30 for 30

Thirty years ago today, I married the former Brenda Lee Koning. God says, He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord. What follows are thirty expressions how Brenda has delivered God's favor to me as my wife.

  1. Brenda loves me unconditionally, faithfully, and passionately despite whatever about me is unlovable.
  2. Brenda gave me four amazing children, enduring pregnancies with joy.
  3. Brenda served me daily in the nurturing, educating, and mundane care of our children.
  4. Brenda promotes my reputation to our children. They love me, in no small part, because their mom makes me out to be much more than I really am. I am sure they’ve never heard her express one word that would diminish me in their minds.
  5. Brenda makes our house a place I want to be. I pity men who don’t want to go home because of the presence of the woman of the house. I hate it when Brenda is gone in the evening or overnight. The place is drab and without life. She fills every corner with the wonder of her presence.
  6. Brenda has promoted my dreams, whether to be a pastor, pursue a doctorate, buy a Mustang GT, catch a big fish, and so many more.
  7. Brenda has served with me in ministry for the whole of our thirty-year marriage. Days following our wedding, we travelled every weekend from Greenville, South Carolina, to Newport, Tennessee, to lead a church youth group. Seven months later I joined the pastoral staff at Faith Baptist Church in Godfrey, Illinois, then came nearly ten years in Midland, Michigan. We’ve spent the last seventeen years in Minnesota. We’ve been side by side in the work of the gospel, and I could not have done it without her.
  8. Brenda loved my mom and dad like they were her own.
  9. Brenda helped me grieve well after my parents’ deaths. We were so young when her mom died. I doubt I helped her like she has helped me the last two years.
  10. Brenda is my most trusted counsellor and confidant, offering sound, mature, and godly advice for a wide range of subjects.
  11. Brenda knows my likes and preferences and does all she can to make them available to me as a part of my routine.
  12. Brenda is confident in my leadership despite what she knows to be my weaknesses.
  13. Brenda shares my enjoyment of sports. She attends with me, watches with me, talks sports with me, and tries to learn aspects of the game unknown to her. Truth be told, before we married, she was the highly recognized high school and college athlete far more than I was.
  14. Brenda has grown my compassion for people. She grew up impoverished, raised by a single mom with severe, life-shortening disabilities. Brenda sees people through this lens and helps me to do the same.
  15. Brenda’s management of the daily finances of our home releases me from the responsibility necessary for the smooth running of a household. I am comfortable and confident that our commitments are fulfilled and our plan is executed.
  16. Brenda has shown me the freedom one can have from bitterness through forgiveness leaving the past in the past.
  17. Brenda creates for me an easy lifestyle by flexing when scheduled events do not go according to plan. She adjusts without complaining so as to make the best of the situation.
  18. Brenda leaves me alone to accomplish tasks even when she is overtaxed with her responsibilities as a mom and wife. She tries not to add more to my load but tries to diminish it.
  19. Brenda thinks of scenarios I do not consider, saving us from trouble or putting us in a position to have a better outcome.
  20. Brenda keeps me grounded when I can be foolishly impulsive. Normally, it’s a simple, “Mike!”
  21. Brenda inspires me to be more than what I am. Naturally, I am aggressive, but her presence makes me want to become what I am not just to see her smile.
  22. Brenda explains to me people I just don’t understand. Admittedly, part of my failure to understand others is a lack of desire to understand, but she paints a picture of others that I can get.
  23. Brenda covers my mistakes. I don’t mean she hides my sin; I mean she corrects my human blunders. “I forgot to…” is often followed by “I took care of it.”
  24. Brenda draws out of me youthfulness so that I don’t become a curmudgeon as I advance in years.
  25. Brenda lifts my spirits in a way no one else can. A simple look, a smile, or the smallest of phrases diminishes in the moment anything that has me down.
  26. Brenda shoulders burdens I otherwise would. If she can solve a problem or complete a task that would normally fall to me, she does and relieves me of the load.
  27. Brenda has been my chief discipler. From her I’ve learned much about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
  28. Brenda has listened to more of my sermons than any other human being alive, and she still wants to hear me preach again. That’s love.
  29. Brenda likes my friends and often encourages me to spend time with them. She’s neither needy nor high maintenance, and she knows I will choose her over my friends all day, every day.
  30. Brenda makes me a more complete man. I haven’t arrived, but I would not be what I am without her by my side these last thirty years. After the work of the Holy Spirit, no one has made me what I am more than she.

As always I welcome your feedback and any ideas you might have for an upcoming Lunchtime Musing.