An Open Valentine to the Good Rev, Todd Beasley

Alright, ok. So we said we wouldn’t do Valentine’s Day, not even cards, this year. Are we Grinches, or what? No, we certainly are not. Money is tight and time is at a premium, so we are conserving all of that plus our energy for a night out without the kiddos. Good for us.

Except that I can’t shake this nagging feeling that I—a would be writer—should do just that. I could spend all afternoon at Hallmark, but what card would say what I would write to you? Lately I keep having these moments, really sweet moments of revelation, where I am suddenly aware of how great a life I have because I’m your wife. At the same time, I’ve always thought we should share more of our story. People expect ministers to have perfect marriages and perfect families. I wonder who needs to hear how much we’ve changed. How we played with that temptation that maybe we shouldn’t be together at all. What we have is an unlikely love story. It’s a love story that was strangely devoid of love for quite a long while.

If ever a marriage was a beauty for ashes story, I think it’s ours. Not because of infidelity or unforgiveness or debt or any of those things that is usually associated with marital pressure. For us it was naivete, selfishness, indifference, and dare I say…ignorance? Dumb kids. That was us in days of yore, but luckily, we were just smart enough to realize that our God is great and that He is in the business of bringing the dead to life. So it was with our marriage—a lifeless, lightless coexistence. Yet, here we are—walking in the light. Together.

So your valentine would like to share with you a few of the revelations that make me so grateful that God intervened. And, as I must be true to the blogging force that says all articles must be numbered—I give you five evidences that God redeemed our union.

5. I cracked a joke about thinking years ago that our marriage was in trouble because you never laughed at my jokes. Really, that isn’t far from the truth. It seemed like I had kids laughing all day long, and yet all my humor was wasted on you. Why you don’t enjoy the same borderline inappropriate humor that I share with eighth graders is a mystery. I figured it out years later. I’m a cut-up because I like the attention. In fact, I think we both had these weird ways of trying to get each other’s attention which invariably failed to satisfy. We don’t have to perform for each other like that anymore. Who even knows what changed? You are attentive and so generous with your time. And FUNNY. In the years since we surrendered all our mess to the Lord, we’ve cracked each other up. I wish I had a dollar for every time I wanted to post something you said or did and just couldn’t because it was, ya know, borderline (or over the line) inappropriate.

4. I have a big crush on my pastor. That’s right, baby. You’re the only one for me. Maybe you’ve forgotten this, but I haven’t. I did not—DID NOT—want to marry a minister. As I recall, you did NOT want to pastor, and I was soothed by the notion that your seminary degree would be a great benefit as you sought a job on a college campus or something less churchy than a pastorate. How could I have possibly known how suited we would be for each other in the ministry? At what point did I round that corner and say, “Yes. We should plant a church. You will pastor and I will teach”? No one on this planet knows better than you do how ridiculous—inane, really—it is for me to WANT to teach school. And that I would do it so you could pastor? People, there is a God. He wants to change you at a molecular level. Trust me. I testify.

3. Here’s a crazy one, babe. We don’t have the things we were running after when we took our vows. We, in fact, have taken a really hard road. On. Purpose. Sometimes I think we are just plain crazy. At the same time, I have never been happier. Rather than stomping my feet because I’m not getting to run hard and fast after “my dreams”, I am more often asking God, “What’s next for the Beasleys?” And the weird thing is, there is so much JOY in it. What happened to all that resentment and stubbornness? Our life has been hard for the last several years. There have been many times when I thought we would never reach a place of rest. I don’t think we’re resting yet, but I’m at peace. And we get to do this together. That makes me happy, love.

2. When I was single, I had a little checklist of things I prayed for in a husband. I got pretty good at sizing up a dating situation based on my list. Remember the day I checked that last thing off the list with you? To be perfectly honest, I was attracted enough to you that I probably could have omitted a thing or two. But I was still interested in knowing if you had saved sex for marriage. I figured that you hadn’t and I was prepared to say that it didn’t matter to me. Maybe it didn’t matter that much at that point. You were walking with the Lord—I could see that. I admired your integrity. It was when I walked down the aisle that I realized how important that last item on the list truly is. You looked so far away and small at the other end of the aisle. When you came into focus, I remember sucking in my breath and thinking, “That man waited 27 years for me.” Twenty. Seven. Years. I almost hyper-ventilated. Thank you for bestowing that honor on me. It is truly foundational to the way I view you as a man, as a husband, as a daddy to our little girls. Every time I think about it, I fall deeper in love with you.
I prayed for a man who would be a good father, and for you it’s effortless. The other day when you were helping Emma Kate with her reading, she was discouraged and said she wanted to quit. You said, “Okay, well I’m going to read it.” When you proceeded to read it incorrectly on purpose, she would giggle and correct your mistakes. You are a master at getting the best out of them. I literally watched you from the kitchen, with my heart skipping beats and everything in me turning to mushy goo. A friend, who married long before I did, told me that seeing her husband as “the daddy” made him all the more sexy to her. I thought it was weird back then. Now I get it.

1. I know you don’t like it when I call you the Reverend. Really I should repent for pestering you like that. Do you know why I do it? I’m so proud of you, Rev. You are wise and have such a gift to communicate His Word. There was a time when we couldn’t figure out what we’d gotten ourselves into and why we’d chosen each other. Remember those days? They’re long gone. I was twice selected to be Mrs. Todd Beasley—by you and by God. You better believe I wear it with the utmost pride.

You wondered if you were dropping the ball because we aren’t “doing” Valentine’s Day. I don’t think so at all. I love dramatic, showy gestures as much as the next girl, but lately our life has been a dramatic, showy epic of faith. Our lives are woven with special moments daily. I was satisfied sitting on the bed yesterday, laughing with you at our girls’ shrieks and giggles and antics in the other room. My heart was full hearing you pray over our girls at bedtime. Flowers would be no better than you holding my hand in the car and praying over the house we hope to buy.

Love of my life, I’m so thankful that you’re mine –on the 14th of February and every other day. As Grinchy as I am, I think I have to follow convention and say…Happy Valentine’s Day.

To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory. Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)

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