Thought For Today

I am so glad that you have found this site and I hope you will find encouragement and joy as you read through my thoughts on God, family and life.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Giving Up

Swallowtail butterfly.  In looking at its wings, one sees that it has gone through many trials.  This does not diminish its splendor though.  Its perseverance has given it a beauty that cannot be captured in this photo.

Today I sit here in front of the computer and think about how my life has changed since being married and having children these last twelve years.  I think of the things that I have given up and what I have gained since having a family.  Anne’s mixer used to be my civil war pistol that I sold shortly after being married.  It was my surprise present to her one day soon after we moved into our apartment.  I sold my goose gun (10 gauge) shotgun to help with the down payment when getting the loan to build our own house.  I sold my SUV for a cheaper more economical Honda that would allow for child seats and 0 payments on a vehicle.  I have not hunted for deer now for several years.  It has gotten pretty expensive for licensing and the trip back to Jackson, Minnesota.  Traveling there takes about 3 hours and a couple hundred miles of gas.

When looking at this picture, do we see imperfection or wonder?
Before Anne met me she wanted to be a lawyer.  She was just finishing her undergraduate degree and was planning to enter law school.  In Anne’s eyes, I or anyone else was not going to be the person that would allow for that dream to be thwarted.  Anne was not looking for a husband when I came into the picture.  When a friend introduced me to Anne one Sunday at church, I immediately thought of my friend and how they would make a wonderful couple.   After introducing Anne to my friend, I could see that it wasn’t going in the direction that I had hoped for.  She was not interested in him and so I gave up on my match making. 

Sometimes the gold that we seek is only a reflection, an illusion.
As far as any changes in my life, I lived too far away and was heavily involved with my work as a principal, and at the time I had no desire to walk away from a job that I loved so much.  I did not want to give up my work, something that I went to school 8 years to get.  Anne and I did not plan on falling in love with each other, nor did we want to, but we did. 

Now, what I have given up; was it worth it?  Yes it was!!  I have not traded anything in comparison to what I have received.  I have a wonderful wife that loves me and has been my soul mate and supporter for almost 12 years now.  She is the mother of our two children, and I have to say, I have learned so much from her in kindness that she has shown to our children and myself.  I love her more than ever, and there isn’t a day gone by that I don’t realize what a marvel she is to me.  Anne is intelligent, caring, beautiful, loving and she is my support.  God knew that I needed Anne, even though I was not looking for her.  Anne is the part of me that makes me whole. 

God sometimes provides through the hands of others.
When I fell in love with Anne, I came to realize that nothing in my world was worth anything if I could not have the woman that I loved.  A retired superintendent asked me why I would walk away from my dream job.  I told him it was because I loved Anne and it was no sacrifice at all.  I was willing to do anything including sacking groceries or whatever job God provided for me to be with her. 

Anne and I asked for God to reveal his plan for us and we trusted him for the answers that we did not have.  A job was provided for me right after quitting my principal job, that of teaching in an Alternative school.  God has provided for us in every way.  After six more years of teaching, I took early retirement while Anne started teaching at Winona State University.  I am now a stay at home dad while Anne teaches full time online.  Are we rich, by no means.  Are we happy, yes more than we can say.  God has always provided for all our needs, and we continue to trust that he will do so in the future. 

Will, discovering treasures in his surroundings.
Have we gone through any trials in our marriage?  The answer is yes we have.  I had been going to school nights and weekends for my doctorate before being married.  I traveled hundreds of miles a week to go to classes as well as studying each night and working each day.  I realized after getting married that being a good husband and trying to finish graduate school would not work.  I gave up this dream that I have wanted all my life.  Was it difficult?  I would be lying if I said no.  God has shown me that when we give up our dreams for his purpose, then he gives us a better one, and for me it was a loving wife and two beautiful children.  And has this dream of children been easy and without trials and complications, no it has not.  We lost our first child after 4 months of pregnancy.  It devastated us both, because this is what we both wanted more than anything.  Did we ask God why?  Yes we did and there was silence.  God revealed to us later that answers are not always there for us to see when tragedy falls upon us.  We must trust him in all things, including when losing a baby.  God helped us to understand that sometimes it was not important to know every reason why things happened as they did.  All that was crucial was for Anne and I to trust in our savior and his plan for us. 

Abby, excited about discovery and life.
Within a year Anne was pregnant with our son Will.  He almost died when being born.   Will was in the nick u for 5 days before a healing made it possible for him to breathe on his own.  He is now 8 and we are so blessed everyday with his presence.  I cannot tell you how much we love this child.  About 2 1/2 years later, Abby came along and it is impossible to express how she has added to the joy in our family with her bubbly spirit.   I have worked for almost 20 years with troubled families and children.  I have seen more than I ever wanted to in the heartaches that they have gone through.  Now I have my own children and I cannot love and hold them enough.  

Anne, my blessing!
In all this, do I have regrets, no none at all.  I cannot tell you enough how rich a life I have.  God has given me more than I deserve, and ever would have hoped for.  Our Lord has been more than generous with me, much more than I can say.  I cannot praise him enough for all that he has been to me.  Each day I see the blessings that he bestows upon me with the laughter in my children’s eyes and the smile on Anne’s face as she greets me in the morning.  My future is in his hands, as it should be, and is.