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#33 Letters to the Church by Francis Chan, 2018.

Audible. Fabulous. Really should get this one in a hard copy. I love this guy’s zeal for Jesus. It is appealing — at least to me. Makes me wonder if a non-believer were to listen to him, would they think the same thing? Perhaps I should explore this by asking someone who doesn’t follow Jesus to have a listen. But I encourage anyone who loves Jesus to read or listen to it! So very good.

#34 This Momentary Marriage by John Piper, 2009.

This is one of my husband’s favorite reads lately. He’s even reading it again. Funny how books that he enjoys doesn’t really do all that much for me. But, when he loves something so much, and wants me to read it, I go for it. I think that is one of the reasons he married me. When he dated a woman he liked, he would ask her to read his favorite book. Thirty-six years ago, it was The Road Less Traveled. I read it. I may have been his only girlfriend that did, and that impressed him.

My overall favorite take-away from the book is that marriage done well, is to reflect Jesus’s love for His Church. How many marriages do you know that do this? You don’t have to answer that. But perhaps you should ask yourself this, if you are married: Does your marriage do this?

While I am sure that Tom and I fall way short of looking like Jesus and his bride–especially me–there are some key elements in our marriage that have made it a joyful journey.

Perhaps the most crucial is that we give each other lots of grace.

I remember the time (about 5 years ago) when I insisted on moving our dining room table on my own.

He insisted I get help before I did it.

After he left the room, I did it anyway — and sure enough, I broke one of the legs on his beloved table. I anticipated a very angry husband. And he was. But before he let me know how much he hated what I did, he said, “Sugar, I really love you, but …” I can’t remember what came after the but, becuase his “I really do love you” prompted me to burst into tears at the kindness and mercy that my husband gave me. No matter how bad I made a mess of things, and I can really mess up, I always get grace and kindness.

Another favorite thing about our marriage is that we are a team. I could probably count on one hand the times Tom has pulled the “I’m the head” card. He values my brain, and if he can’t convince me that his ideas are the best, usually he will say, “but we’ll do it your way.” He gives in quite easily because, not only does he want to please me, he actually thinks my way may be better. Like when we bought our house 25 years ago. He didn’t really like it, but he knew I did, so we bought it. We both realize now, that this was the best house for us. It took some work, but 25 years later, it has grown into my dream home.

Another.

We both want the other to flourish, even it if it at the other’s expense.

Two examples come to mind:

When Tom told me that Luder Whitlock invited him to be a seminary student at the age of 55, I was all in. And when he was 56, it became a reality. For four years we lived on a secretary’s salary in Mississippi.

When I broached the idea of having my own pottery studio, which meant he’d have to get rid of his boat and lawnmower and everything else that filled his garage, he wasn’t all that thrilled but said ok. Three years later, and dozens of kiln firings, he still gushes with delight and encouragement every time I bring in my warmed, glazed pieces.

While this book didn’t do much for me personally, I’m glad Tom loves it. And perhaps all the kindness and tenderness he’s been showing me in abundance lately has been in part due to this book.