I miss our girls and their families all the time, but it is even more difficult when it comes to celebrating birthdays and holidays without them here. Bob probably didn’t notice it as much as I did because he did get to celebrate his birthday a few days earlier with Julie’s family down in Alabama. On his actual day, though, it was just Robbie and me. I fixed a fancy dinner, complete with the special dishes and silverware that I use for special occasions, but it was just a little lonely sitting there at the table where normally our large family would be gathered. I presented him with a big brownie sundae with a candle on top and sang a solo rendition of “Happy Birthday.” Robbie “helped” by pulling the tissue paper and present out of Daddy’s gift bag for him. I tried to make it nice for Bob, and I know he appreciated and enjoyed it, even if we were all by ourselves.
The birthday present in that bag was a CD by Steve Green, a Christian artist we have enjoyed since back in the 70’s and 80’s. Several of the songs on that CD were ones we used to sing, back in the days when we still sang special numbers in church. Among them was one that Bob and I sang as a duet, Cherish the Treasure. The words (written by Jon Mohr) say in part:
I cherish the treasure,
After forty years together it would be easy to take one another for granted. Sometimes we even focus on the little things that drive us crazy. When I started thinking about the good things about my husband this week, though, I came up with The Top Ten Things I Love About Bob list in about thirty seconds flat. In no particular order, here they are:
1. He makes me laugh – What a goof! Whether it’s slapstick, “punny,” or stand-up comedy, those wheels are always turning in his head to somehow make me laugh!
2. He protects me – Oh, there are times I feel over-protected, but I always know he is looking out for my best and simply wants to be sure I am safe and well.
3. He’s my problem solver – All I have to do is open my mouth with the slightest hint of a question or problem and he jumps right in, trying to take care of it for me. Sometimes all I’m really looking for is a little sympathy, but he’ll find a solution, nevertheless, if he can!
4. He’s a faithful husband – Bob is 100% a family man. When he took those wedding vows, he meant them for life. I know without a doubt he would never do anything to jeopardize our family or marriage. As the song says, he is my lifelong companion who walks with me faithfully.
5. He’s an awesome dad – I know there has never been a better dad to his children! He’s always done his best and been there for the girls to help them in any way he could; and as a daddy to Robbie—well, let’s just say thirty-three years of willingly changing diapers, cheerfully bathing, dressing, feeding and caring for Robbie, and lovingly standing beside him through all the testings and trials, and being his best pal says it all.
6. He’s a man of faith – From the moment of his salvation forty years ago. Bob has loved and served the Lord with his whole heart. His faith in God is unshakeable and he does not waver or worry because he trusts in Him. He’s a godly leader in our family and a faithful witness for the Lord at every opportunity.
7. He’s does the “little things” – Making my coffee in the morning, bringing me flowers or chocolates for no reason, getting the car washed for me when I’m going out, making sure I get those nights out from time to time...
8. He is like a rock – He stands up for his convictions whether they be spiritual, political or philosophical. He is dependable, responsible and steady. I know he will always be there, doing his best.
9. He is generous and caring to others, loyal and gives his all – I have literally seen him give the coat off his back and boots off his feet to a homeless man. He’ll drop everything if a neighbor needs help. He is loyal to his employers and gives everything he’s got on the job.
10. He loves me – He accepts me the way I am, despite my shortcomings. He supports and encourages me in all my endeavors and many times put me first before his own desires. I couldn’t ask for a better husband and am thankful to God for giving him to me.
Having said all this, I’ll admit Bob is not perfect! Shock! He’s a typical male is some areas (you women will understand this) and there are things about him that drive me crazy, often on a daily basis! I know he could say the same about me. When I focus on the good things about him, though, it helps me to look past the shortcomings and faults and helps me to forgive and live in harmony with him. I don’t want to take my husband for granted, but to cherish him and our life together.
That is what I want to address today—focusing on the good in others and cherishing our close bonds with them. So far, I’ve related this to marriage and my spouse, but we need to be careful to truly treasure the relationships we have with others in our lives, as well—our children and other family members, and even our friends. It takes dedicated resolution to break the habit of fault-finding and focus on the good, instead. It takes thought and effort to truly cherish that sometimes unlovable person. It takes selfless love to treasure the other above ourselves. Here are some things we can do to cherish the ‘Treasures” in our lives:
First of all, write you own “Top Ten Things I Love About _____________” list. It might come easily, or you might have to think long and hard, but I’ll bet there are at least ten things you can come up with for just about anyone in your life—even if it’s only “He doesn’t stink!”
Second, take a look at what the Bible has to say about relationships with others in our lives. Romans 12, Ephesians 4, 5, 6 and Colossians 3 are just a few of the passages that speak to marriage, parent-child relationships, how to relate to employers and employees and how to get along within the church. The book of Proverbs speaks often of friendship. When you are struggling with a relationship, do a study on what the Word of God has to say about it. His answers and help are there for us to draw upon!
Third, I’ve taken the letters of the word CHERISH and put together some other things we can do to show those we love just how much we treasure them in our lives:
Compliment – We are often quick to criticize. Let us rather find something good to say, and instead of tearing down, build the other up. Proverbs 16:24 tells us that Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
Help – Putting feet to our words shows that we really care. We must be willing to put the other’s needs before our own and unselfishly give of our time and strength to be there for that one. Galatians 6:9, 10 says, And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
Encourage – Sometimes all a person needs to be all that he can be, or to reach for his dreams, or to simply try his best is someone standing behind him giving him the support, counsel and faith in him that he might not have for himself. Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel. (Proverbs 27:9)
Respond – Respond correctly and in love, not in anger. Respond patiently, humbly, cheerfully. Respond with kindness and forgiveness. A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. (Proverbs 15:1) With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:2-3, 31-32)
Inspire – Be the kind of person you want the other to be. You cannot ask more of someone else than you are willing to be or do yourself. …be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (I Timothy 4:12)
Submit – The Bible tells us that we are to submit to one another, each esteeming the other to be better than himself. This means putting aside pride, selfishness, competitiveness, envy, having to have the last word… Ephesians 5:21 says, Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. and Philippians 2:3 adds, Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Honor – God has given you a great gift in that spouse, child, parent, sibling or friend. He or she is not perfect, but when we honor that person we are recognizing and thanking God for that gift to us, and telling the other—and everyone around us—that we truly do cherish the precious treasure we have in that relationship. Romans 12:10 says, Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.
Take the time this week to cherish someone in your life! It will not only be a blessing to the other person, but you will find yourself tremendously blessed, as well!