Monday, October 20, 2008

1 Year Anniversary: My Ring

I love my ring. Jen gave it to me one year ago today.

The gold band [see photo] was Jen's promise ring that she had worn since she was 16 years old. We asked the jewelers to remove the amethyst in her promise ring, make it into just a simple band, then solder it to the ring I picked out. This little item is super special to me. However, something I realized a few weeks after our wedding is that it's even more special to her.

About 11 months ago, as I was getting used to wearing a ring, I often played with it. I fiddled with it, rotated it, and even sometimes took it off my finger to toss it in the air like a coin. Bad idea.

We got into a huge argument about how she expected me to treat my ring. She was afraid I would drop it and lose a valuable item, while I was upset that she would think me incompetent enough to drop it. You know... silly fights on the outside but deep, understandable feelings on the inside.

Of course I dragged on the argument by belittling her feelings, saying, "It's just a piece of metal. It's not the end of the world if it gets lost, you know." Another bad idea. We responded to each other back and forth with heated opinions, only trying to prove the other person wrong.

After too much time was wasted on being selfish, we finally saw the ridiculous hole we dug ourselves into and decided to forgive each other. We confessed our sin to each other, apologized, and renewed our commitment to be humble and kind.

Jen loves it when her ring looks flawless and sparkles in certain lighting. But my ring is different. I love having the scratches and dents on the surface. Up close, it looks battered and used. To me the scratches represent the tough fights and arguments that we have been through in our marriage so far--much like the one that happened to be about this particular item.

Marriage is not flawless. Two imperfect people trying to work together in life is bound to be difficult. I am thankful that on my wedding day, one year ago, my wife and I didn't expect our lives to be perfect in marriage. What we did expect was to be humble, serving, and forgiving to each other (with the power of the Holy Spirit) no matter when times were good or bad.

Now, looking at my ring with all the scratches on it, I am thankful that God is the One who gives me the power to treat my wife lovely. Our marriage has a purpose that is not for ourselves. It is for the Lord God that made the heavens and the earth. And there's no other woman that I'd rather have with me than my cutie Jenny Penny.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Kid Quote: Strength

The cutest kindergartner at our school is a 5-year old tiny little boy. He has big eyes and reminds me of the big-headed-little-bodied title character from Bobby's World.

After school let out and he came to the cafeteria where we have the YMCA after-school program, he came straight to me and told me about how exhausted he was after carrying heavy stuff for his teacher. I praised him for being a good helper and suggested he rest his muscles.

Later, after snack, he came up to me again.

"I am strong because I fight with my daddy every night!" he stated.

If you can imagine the smallest, cutest, gentlest little boy that always follows directions, never fights with other kids, and always has a big smile on his face, then you can understand why this quote is so meaningful.

Now imagine if this boy didn't wrestle with his dad. Imagine if this boy didn't have fun spending time with the man he looks up to the most. He wouldn't think that he is strong. He wouldn't get the encouragement from his dad that he desperately needs to grow up to be a strong, responsible man.

Likewise, we must wrestle with God in prayer and through His Word to us to get the encouragement we need to be strong.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Parent Quote: Nurture vs. Neuter

One day the father of one of our kindergartners joined me in watching his son wrestle for fun with another 6 year old outside on the grass. It was fun to watch because they were having a good time wrestling as friends, much like dogs having fun play-fighting.

After a few minutes, the boy's father watched him accidentally twist his ankle, resulting in the little guy crying in pain. His father and I went over and made sure he was okay as the other boy was clearly sorry by apologizing to him over and over. He was okay, but still obviously in pain.

I mentioned to the father, who was comforting his son by rubbing his back, "Well, maybe no wrestling next time."

He reassured me, "No, it's fine." After a brief pause, he added, "We've got to nurture them, not neuter them. Right?"

"Very true," I smiled.

Monday, October 6, 2008