I have a number of new posts in progress, but nothing that is ready for "printing" at this time. So, in lieu of something seriously thought-provoking or mildly irritating, I thought I'd share something very simple, but true: I love my husband.
Ronnie moved to Liberty Township, Ohio the first week of September and we have been living apart since then. Thankfully, our church provided a relocation package that included funds to allow for visits every three weeks. Nonetheless, Ronnie and I have found this semester very trying and, often, very lonely. Still, one of the benefits from this time apart is a reaffirmation of how much we love each other and truly enjoy doing life together.
Ronnie and I have been through a lot in the past four and a half years. Before our wedding, his disabled younger brother, London, died. In our third year of marriage, his 46 year-old mother, Susan, struggled through pancreatic cancer and passed away. Immediately following that loss, we took responsibility for Ronnie's 17 year-old brother, Roger, who had his share of problems, in addition to being a typical teenager. Then, last Christmas, my grandfather, who was a father to me, died. Throughout all this, we've opened our home to a variety of friends and loved ones, who were in various stages of need.
All this is to say that we have multiple reasons not to have a good marriage. But, by the grace of God, and lots of talking and praying, we are stronger than ever. I am so blessed.
How can I describe this one God has given to me as life partner, friend, lover, and co-laborer in the Gospel? I don't have all day to write, so I'll just share a few things.
Ronnie is the most generous person I know. He would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it, even if it was his favorite, ONE campaign T-shirt. In fact, when our church in Fairfield was helping survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, he did give away his favorite belt on the spot to a young man who needed one. Although ministry is not the most financially lucrative career, Ronnie gives to those who need it as though it were.
Ronnie is absolutely commited to loving me sacrificially and he puts aside his own wants on a regular basis. This weekend, during his precious few days off, he put together three bookshelves, so that when I relocate to our new home in two weeks, my office will be ready. Knowing how deeply I detest cleaning the bathroom, Ronnie does it for me, scrubbing the toilet with a smile on his face. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is nothing he wouldn't do for me, big or small. And, I constantly rest in the knowledge that being a Christ-like husband is his top priority on a daily basis.
Ronnie has learned how to listen to me. This doesn't come easily, of course, because communication never does. But, he offers me a compassionate ear on a regular basis, even remembering to ask if I want advice before he provides it. Ronnie listens to (almost) everything with genuine interest, whether I'm ranting about the latest political outrage, weeping for joy in the victories of my Sunday School class, or recounting the latest obscure story I heard on NPR. He may not care about the subject, but he cares about me, and that's enough.
Perhaps most important, though, Ronnie is a faithful and challenging spiritual partner. The growth I have seen in his life over the past four years is a constant encouragement to me. No, he's not perfect. But, he's more like Jesus today than he was last month, and the month before that, and the month before that. He shows grace and mercy to those who struggle and offers spiritual insight to those who need it--including me.
When I went through a very dark period that lasted about six months, he listened to my desperate rants against God and providence with love and grace. He provided me the freedom to be real with him and not have to hide my pain. He was able to walk me through these troubled times because his heart was (and is) consistently surrendered to Holy Spirit's rule. I couldn't ask for a better partner in the kingdom of God and I love being a disciple of Jesus alongside of him.
I could go on and on. And, someday, I may just do that. But, for now, I think I've embarrassed him enough. Ronald Glynn McGowin is a gift from God. I love my husband.