I put this picture on my Facebook page about a month ago, and quickly got 143 "likes." Next to the picture I wrote, "Most wives have no idea how much power they have. This note will give me fuel for weeks." Let me give you the backstory...
A few weeks prior to Faith leaving this note on my computer, she and I had started some pretty serious conversations about our future. Although I was still fighting it within my heart, I was beginning to sense that our time on staff at Granger might be finished. Those first few conversations were hard, emotional. The twenty years we've spent at Granger we've done together. It was a difficult decision to arrive at together back in 1994...and it was even harder to think about leaving.
Now there was more at stake. We didn't just have one baby at home who, let's face it, would go anywhere we took her. We now have two teens and two in college. This decision would impact all of us. We have deep roots in a community where we've lived for a quarter of a century.
The night before Faith left this note, I had stayed up all night long. I was thinking, praying, wrestling with God, writing out my thoughts, wrestling some more. There came a time around 4:00 in the morning when I just knew that I knew that my time was done. No more wrestling, no more angst, no more fighting it. I knew. I was overwhelmed with peace. It was if a thousand pounds lifted from my shoulders. It wasn't the weight of my job that was lifted. I loved my job. It was the weight of the decision.
Perhaps like never before, the truth of Philippians 4:7 came alive to me:
"Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." (NLT)
I guess if God's peace exceeds anything we can understand, I shouldn't expect to be able to explain it. I've tried, but words fall short.
Later that day, I shared my experience with Faith. It wasn't my decision to make--it was ours to make. We started in this together...if it was time to leave, we would also do that together. She communicated words of affirmation, love and confidence. But I knew she was still processing.
The next morning--on April 1st--I found this note on my computer. I love you. I believe in you. I trust you. I'm with you. It wasn't an April Fools Joke. It was life-giving. It was made of the stuff that creates super heroes. It was like the super-charged, high-octane gasoline that shoots into a race car engine and gives it power for the journey ahead. Right then, I knew we were in this together. It would be a difficult journey--especially the first days of looking into the eyes of friends who we love and letting them know of our decision. But when you are together with someone who loves you and has your back, you can face anything.
Those statements are so powerful. She didn't just make them up on this day for this big moment. She has communicated those same words to me through her life and love and support for all of our married life. And the truth is, these aren't just words for a wife to say to her husband because someone has convinced her she is supposed to blindly and obediently submit. Are you kidding? Where is the joy in that? Rather, these words have power because they come from the option of not saying them. These words have the power to transform any relationship.
I love you. I believe in you. I trust you. I'm with you.
Imagine how powerful it would be if you had a job where your boss could genuinely say these words to you and back them up with his or her actions.
Imagine how transforming it would be if you had two or three friends who you knew could say these words and genuinely mean them.
Imagine the strength and confidence parents would have if they really felt this from their kids.
Imagine the dreams that a teen or young adult could tackle if he or she heard (and felt) these words from his or her parents through all the years of growing up.
Right now you might be thinking how badly you wish someone would say these words to you. I get that. It is a painful place to live when you don't feel love, belief or trust from anyone in your life; when you are surrounded by people who won't, don't, or can't say these words. My suggestion? Stop the cycle. Refuse to continue to withhold the blessing on others.
Find a few people who give life to you--and for as many people as you can do so from a place of authenticity...speak these words again and again. They have the power to transform!