A letter to my husband on his birthday.

You call to check up on me and I grumble about all the time I’m wasting having to dust the floors and you say, “I didn’t call to hear you complain.”

Your words don’t wound me, they wake me up. You are so right — right when you’ve taken the kids to give me time to write. Right when you’ve chosen to support me in this blogging journey.

I forget to count my gifts sometimes, when I allow frustration from those pesky dust bunnies, and their ability to reproduce.

I forget God is producing in me.

Then you come with roses undeserving, and all the ingredients for my favorite dessert to bake for me.

And sometimes I stand on the porch, and watch you drive away in truck for a man. I know you go to face the heavy burdens of the day, of the businesses, making sure that the accounts are full so our fridge stays full. You labor. Your hands toil. Your mind wonders how. Your heart trusts God. You scrape the bottom of the barrel, and you always brings home more than enough.

You go whether you are weary or stressed or discouraged. You still forge ahead with the same dedication and commitment, because, as you always say, “I want to give you the best.”

And you do. And sometimes I forget to count the gifts.

You provide the resources and you provide us your heart —
the best of who you are.
And you listen patiently as I remind you that our girls need to know that you think they are beautiful. Sometimes I say it impassioned, but laced with disrespect. I’m sorry for that.

I know what it’s like to not know if your daddy thinks your beautiful or special or if he even loves you. I also know well the emptiness an absent father leaves in a young girl’s heart and where it can lead her to have it filled.

But our girls won’t ever have to know the void left by an unloving father. My knowledge of that gives way to fear sometimes.
Our newest girl, we thought was going to be a boy. We wanted a boy. We prayed for a boy, a brother for our only son. But God gave us girls. He whispered to my heart when I was just 3 months swollen with our littlest months before the sonogram would tell, “I am giving you girls to raise them confident. I need girls who know who they are in Me.”
Even our eldest, whom you’ve made your own — God made sure you were there by our side, even before I knew you’d be ours. She’s never had to know what it’s like to be fatherless.
You rescue when I have lost my way and fallen into a dark place. Your hand that reaches cannot be distinguished between Jesus’  as you love me as Christ loves.
We can be fiery, us two. You married a Latino you know? My blood runs hot. Yet you have a way of calming me, with love that is unconditional. You never run away. I never fear you will. My sorry does not come as it should, and even without mine, humbly you still offer yours.

When I feel like I just want to run away overwhelmed with life, and even try, you chase me relentless until in your arms I am undone. You pledge again your support. You vow your love with your life, and you cry to God on my behalf. You stand in the gap, between the arrows that fly and my own soul as you wrestle, not with flesh and blood, but with dark forces unseen.

I wonder if you know how I love when you chase after me. I am not comfortable with my body, and I turn you away. But still, you come after me and always the gentlemen. At my most undone times you tell me how beautiful I am to you. I wonder, do you pick the times I look my worst to tell me? But I know, because I hear it in your voice — sincere.

I remember when our things to do list changed. When it felt as if our family was growing apart as the things to do list wedged between us. Days off, never really being days off. Life passing us by. God is working in our hearts, even still, that the most important accomplishment is our children — our relationship with them. This is what we are to work for — fight for — a heart connection with them.

Yes, we can always do better at managing our time. But time is life and once it’s spent there is no gaining it back. The unfinished projects will always be there. The children will not.

And so I complain to you about the work still to be done, and I am sorry for that. And you remind me, “I chose to go to the beach with you instead of mow the lawn.”

And for that I am grateful. You choose what really matters. I am still learning. I am learning how to live real life with no regrets. I know from thinking about yesterday the only thing I regret is what I did not do to cultivate our relationship and that of our children.

And you still bear with me. You bear for me. You stand and hold me up. You support and uplift and want to see me fulfill my purpose in God.

And it’s your birthday weekend, and you buy me new shoes and travel clothes for my trip to Guatemala. It’s the day before your birthday and your buy me Tres Leche cake.

I wonder what I did to deserve you, and I realized there is nothing I could’ve done. You are a gift. You make me better, and God knew that. God has sketched one with mine, your life design. Sometimes I am not so great at showing how much I appreciate the gift you are. I hope that today I was able to.