Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Man, I had a really good post and tried to edit it and "poof" it was G-O-N-E...gone. So, I'll try it again. This time I'm leaving the typos!

In honor of Father's Day, I thought I would share a little bit about my husband. I know that he is not my father, but he is the one that I was closest to today...most days actually. I will say that I am a fortunate girl that through some broken and unfortunate situations, I ended up with a beautiful family and two Moms and two Dads. I call one Dad, and the other Gary. (I also have a Mom and a Pam) They are two very different men, and without them I'm sure I would be a very different woman. The older I get the more I want to know them, and about them. I'm extremely blessed! Happy Father's Day!!!

Now, for the Father that I watch grow and change on a daily Mike.

In 1999 I had the incredible opportunity, and took it, to spend a summer in Johannesburg, South Africa. Mike was also offered the same opportunity and that is where is all started. We were both involved with Campus Outreach and I was coming from Milledgeville, GA and he was coming from Valdosta, GA. I didn't know him, but what I did know was that he left a career in Engineering to be a P.E. teacher. WHO WOULD DO THAT? Someone I would want to marry. One of the many "criteria" on my "husband list" was that he must love children. Check. Throughout the summer I saw many other things in him that I would be willing to live with!

We partnered with another ministry in Africa and the leader was a very kind and wise man who offered me advice throughout the summer. I'm sure that God inspired his words, because they challenged me throughout the summer. He said to me, "Alison, when you are interested in a man, watch him. Watch him with children, watch him with his peers, watch him with the elderly. If he is inconsistent in his behavior, he is an unstable man and you should not be involved with him." How great is that??? When he said that I began watching.

I must say that at the beginning of the summer I would have said, "I'd like to marry a guy like Mike." By the end of the summer I was saying, "I'd like to marry Mike." I watched him. I watched him when he spoke gently to a van full of people who were barking out requests while he drove on the wrong side of the road, on the wrong side of the van. "Turn the radio on! Turn it off! Put in my tape! Turn the air on! Stop for an ice-cream bar!" We were brutal!!! He was so patient with us. I knew that I needed a patient man. I'm somewhat of a crazy woman. I noticed that on Evelyn's birthday he quietly converted our dining area into a dance floor so that Evelyn could dance on her birthday. We all grabbed partners and swing danced into the night. (Would that be "swung?" hmmm) I was sold when he went missing while we were in Botswana (while we were doing manual labor...I missed that clue!!!) and we found him playing soccer with the village children. It was such a gift to be able to spend so much time with him in such amazing settings. We brushed our teeth under the stars in the Kalahari Desert. We were humbled when God used our team to bring the Africans and the Afrikkans together in the name of Jesus. We got to be a part of a ministry that has grown tremendously in the last 9 years. It was an incredible experience.

Another word of advice I received that summer was this, "Alison, marry a man that you want your boys to be like." I thought, "I do want my boys to be like Mike. I would love for them to be athletic, and smart, thoughtful..." I'm so thankful that my boy is like his Dad.

Mike and I were married the next summer and we've grown into one another by God's grace. We have learned that communication is KEY and that he did not receive the spiritual gift of reading minds. I must "use my words" we tell our kids. He makes every effort to love me the way that Christ has called him to, and although he isn't perfect, he is perfect for me. Mike is really smart. I really believe that when it comes to brains I married up. He adds and subtracts in a way that I find amazing. Now, that may sound lame, but for someone who would be lost without her fingers...this is impressive!!! Mike is willing to learn how to do things. He doesn't want you do just do it for him, he wants to be taught, and he is an amazing student. He's been easy to train, and usually only pees on the floor once or twice a month! Hee, hee, hee!

Some of you may resent Father's Day for a number of reasons. Maybe your own Father was a loser, or your husband isn't the man you want him to be. I prayed for Mike for several years because I struggled under his leadership. I prayed for Mike, then I prayed for me. I'll tell you what, those "me" prayers made the real difference. When I extended grace toward Mike and recognized that God was at work in Him as well, I stopped being so hard on him. I struggle some days to get all of my stuff done, I should cut him some slack when the same happens to him. We are two folks living in process clinging to the cross with our fingernails. When you extend grace, wonderful things happen.

I've thought about posting about Mike before only it was going to be titled, "YOU ARE SO NOT JESUS!!!" I suppose you could probably figure that would be about how crappy Mike is at being my Savior. I don't know about you, but husbands make crummy Saviors. When I am looking to Mike to meet needs that only Jesus can's ugly. It's ugly and it's unfair.

So, that's a little bit about my story...our story. Some of you may be disappointed by this post...maybe sad...maybe you miss Mike. He left "home" to live in GA. I love being a member of Team Wessner. The entire Wessner clan is so precious to me. I gained so much when I said, "I do."

He's not my knight in shining armor...he's my P.E. teacher in muddy gym shoes. What's your story? Forget the knight...embrace the man that God gave to YOU.

An Alex note:
She is FINALLY losing some of the fluid. She has been REALLY miserable, but her spirits have been good. She is finally managing her pain and that seems to be making all of the difference. Mom is doing an AMAZING job taking care of her and I believe that their relationship is going to be so sweet because of this. Thank you for your continued prayers for my family. It's been a doozie!


Linda said...

A wonderful tribute to your husband, Ali. You acknowledge that he's not perfect, but he's perfect for YOU...and that he's NOT your savior and that you shouldn't pin your hopes on that because we ALL have only one Savior, and that is Jesus. But by being able to see all the good things along with the "not so good", it DOES make a difference...and by knowing what works and doesn't (like the lack of spiritual gift of mind reading, lol), you continue to grow as a couple.

And Amen for Alex, too! God's grace, girl, God's grace. That's what I say about us God's grace I'm here and not in a shelter with no home...1/4 mile south of where a tornado hit.

Sara said...

forget the knight... embrace the man. you need to design a t-shirt. i would buy one.