Today, October 25th, Kristina and I celebrate 14 years of marriage, and I’m honestly not sure where the time has gone. During these years, though, there is much to reflect upon. Laughter, tears, prayers, challenges, and never going to bed angry at one another are the ‘ingredients’ to our ‘recipe’ of ‘becoming one flesh’ (Gen:2:24) in Christian marriage. What I lack as a husband, she provides. What she lacks as a wife, I fulfill. Marriage – the forming of two into one – is complementary to each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Yet, we are one, in our roles as parents to our children and even in our leadership as clergy in serving the Church. I knew from the moment I held Kristina’s hand on that late November evening in Decatur, Mississippi, that we would be husband and wife one day.
For today’s post, Kristina and I will share 14 things we’ve learned about one another in these last 14 years. Of course we’ve learned more than 14 things about one another, but today’s reflection points to our ‘becoming one flesh’ as found in Gen. 2:24.
“14 Things I’ve Learned About You: Kristina”
She is strong: physically and mentally. I don’t think she realizes her strength, either, which is why she is a great CrossFit athlete, and additionally, this makes her a perfect contender for training to become a CrossFit coach. Her mental strength is remarkable, and she has been such a ‘calm’ to any of my own mental storms.
She is the definition of resilient. What is resilience? It’s the ability to withstand impeding challenges with the determination of moving forward. Our family has moved four addresses in the last 12 months (Third time in England) Every time and with every move she has been the rock for our family. Not me, but her.
Her DIY skills have saved us. As much as it pains to admit this, I must. She can fix just about anything with curiosity and confidence. Me? I can tell her theoretically how something ought to be repaired. Her? She just does it.
She is the most brilliant student of the Bible, I’ve ever known. Honestly, she could teach others how to study the Bible. I knew during our seminary days that she was a gifted and natural learner of Biblical studies and interpretation. Unfortunately, she has not been able to develop this gift within her ministries as much as she would have liked. However, I believe those days are just around the corner.
Her love language is touch, chips (French fries), and Thatcher’s Gold. It has taken me almost 14 years to really understand how she wants to be loved, and that’s simply by “touch.” I know it makes her feel safe when I hold her hand, give her a hug or kiss, or simply link arms with her while walking. Unfortunately, this is a challenge for me because I just don’t like to be touched. In the mean time, though, I’ve discovered another way to her heart through a batch of freshly fried chips (French fries for our non-British friends) and a pint of Thatcher’s Gold Cider.
She is more creative than she thinks. Apparently she think that she is not the ‘creative’ and ‘fun’ parent, but she is a gifted creator in photography, imagery design, and even video. Her authenticity for being a ‘fun’ adult in leading Children’s ministries is actually one of her best qualities in teaching adults. Trust me, I would never teach adults like she does, but for her, it works because it’s authentically creative.
England suits her. She told me one year before we moved that she prayed to Jesus to give her England, meaning she prayed the Lord would send us and provide for us in this season. Jesus has answered her prayer, abundantly and unexpectedly in ways unimaginable. Therefore, England, perhaps the whole of the U.K., suits her because she has made it her home.
Her words/tone make me believe I can fly, and I’m not joking at all. I don’t know how she does it, but something about her tone and confidence will make puddle of mud think it’s a beautiful ice sculpture. When she tells me that I can do something and that she believes in me, I am never more confident. So, if she ever told me to fly, she either really believes I can, or she’s ready to inherit our life insurance policy.
She’s a natural-born leader. One of my mentors always said something similar to, “Some leaders are born; some are made.” Kristina is a natural-born leader, and her life achievements and roles prove it. From being team captain on sports teams and becoming Homecoming Queen her senior year of high school to her answering her call to ordained ministry, serving as a pastor, training to become a CrossFit coach, serving at seemingly the largest Church in Bristol and working at Trinity College. This woman is a leader.
Her driving still scares me. Her confidence in everything else in life apparently rolls right into her driving, and it scares me every time I ride. The ‘brakes’ on the passenger side have never worked in 14 years, and I doubt they ever will. But, hey, what can I say, I’m grateful to have a wife that was willing to drive 1,000 miles (to and from) our honeymoon.
Her work capacity exceeds more than the average person. Her resilience, confidence, and strength really add up when it comes to her work capacity. She has two speeds: 5th gear and Neutral. When she works, she WORKS. When she’s tired, she’s down for the count.
She currently uses about 25% of her gifts and abilities, and she knows it. If you have worked with her, or currently work with her, ask her what she really wants to do. She loves what she does, but she has other gifts, explained here, that will really strengthen the Church and world.
She is called to ordained ministry. Always. The Lord has called her and set her apart for ministry. I’m so honored she answered this call, and no matter where we live, I want her to know she is called by Jesus.
She does not give up. Perhaps this is more resilience and mental strength than anything else, but I wanted to say it in this way. When she is focused on a task, she will not quit. I’ll tell her too, but she won’t. Others will tell her too, but she won’t. Why not? Because of all the other things I’ve learned about her in these 14 years.
Kristina is a gift, a treasure, and she is my ‘yellow rose.’ I look forward to spending the rest of my life discovering more things about her.
“14 Things I’ve Learned About You: Jonathan”
From the moment you offered me your arm on our first walk down the streets of Decatur, MS, through you patiently waiting on me to admit that I really did LOVE you, till now as we live across the seas, I knew you were/are always the one for me (cue an “aww” sound).
From our earliest days and first conversations, I knew you loved the Lord deeply. I remember our first long conversation was about the Holy Spirit. What a date! Your love for Jesus was by far the best quality that made me fall in love with you and seeing you now at 5am every morning, makes me love you more each day.
I love that you are so creative and so thoughtful. You have always gone above and beyond to show me you care for me in your own unique ways. From your crazy videos to surprise me with horse and carriage rides, to handing me flowers through my dance class and dancing with me in front of people you don’t know (which I know you did not like at all), to the simplest of giving me flowers, etc. I could go on and on about the ways you have loved me. I am so thankful for your deep, deep, deep love. If he has ever loved you, it is a gift and you are blessed.
I have learned that you are the most “non” musical musical person I have ever met. You love for silence and solitude used to urke me to my bones, but I now know it is one of your best qualities that I admire most. I even welcome silence and solitude in my life now because of you.
You have always been and still continue to be naturally gifted at ALL THING MUSIC. It’s annoyingly beautiful the way you just know how to play every instrument there is. To be someone who burst with musical talent, yet some quiet about it leads me to come to know that you are the most humble human being I know.
I have learned that your quietness is a gift to the world. It used to annoy the crap out of me, but again, your humility for life and service to others is almost unnatural, yet it is one of your top 5 qualities that I love and continue to love.
Your ability to “know” is so impressive.I believe that is how God has made you and is still making you during your PHD journey. Your ability to hold so much information in your head, yet when you open your mouth to express whatever comes it's always so brilliantly said, so beautifully orchestrated, and so directly to the point.
You knew that you loved me the moment we held hands. I think I knew with my heart but my heart and head don’t always line up. You are so patient with me. You sit with me, you hold me, you wait so patiently till I literally can’t take it anymore that I just burst it out, like I LOVE YOU.
You are my biggest fan. You knew that I was called into ministry before I did. You have encouraged me, guided me, helped me, and you always pray for me. Thanks for always being my biggest fan. You are the calm to our chaos. You are the peace maker and protector in our family and in my life. For that I am so grateful!
Your call to ministry and to serve others has been so amazing to watch grow over these last 14 yrs. The amount of gifts you bring to the table is ridiculous. God has had a call on your life for most of it and you have always gone when God told you to go. Your faithfulness to the call of ministry is truly amazing. Even when it didn’t make sense, even when it hurt, even when it took us across the seas, you have remained solid. You are the most solid, faithful, grounded human being I know and I got to marry you.
Your ability to preach the word of God has been the most precious gift to me to watch over the last 14 years. You are so passionate about proclaiming God’s Word to the world. I know that there is a God when I hear you preach. I know the power of the Holy Spirit when you preach. How God can take someone so quiet and make him so passionate is beyond me. It is only an act of God. The most amazing God has chosen to speak through you and I get to witness it.
You mostly eat the same lunch you have always eaten for the last 14 years. You also eat it at the same time of the day everyday no matter what everybody else's schedule is. This used to drive me crazy. Now, I embrace it as just who you are and what brings you comfort. The same ole sandwich, chips, and a cookie for lunch. Your day is complete and I will forever be confused and bored. But that's you and I love it.
You are by far the most disciplined person I know. When you set your mind to something and set a schedule to do it, you will not vary. Again, I used to be very jealous of this when we first married. I now have embraced the sturdy pillars in the midst of my “wherever the winds blow'' mentality. I love that you are disciplined. I have learned to become more disciplined in my daily rhythms of life and my discipleship with Jesus, all because of witnessing you.
You are a uniquely gifted leader. You have never been a cookie cutter person and I don’t ever want you to become that. For that, I have come to know that you are a very passionate person. So much so that you will go to the distance with people to see those passions multiply (all the Glorify God). Whether that is teaching our children every night about the Lord’s supper, coaching an individual, or leading a church, your passion overflows into others and I am thankful for your passion that brings about life in others.
You are also a person that is gifted in dreams. Most people think of biblical stories of dreams, but you have such a gift in leadership when it comes to discernment and following the dreams that God gives you for yourself and the church.We would never have went on any of these adventures over the last 14yrs, if it had not been for your gift in discernment and follow the dreams God has planted in your heart.
And “many more”....You are THE BEST FATHER to your children. Seriously, you are the fun and creative one and they definitely get that from you. The way you love me overflows into how you love our children. Our children are first class witnesses to what deep love looks like, feels like. They get to see how deep love grows deeper and deeper in our lives as we grow up and up. Our children are blessed to have you and it is by far the “sexiest” thing you do!! HeHeHe!! (and now you will crawl into a whole)
To my long blonde fabio. I love you deeper and deeper each day! Cheers to many more!