Nine years ago today my husband, Brian, and I got married. On this anniversary I wanted to invite you all to listen in as I thank him for being an incredible, godly husband…
It is so hard to communicate in words the gift you have been to me these past nine years. I often find myself amazed at the Lord’s goodness. I simply cannot believe I got you!!
Our marriage began with the adventure of church planting in Chicago. Those first four and a half years were filled with many adjustments, joys, and a few sorrows. We changed homes and jobs and friends. God blessed us with two precious sons. We also suffered through two miscarriages and various health issues. Then, four years ago God called us back to serve here in Maryland at Covenant Life Church. Soon after we were also blessed to give birth to our third son. It has been a grace-filled journey and I am so glad we have done it together!
This backdrop brings me to what I want to thank you for, Brian: your sacrificial care. You are a man who is constantly putting the needs of others above his own, starting with your family. Your care has always looked different depending on the situation, but your goal has always been to point me to the Savior. You have challenged me even when I was proud, you have been gentle and understanding when I was sad, you have prayed for me when I was sick, you have pointed me to grace when I was discouraged, you have encouraged me with words of faith when I was a weary from caring for small children, and you have given me breaks from the kids to get refreshed. I cannot thank you enough for the ways you have cared for my soul. I love the Savior more as a result of your care, and for that I am eternally grateful.
I look forward to spending the rest of our lives together, growing closer to each other and to our Savior. I love you very much and count you as my greatest gift apart from the cross.
Fifty-two hours, hundreds of stores, four pairs of tired feet…
No, we didn’t forget the post today…okay, we almost did, but the excuse is good. We are on our yearly Christmas shopping trip and having tons of fun. Here’s is a shot from our day. As you can see, we are getting lots of work done.
Jeany from Florida forwarded us this little story and picture. It was too good to keep to ourselves.
Enjoy your weekend, we will return on Monday!
Janelle on behalf of the girltalkers
We had a “going away” party yesterday for a lady at our claims office. One of the supervisors called a Wal-Mart and ordered the cake. He told them to write: “Best Wishes Suzanne” and underneath that write “We will miss you.” As the picture shows, it didn’t quite turn out right. It was too funny not to keep it.
Today, we conclude our interview with John Ensor…
Is there any truth, any bit of advice you wanted to include in the book but just didn’t fit? Would you mind sharing it here?
One thing I couldn’t seem to integrate into the book very much because it always appeared a bit off topic, but is certainly related to the whole, was the role of the local Church and active ministry in a local church in doing things right in matters of the heart. The book is aimed at individuals (since that is the nature of a book). But the truth is the local church plays a vital role in proclaiming a vision for mature manhood and womanhood and providing a healthy setting for matches to occur. My pastor, Dr. Gordon Hugenburger at Park Street Church in Boston gets silly with delight when he sees Christians meet along the pathways of worship and service, get to know one another in that context, and then come to him with wedding plans. And so do I.
We couldn’t help but notice the liberal sprinkling of Shakespeare references throughout your book. Can you tell us how you became a fan and if you have a favorite play? [I just had to sneak this question in!—Nicole]
When I was a skulking cynical senior in High School, I somehow landed in a class with a dowdy old school-marm who had the audacity to think that my friends and I could actually understand and like Shakespeare. She made us read Macbeth, then Hamlet, Othello, and Romeo and Juliet. Half-way through Hamlet, and I was totally enamored. I remain so. When my kids were in their teens we watched Kenneth Branagh’s films of Shakespeare’s plays and went to Shakespeare in the Park in Boston. When I sat down to write a book on love, I kept thinking of Shakespeare scenes and quotes that illustrated the theological truths I was developing. I decided that he should be our expert witness; and help us see that not only are the doctrines true, but have long been true and are delightfully true. As for favorite, it depends on my mood. I really like Much Ado About Nothing and Taming of the Shrew. They force all the inner tensions between men and women to the surface and yet, “all’s well that ends well.”
We especially enjoyed the personal stories you included in the book about you and your wife. Can you tell us one thing you most appreciate about your wife, Kristen?
After 29 years of enduring me and my chosen path of ministry, which has been most unconventional and risky, (at one point I gave my salary away, another time, went to jail, and last year took up an initiative in Miami that required me to commute from Boston every other week or so) what I most appreciate is that she is still there when I get home!
Indeed she is faithfulness incarnate. I think what I appreciate about her the most has been her commitment to make our home and family the counter-balance to my work: a place of refuge and laughter, peace, order, and a good cup coffee.
Finally, can you tell us briefly about the work you do with Heartbeat International?
I wrote a brief book entitled Answering the Call (Focus on the Family) that explains the biblical foundations, historical precedence and practical implications for Christians to visibly cherish and defend innocent human life. At www.heartbeatofmiami.org you may read how I am attempting to live out that message. You may see how my role as Executive Director of Urban Initiatives fits into the larger work by visiting www.heartbeatinternational.org.
For a more in-depth conversation about John Ensor’s work with crisis pregnancy centers, we want to encourage our readers to check out his interview with Justin Taylor.
Mr. Ensor, thank you so much for writing this immensely helpful and delightful-to-read book! May God bless you and your family and may your work with Heartbeat International save many children who will grow to know and love the Savior, and rejoice in the compelling vision of biblical manhood and womanhood.
Today, we asked John Ensor to answer some questions from a parent’s perspective:
How do you instill passion and conviction for biblical roles of men and women at a young age?
Love your wife and respect your husband. Without this, all our teaching is just clanging pots and pans. Jonathan Edwards spoke often about the difference between intellectually knowing something and having a sensible knowledge of it-like reading about honey in a dictionary versus scooping honey into your mouth. Young people can be taught the roles, but seeing the day to day interchange of love and honor played out in the home through all the ups and downs of life is convincingly sweet knowledge. Our kids know our faults, but they know the roles we teach are good because they have tasted their goodness in our home.
What types of things do you advise that a daughter (and her parents) know about a young man before the relationship “gets serious”?
The main thing is to encourage them to look for the right things in a man and find it before getting serious. And I think that is character, passion and authenticity. What values drive him? What does he treasure in life? What voices does he listen to? What is his goal in life? How does he treat others? This is what I tried to convey in the chapter, “He Displays Integrity, She an Inner Beauty.” Everything else can be adjusted too, skin color, class, education, personality type., etc. But does he display a teachable spirit about God and does he demonstrate a growing edge when it comes to godly character? He might be poor, unsure of himself, not yet a strong leader. But if he demonstrates a sincere heart for integrity, honesty, faithfulness etc, that stem from faith in God, then the rest will grow in due season.
If we were to ask your son, what do you think he would say was the best piece of advice you gave him in how to “do things right” as he pursued the woman who is now his wife?
I asked him and he sent back the following: “When the question of marriage became more of a ‘when?’ rather than a ‘whether or not’ my soon to be wife and I were faced with a decision that seemed obvious to most, but uncomfortable to us. As we were both still in school, (Juniors in college) current social trends (even Christian social trends) dictated that we wait until after graduation, and maybe even after I had found a ‘good’ job. We posed the question to my father and he reminded me of a verse that he had spoken to me many times. ‘It is better to marry than to burn with passion’ (1 Cor. 7:9). Looking back I knew he would say exactly that, but with such a big decision I really needed to hear it again. We were married the summer before our senior year and many people marveled at the difficult undertaking of school full time, work full time, and planning a wedding. But really, we took the easy way out. Avoiding a burning passion over a long period of time and staying focused on Jesus saved us the guilt, pain, and hardship of keeping our relationship in ‘stall mode’ for longer than we could handle.”
Tomorrow we’ll conclude our interview with John Ensor. Be sure to check back!