Last week, Jan and I were taking communion and praying together like we do each day. After we received the bread and wine, we prayed over our children, our marriage and some of you who are reading these words. It was still early in the day, and the morning sunlight was filtering through our living room window, casting a delicate shadow of Jan in prayer. I quietly raised my phone, and discreetly captured her image.
I have a wife who still turns my head and makes my heart leap each time I see her. We are not short on romance. In many ways, we started dating 50 years ago and haven’t stopped. What I love most about Jan is not her beauty, the sound of her voice or how she walks, though those things do grab my attention. It is the strength she carries in the Spirit I admire most. She is a spiritual mother to hundreds of men and women around the globe. She has a quiet confidence that comes from a woman who does not have to prove herself. She walks in intimacy with God. In all our conversations about people, she never violates their trust. She carries honor, not sharing with me, or anyone the most intimate details about another person's life. I feel like I am living with a spiritual giant that daily slays hell with the weapons of truth, love, honor, and mercy.
If you are a woman your most significant strengths will be discovered in the Spirit, not in the shallow offerings of a broken image of womanhood that continually lives in fear of the beautiful process of aging, or self-doubt, or allowing someone other than God to form you into their image. The most appealing things to a man who is worthy to share life with you will not be found inside the garish pages of a glossy women's magazine but within the truth of Scripture.
If you are a man and happen to be reading these words, your desire to be the protector and lover of your wife will be seen most clearly when you are strong enough to partner with her as your spiritual equal stepping forward together arm-and-arm in prayer and worship and a shared life in the Spirit. When a man and a woman live like this, their life will become a living advertisement of the power of oneness. That is the measure of true strength for both a man and a woman.