have fun with hobbies I enjoy. He spoils me.

And even though it's been a hard several years, he has made them the sweetest. he has helped me find beauty from pain. He has helped me walk through the valley of the shadow of death. He has helped me to see that God is loving and does have my best in mind, because Mike is that way.

Mike isn't perfect. He's human. He has flaws. BUT he is the greatest means of grace I have ever known. He has been my best friend. he has loved me when I have been ugly, in spite of the weight I've gained since we've been married, in spite of the stretch marks and other imperfections I have from my two beautiful children. He has always made me feel lovely even when I wasn't. He knows my deepest fears and has walked with me out of the pit of despair. His kindness and generosity melt my heart. He gives of his time, money, resources and himself. He is quick to lay down his life for others and is a great friend. He loves his children and is gentle and tender with them. He disciplines them because he loves them.

He is passionate and adventurous and sensitive in Spirit. He loves the Lord and desires to please Him with His life. He seeks new ways to love and romance me. He has bought me beautiful jewelry, delicious perfumes, fragrant flowers, and I can't tell you how many arts and crafts supplies. He encourages me in my endeavors as a cook, mom, wife, friend, daughter, gardener, card-maker, scrapbooker, writer, reader, and nutritionist.

We have walked through some hard times. Many deaths, births, heartbreaks, financial difficulties and struggles, 4 different moves, a Bachelors degree, working on a Master's degree and dreaming of attempting a PhD in the UK. We have cried, laughed, screamed, danced, played, and worked together. We have traveled together to D.C.,NYC, Sweden, France, Iceland (well, flying through :) We have both been Starbucks baristas, students at Old Dominion University, been in Enland at separate times and taught the same Sunday school. All this and we have only been married 4 years this September. Wow, 4 moves and 2 children later... and we're here in Philadelphia, working on his Masters, doing summer Hebrew and praying for the next step. By the way, he made straight A's this past semester!

My husband as my birthday present this year is giving me a trip to CA. I'm flying to visit my dear friend and adopted little sister Kelsey. 5 DAYS of sun, fun, Starbucks and one of my dearest friends to share it with.

I'm probably making Mike out to seem unreal but he is real. I love him with all of my heart and long to love him better and more deeply. So Honey, if you're reading this please know that I am more in love with you than ever. I am so proud of you. The way you care for us as your family, the way you're doing school, and juggling the weight of so many responsibilities and a crazy wife and two monkey children---- you're AMAZING! I look forward to spending the rest of my life with you!


Caren said…
You guys are so great together. Mike, its awesome to see and hear about the way you love your family. I remember one Sunday way back when Grace was still Southside...Kate Rockey and I were worshiping next to each other. It was when we were young and single, and trying to live life as single Christian adults....
Kate taps my arm and says "Look at that". She points at you Mike. You were worshiping and praising God. It was a beautiful thing to watch. Then she says, 'Why should we mess with that? His devotion to God is so apparent and visible. Anyone but the right person would only be a distraction for him.' I could only agree with her. You were always such a nice guy and genuine with people. Thanks for being a great influence and witness to other people. I'm so glad you and Jen got together. God made you perfectly for each other.
Bethany said…
Very sweet.
Judy said…
Wow! What a guy!!! Any guy who watches the BBC version of Pride & Prejudice (MY personal FAVE!!) is definetly a hero in my book! Here's to you guys!! :)
Anonymous said…
Mike is a treasure and we are so thankful that you both have found your soulmates......sounds so secular but it is true.........a beautiful thing to see your child grown into the kind of man that a mother has prayed for and cried with and over and see that he now has has a wife to cherish and love him and appreciate him, too. Blessings on you all.
Kate Van said…
Jen, how thoughtful and encouraging. I respect your family and the humble way you've walked through so many seasons in you marriage already. Miss you and hope you're doing well!
Anonymous said…
I made mention of this when we were up there, but Mike is absolutely THE MAN!

Over and over again I was amazed at his everyday little interactions with you, Libby & Sam, John and me, and others. They were so filled with love and true greatness from a genuine heart of servitude.

Most of the time I look at parents and say, "That's how I'm NOT going to do it." But it was the complete opposite with you guys - and especially Mike as a father (because I'll be a father one day and not a mother). He is simply amazing.

It's an honor for me to have him as my brother - such a fantastic and lucid picture of a true man, husband and father.
Anonymous said…
By the way...did I mention that he's an absolute GENIUS? And will be considered one of the greatest thinkers of our generation?
Anonymous said…
By the way...did I mention that he's an absolute GENIUS? And will be considered one of the greatest thinkers of our generation?
Wendy said…
Thank you for pouring yourself out for the Lord. Our churches, young men, even young women need solid examples of how to walk out biblical manhood. From all that has been written and the few times we interacted in VA, I am thankful to Him that you are one of those very clear examples. The Lord is glorified all the more in your life when you live a life to serve. May you feel His continued faithfulness and blessing in your life daily.
Ashleigh said…
Jennifer, what a sweet post!

Mike, while I don't know you that well, Ted has always spoken very highly of you. :-) Also, I have to agree with Judy, watching the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice deserves applause. Ted didn't make it past the first 20 minutes. :-)
Michelle said…
Jennifer- great job at the specific encouragement to Mike.

Mike- words like "friend" and "respect" come to mind when I think of you. And I mean them in the heavy, truest sense. I've been blessed by you and your family and am grateful to have you in my life. Thank you for your example, friendship, and love.
Anonymous said…
I could elaborate for quite a while about you, Mike. It has been one of the greatest blessings of my life just to know you, and not just that you were/are a wonderful son, but that now that you're grown, you've become and are becoming a wonderful man, wonderful husband, father, friend, counsellor, worshipper, wise man...
The evidences of the Lord's work are so powerful in your life. Your incredible strength, yet gentleness and tender care; your intellect and thirst for knowledge, yet your humility; your respect for authority, yet your ability to think for yourself and act wisely; your vision and sense of purpose for the future, yet your embracing of realities and responsibilities in the present; these dichotomies are hard enough to come by in the best of circumstances but you've been given much, and have and are faithfully cultivating these gifts, often in some truly overbearing trials and tests during your short life. It will pay dividends beyond your ability to comprehend, and soon.
The Lord chose you as the first of three brothers, and as such, you lead the way in exemplary fashion, a fitting example for John and Dave, as well as for Mom and me.
We are indescribably proud of you, and John and Dave, and Jen, as well.
Every parent worth that title desires for their children to be better, go farther and higher than they have. Well, from my perspective, you've already done that and more, and raised the bar so high, we now expect much, much more! And because you're not getting there out of some stilted obligation to 'equal my achievements', you will go far, since it is the Lord who is your goal-maker, the One whom you desire to please, and rightly so. He has given you a wonderful wife and two precious, wonderful children--so far!--to teach you much of His blessings and care for you, and others through you.
How amazing, how wonderful He is to bless you and us so completely! How grateful we are for you!
I love you inexpressably, my son, my brother, my friend!
Anonymous said…
Having only been over in the US and in your lives for such a short time what is now such a long time ago, it is hard to follow some of the comments above, but Jennifer, you asked us twice on the blog, so.... Whenever I think of Mike, whether from what I remember of spending time with you guys, or from the wonderful stories of your family that I hear from Jennifer, I think of the word "rock" - steady, firm, reliable, loyal, faithful, dependable, a good friend to everyone who met him - and that makes me think of the Rock that his feet are so evidently planted on. I know that my brother only hung out Mike for one evening at the bowling alley when he was over visiting with my family, but he still remembers being struck by Mike's gentleness, humility and great sense of humour. I am thrilled that my precious friend has such an amazing husband, and am so grateful that this blog lets us hear about how Mike continues to reflect Jesus to those around him, wherever in the world we may be now!

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