This blog post is going to be a departure from the usual. Instead of Scripture and devotions, this is simply going to be a post in honor of my wife, Leslie Rose Atwell. Those that know us well know that our marriage was extremely difficult in the early parts…as if we are not still in the early parts of our marriage…so let’s say the early, early parts. Nonetheless, God is faithful to those who are faithful to Him.
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” -Hebrews 13:5
God is the only answer to the redemption that is found in life. He is the one that joins two bodies together as one, and far be it from me to ever try to tear apart what God has joined together. Thankfully, God has given me a partner that is so wonderfully made for me, it would be insane to ever go anywhere else. No, Leslie does not “complete” me. Yes, I can live without her. But, she does sharpen me. She does completely make me stronger. I do not want to live without her.
I used to watch chick flicks and would be touched by them, but never even close to what I feel now that I am married. Anything about losing a spouse absolutely turns me into a river. Leslie and I have a dream that we will die together some day while serving the Lord. I don’t necessarily have an ideal death, but Leslie likes to think it will be while we are helping children cross a border into freedom from some kind of slavery. Lord willing, we will be old and will be riding wheelchairs across the border as we flee from soldiers who were trying to take the children. I read about martyrs and am encouraged and touched by their stories. Sometimes, though, I wonder how they can be so calm. We are fighters. I would picture us as the ones trying to fight our way out and escape. Throwing our teeth into their faces and spinning out in our Hoverounds. “Hoveround takes me where I want to go. Where will it send me?”
Nonetheless, back on point. These are just a few reasons why Leslie was hand-picked by the Almighty to be my partner, and I hers. Shall I elaborate on some other reasons? Yes, I shall. She is:
The compassion to balance my lack thereof; the mercy necessary to sustain and thrive with someone like me; the matching heart for lost souls; the humor to remind me that God wants us to have fun; the contentment necessary for a life of sacrifice; the non-stop desire to grow that pushes me forward so that I can lead; the submissiveness to Scripture that surpasses all personal desires;
More than anything else, she is me. We have become one unit since the Lord joined us, and until He takes us apart, we will continue to grow together. Now, I’m a logical person, so let’s use some logic. Since being married to Leslie, I have grown in the areas of: patience, mercy, anger, kindness, wisdom, compassion, faithfulness, prayer, Bible study, preaching, evangelism, sacrifice, and the list probably goes on. Of course, I could break all these down and come up with some other reasons why I have grown in some of these areas. However, I have to think that Leslie is the common denominator. She is the one ingredient that connects them all. I would have grown in several of these areas without her, but certainly not in the way I have grown or at the pace I have grown. Of course, God is the foundation of it all, but God is also the one that put her in my life and uses her. That’s a pretty good ingredient! I mean, she’s like honey. No matter what you put her in, you know it will be better with her. Let me finish this thought with a poem, dedicating to Leslie.
Nature’s sweetener, pure and undefiled
Easy on the eyes, bearing the heart of a child
It’s importance is not to be underestimated
Wherever it drops, it certainly must be tasted
For if it were not, oh what joy you have missed!
Like travelling abroad with your eyes to the ground
Or singing to the Lord but hearing no sound
It never ruins or loses its flavor
Nay, it perseveres through even the hottest of summers and coldest of winters
Maintaining its sweetness for all to savor.
It takes away whatever is bitter or sour
Exchanging its vile taste for that of the flower
That I could have such an effect!
Would bring great pleasure to those in my life
Unfortunately I am somewhat of a wreck
Which is why I made Honey my wife.