Last Friday we sat in clinic – Jada and I – when a 4yr old boy walked in with no hair. Jada takes one glance and politely whispers in my ear, “daddy, did he have chemo?” Throughout this whole process I have never been an advocate of keeping information from my daughter for her “protection.” This was no time to veer from the already well-beaten path. I looked her square in the eye and said, “he sure did sweetie, and soon your head will look like that because all of your hair will fall out.” Jada wrinkles up her cute little face and says with a sinister little grin, "maybe it'll come back a different color."
That was Friday...last week. A lot has happened since then and now we are in the hours before dawn of Friday this week, the 28th of January. Jada has been oscillating back and forth - most recently in a conversation with Jess she exclaimed, "I will never be beautiful without my hair!" Its hard to know, but for now this will serve as your update (for those update-hungry folks out there). Now... I get to talk about my wife!
I am an idealist at heart. That is precisely why my definition of 'ideal' was initially challenged when Jessica and I originally began a relationship. There are few things less ideal than I was in high school - to save one the horror of a seared image in your mind, here's the skinny: I was 6 ft. tall and skinny as a rail, I parted my hair in the middle (yes, that's right... I said 'parted'), I wore hand me downs, wore braces, hated anything to do with words or speaking, and sat by myself in the cafeteria day after day. Jessica, now she was ideal (and still is). Not many of you know it, but she used to have curly hair (which was beautiful), was a straight A student, phenomenal athlete, outgoing, and a thousand other characteristics. As far as rank goes, there were not leagues that could have depicted the chasm that existed between her and I - only a spectrum in the world's eyes; her on the high end and me opposite.
So, when college finished and Luke & Debbie Porritt fixed us up (THANK YOU GUYS!), I struggled. You know what its like. You have seen the movies where a guy is tongue tied trying to talk to the beautiful woman - try having that feeling every day. So early on - as the picture indicates- Jessica certainly caught my eye because, in my opinion, she was (is) stunning. However, being an idealist puts a strange sort of seat belt on your expectations. Initially, I thought I might get the amount of consideration that a page turn does in a half interesting book. Jessica, however, has never ceased to wrestle my preconceived notions to the ground and challenge them.
Her and I committed to a time of prayer before we began any sort of relationship. It was not long until the both of us, sensing conviction from the Spirit, began a relationship. This was the summer of 2001. We experienced some not so ideal times on two occasions where we had what I shall call "relational hiccups." They were mainly due to my arrogance (having just graduated Bible college I was the personification of 1 Cor. 8:1-3, but praise be to God's grace, I am being changed more into the image of Jesus now). By God's grace we were rid of the hiccups by July 30th 2003 - the night we were engaged. January 2, 2004 we wed. That day was FULL of "ideals."
Fast forward 7 years, celebrate your anniversary the night before your 5 year old goes into major surgery to have a football sized tumor removed, and you may as well tell "ideal" he doesn't even have to dress for the game - because he is getting NO PLAYING TIME.
Or is he. . .
Our conviction is that the goodness and sovereignty of God has never been in question - not since January 2, 2004 or even now. By the time we will have walked through this whole thing, I can promise you this, God WILL USE IT to make our marriage more ideal. Does that mean that Jessica and I have gotten along perfectly, no. Does that mean we have not shaken our fist at God in anger and confusion, no. Does that mean that we never cry and we always must appear as though we have everything together, again an emphatic NO! I have said it before and I will say it again: "faith is what you find when you face what you are facing."
Here is what I am finding about my wife: "Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 'Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.'" Prov. 31:28-29. Her passion for the Lord drew me. Even now, in anger and/or frustration she is still BEGGING for time alone with Jesus to make sense of it all.
There is no one I would rather walk through this with than you Jessica Marie Rumbold. One day our children will rise and call you blessed because you have clung, with transparency, to the supplier of our hope. It is not a contest it is a destination and our citizenship reveals it (see Philippians 3).
This post is meant to exalt Jesus Christ and the transforming work he has done in OUR relationship. Tell me (by clicking to add a comment), are you being encouraged and transformed by Jesus lately? If so, give all of us a taste with a sentence or two. I'd personally love to hear how God is shaping and changing many of you.