My Husband is My Real Hero (and I hope he knows it)

My Husband is My Real Hero

The Lone Ranger lives on.

No, really he does.

I know this because most every weekday our little boys run next door and watch him save the Western Frontier over at Grandpa’s house. It’s 3:00 in the afternoon and the whole house shakes as they come pounding down the stairs and go flying out the front door.

Slam! Slam! Slam!

Three boys. Three slams. Without fail.

And even though this event takes place nearly each day, it’s still a special occasion. The Lone Ranger. Grandpa. And Fruit Snacks. Our boys’ world filled with goodness and heroes. Just the way it should be.

But boys aren’t the only ones with heroes.

Girls can have them too.

It’s a fact. Because this girl is married to one.

Oh, I’m not saying that he can leap buildings in a single bound or save the big city from an alien invasion.

He’s more of an everyday hero. An ordinary, hard-working, honest sort of guy. Taking care of his wife and looking after his children. Standing up for what’s right and watching out for those who are in need. Following God.

If you ask me, those are the best kind of heroes.

And probably the kind  of guy you married too. Simply doing what must be done. No one would ever guess that he’s actually a superhero in disguise.

Even he might not guess it – but it’s evident to you. So it might be about time to reveal his secret identity. He’s your hero.

You might as well let him know….

You need him.
Like I need mine. Not too long ago I was looking for a rescue. It’s not that I couldn’t handle the situation on my own; it’s that I didn’t want to. Some bad guy went on the internet and started flinging insults. Against me. Personally.

So I brought my laptop over to my husband and showed him what he’d written. In his opinion, the whole thing was rather ridiculous (not me, the guy’s accusations), but he went out there and defended my honor. I loved what he said and how he said it. But mostly I loved the way he protected me from this big Internet bully.

My hero. Girly sigh.

You lean on him.
And why not? It might sound out-of-step with today’s independent woman, but – as capable as we are – I’m thankful to have a man I can rely on. He’s the first one I’ll call if there’s an emergency or disaster. He’s slain mice in the pantry. Mopped up overflowing toilets. Calmed down an out-of-control neighbor. And he’s held me in his arms while I sobbed my heart out over a deep and devastating loss.

A true hero. Quietly loving me.

And you’d be lost without him.
Maybe this feels a bit over the top? It’s not. My oldest daughter would likely have died if it wasn’t for him. When she suddenly stopped breathing miles and miles away from any medical help, his quick thinking and fast action kept her going until LifeFlight could arrive. I could see it in the headlines:

DAD KEEPS DAUGHTER BREATHING. While Mom Watches and Weeps.

He never made it into the papers that day. But he should have.

A great hero. On the front page of my heart.

So in this day when the world is desperate for goodness and heroes, make sure your husband knows he’s just the kind of guy for the job. Doing what he’s doing. Honest. Hard-working. Looking after his wife and family. Standing up and watching out. Following God.

An everyday hero.

The kind you and I need. And certainly the kind this world could use right now.

He’s a real hero.

In His grace,
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Please Don’t Label Me

Please Don't Label Me, A Child's Need for Unconditional Love

*A guest post by my husband, Matthew L. Jacobson

No one likes a negative label assigned to them based on a mistake, wrong choice, or even downright sin.

He’s a . . .

She’s so . . .

He’s a big . . .

She never . . .

If most people I know were going to wear a label it would read: DON’T LABEL ME!

Have you grown, matured, repented, or changed? We all want to move on. We’re even instructed in Scripture to, “Forget those things that are behind and press on . . . to our calling in Christ Jesus.”

I certainly don’t want to be defined by my lesser moments from the past. Do you? Of course not! Why? Because we all want to be genuinely loved by those closest to us and if people are using your failures to define you, whatever they may be – large or small – love is not what we are experiencing from them.

Even if someone is in the midst of their worst moment, love says, “I will not allow your present failure to define you.”

Isn’t this the kind of unconditional love we desire? Isn’t this the kind of love we’re called to extend to others? The Bible says Jesus loved us while we were still sinners. He loved us when we were hardest to love.

Sometimes our extended family can be the worst, never letting a brother, sister, son, daughter, uncle, dad, or mom be who they’ve become – never missing an opportunity to make that cutting remark about how so-and-so did that stupid thing, failed in the past, didn’t measure up, embarrassed herself, etc. The fried chicken and the weather at the picnic might be good, but the gathering resembles a bucket of crabs – as soon as one tries to climb out, another grabs his leg and pulls him back in.

The message is clear: You’ll always be the collection of bad choices, mistakes, and short-comings we’ve all known you to be.

Love does no such thing. Love says no such thing – especially when it comes to our children.

Our God is a Redeemer

What a heartache we endure as parents when our children make mistakes and/or walk in sin. Sometimes the consequences are lasting and we feel the loss like a knife in the heart. But, there’s something we need to remember….

A wrong choice does not define a life direction.

And, that’s good news. But, the news is even better than this. Even a string of wrong choices does not define a life direction.

Our children, even . . . no, especially . . . in their worst moments, need to know that we still believe in them, hope for them, and know they can win. The need for our children to know they are not losers is strongest in the moment of failure and defeat. The consequences will unfold and they will speak with a voice of their own but, from whom will our children get the message they so desperately need?

Yes, you’re disappointed. Yes, you’re hurt by your child’s choices – even angry. But don’t forget you are in a position of immense influence at these critical moments and your child is listening to the message you are sending.

You were once young. Did you make all the right moves? No? How did God appraise you, then? Did he define you by your failures? Or, did He believe in who He created you to be?

God is The Redeemer. We are not defined by the mistakes we make but by Who paid for them.

Don’t lose heart. Don’t give up hope.We’ve all had moments of wrong choices. God never defines His children by their shortcomings but by the righteousness of His own Son.

Let’s do for our children what God does for us. Like the father of the prodigal son, standing every day, looking for his return, we can do the same in our hearts toward our own children.

Remember God’s perspective: We are not defined by where we’ve been but by where we are going.

Matthew L. Jacobson

Matthew and Lisa Jacobson Bio Pic SmallMatthew is an author, president of Loyal Arts Literary Agency, and teaching elder in the local church. He’s married to Lisa,  and together they’re bringing up their 8 children on a small acreage in the Pacific NW. When they’re not gardening or reading, you’ll find them holding hands, sipping Peet’s coffee, or deep into conversation with some – or all – of their children. The Jacobsons are authors of several books, including a winner of the C.S. Lewis Silver Medal for children’s literature, How Did God Make Me? You can find him at MatthewLJacobson.com,on Facebook and Twitter.

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Those Funny Ways You Can Seriously Help Your Marriage

Those Funny Ways You Can Seriously Help Your MarriageHe says he doesn’t understand why we need to have 100 pillows on our bed.

But, just for the record, there really aren’t 100 – only 10.

I know because I counted them.

I also know this because I often find them flying at me while I’m trying to crawl into bed at night. Seriously. The guy will lie in wait until I’m finally ready to turn in….

Then that’s when the pillows come soaring through the air.

It’s like one of those games at the fair. I dodge the blitz the best I can, but the fact is he’s got a pretty good arm.

An awfully good arm, actually.

And no matter what the day has been like, I can’t seem to help myself and I’ll start shrieking.  Our kids say they can hear me from across the house. That they can always tell when there’s a party going on. And that they’ll forever have memories of mama laughing while everyone else is heading for bed.

I’ve tried to convince them to feel sorry for me and imagine what it’s like to be dodging pillows while you’re desperately searching for those cozy covers at the end of a long, hard day. But they inevitably take his side and find it all rather amusing too.

But you - you feel sorry for me don’t you?

Good! Because now I’ll tell you some of the ways I get my revenge. I’ll crawl in next to him and put my icy little feet up against his warm back (hah!). Or the next morning I’ll sneak in while he’s taking a hot shower and suddenly turn the water to cold (how did he know it was me??). Or drop down a Screaming Monkey from the balcony when he’s reading in his favorite armchair.

Oh yes, I have my ways.

screaming monkey

So what does all this have to do with marriage?

Nothing.

And everything.

Would you believe those pillows have helped us to have a better marriage? I really think they have.

You see, my husband I both lead very busy lives. And we feel the pressures bearing down on us. Work, home, family, finances, ministry and more. And we can get waaaay too bogged down in it all. We can even forget that we like each other. That there’s supposed to be a little fun in all this.

So he starts a pillow-fight. And then I laugh at his goofy jokes (although I’m known to laugh at my own too). Because let’s face it….

Every good marriage could use a good laugh now and then.

So now, in all seriousness, let me encourage you to have some fun together….

Take a break occasionally. Forget your troubles, at least momentarily, and enjoy one another. Don’t wait until all your problems are solved because that might not come for a long time.

Purpose to lighten up. Sometimes he and I go out somewhere and we forbid certain topics to come up. We pledge to put those aside those heavies and simply have a good time together.

Remember to laugh. I guess I could have taken offense the first time that pillow came hurling through the air. Instead of giggling like a girl. But I’m glad I did. It’s more fun this way.

Consider the savings. Honestly? Laughter is way cheaper than therapy. I figure those pillow-fights have saved us hours of counseling. (Not sure about the Screaming Monkey though – that one might have added an hour or two).

I don’t know how many pillows you happen to have decorating your bed right now, but it might be time to invest in a few more. Might need 10 or 100. Then see about getting a really good pillow-fight going.

Hope you enjoy some fun!

In His grace,

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{Photo credit: The picture above is of my charming nephew and his lovely wife taken by Brenda Jacobson Photography}

Raising Kids Who Genuinely Love Jesus

Raising Kids Who Genuinely Love Jesus

I held my breath when the call came in.

I had no doubt that what was going to be communicated would come as a harsh blow and that his world would come crashing in. It was all I could do not to  hang up on the caller and spare our son the deep pain this conversation would inevitably bring.

But instead I handed him the phone and watched his face fall.

Devastation.

When all was said and done, he hung up and – without saying a word and without looking back – walked out of the room.

Oh, dear God, I cried out. Help that young man.

A mother’s heart-felt plea.

Then watched him climb the stairs and shut the door. Followed by a strange silence.

How was he going to handle this? Where would he turn? What would he choose?

He was no longer a child and I couldn’t choose for him.

Standing outside his closed door, I pressed my forehead against the solid wall. Praying. Silently weeping. Waiting.

An hour or more passed before I finally heard his voice on the other side of that wall.

It took me a minute or two before I realized what I was hearing.

He was singing praise songs to Jesus. One after the other. Song after song. I didn’t even realize he knew quite so many songs. His voice was raspy and so I suspected he was emotional. Maybe even cried. But he  was definitely singing his heart out.

In the midst of great personal pain, he was praising Jesus.

That moment in his 17-year history was not our son’s first test and by no means would it be his last. Yet for some reason it’s the most memorable in my mind. A significant time in a mother’s life when she is left to agonize: which way will he choose?

How do you bring up children who genuinely love Jesus?

Our children are people, not projects. We just can’t turn our kids into a Jesus-project. Above all, they need to see and feel that they are deeply loved and that you truly love Jesus yourself. Children are little people with tender souls, so tend them gently.

Our genuine love for Jesus has a powerful impact. Children are incredibly perceptive and so as parents we need to be the “real deal”. Not perfect (kids care way less about this than we think), merely authentic.

The church cannot replace us as parents. We can’t leave it up to the youth leader, the youth program, the Sunday School teachers, or even your awesome pastor to lead our children to Christ. God made you the parent of your children and they need YOU to teach and disciple them.

And a parent cannot replace the Holy Spirit. It’s true. We have much to offer as the parent as we guide and direct our children, but only the Spirit of God can transform their hearts. So let’s not do this in our own power, but rely on Him to do the real work.

Rejoice in the victories. This is very important. If your child does something kind, something honest, or something obedient – then rejoice! Maybe they have some areas (even lots of areas!) that they still need to grow in, but don’t let those be your main focus. Instead, celebrate each little step of victory!

Discipleship is an ongoing process. Rather than looking for immediate results, patiently sow the seeds and pull the weeds. What it might look like today in your home doesn’t determine how it will always be. Take heart, my friend, for you are doing something wonderful for your children with your loving persistence.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (Gal. 6:9)

And please know that I’m walking in a similar row right next to you. It’s by no means “over” here in our home. We have no illusions about that. We are still growing, still learning, and still have choices to make every day on Who we are going to choose.

But my prayer is that our children – yours and mine – will keep turning their hearts to Jesus.

Coming next: Raising Kids Who Might Fall…But Will Get Back Up Again

In His grace,

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Raising Heavenly Kids

This is Part Two of the series: Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth KidsIf you’d like the posts from this series delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get the FREE eBook, 31 Days to a Better Marriage).