His Crowning Joy

joy

It was the golden hour.  You know it well – that last beautiful hour of golden, buttery light before the sun sets for the night.  We had just witnessed two dear friends become Mr. and Mrs. and the reception was in full swing.  The old barn that held so many memories was helping to build so many new ones that May 25th.  Love and redemption forever tied in with barn wood and donuts.

As the light began to soften, people began trickling out to the field.  The event was marked by a large number of photographers.  We just can’t resist light like that.  One by one, groups were forming for photographs.  Bridal party.  Couples.  Friends.  Families.  As Josh and I stepped out into the field for a few quick photos, I felt extra pretty.  These are going to be a new favorites, I thought.

He wrapped his arms around me, and we snuggled in close.  He picked me up.  And then he had an idea.

“Take your back arm and put it in front of me,” he said as he cradled me.  That’s when time slowed down.  In what felt like slow motion, I moved my arm around across his chest, my lips said “What, like this?” and my mind screamed “Abort the plan!”  A half a second later, I was in the weeds.  He was trying a dance move – spinning me around him with every intention to catch me on the other side.  I just didn’t make it all the way around.

I had a split second decision to make as he quickly helped me up.  I could react badly.  Madly.  Frustrated that my hair was a mess, my dress was covered in pokey pieces of dried grass, and my perfectly-planned photograph in that perfect light was not happening.  Or I could recognize that it was a mistake.  He didn’t do it on purpose.  He would never do it on purpose.  And laugh it off.  In that split second, all was quiet.  The watching audience wasn’t sure how to react.  So they waited to see how I reacted.

I came up laughing.  Everyone else erupted.  And Josh spent the rest of the night kissing my face and picking grass out of my dress.  (I think that was his plan all along.)

I’ve been chewing on that for a few weeks now.  About how easily I could have blamed him.  Been mad at him.  Given everyone around us permission to look down on him.  Even though it was truly a mistake.  And just the thought of reacting any other way makes me cringe.  Because I never want anyone to ever look at my husband that way.  And then I realized how often the people around me see my spouse through my eyes.  Get to know him through my eyes.  How I represent him.  How I speak of him when he’s not around. How I react to his funny quirks.

Ten years ago, we had only been married for a couple of weeks.  Something silly and long since forgotten happened, and I was mad at him.  Even worse – I wanted to be mad at him.  But then he did something or said something that’s quintiscential Josh and I had to laugh.  It was impossible not to.  I remember praying then, and I still pray it now, LORD, keep that one thing throughout our entire marriage.  Help me to still laugh with him when all I want is to be mad at him.  Even now, all these years later, he still makes me laugh every day.

Proverbs 12:4 says “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones.”

In addition to being an avid journaler, I love to write in the margins of my Bible.  In my Bible, the word “crown” is that the end of a line.  At some point in time (who knows when), I changed “crown” to read “crown(ing joy)”.  Now, when I read the verse, it says:

An excellent wife is the crown(ing joy)

of her husband…”

I don’t know about you, but I want nothing more than to be the crowning joy of my husband.  I want to make him look better and not worse.  I want to encourage the respect of others toward him and not diminish it with an ill-intentioned story or negative off-the-cuff remark.  I want to laugh with him as I’m covered in weeds and not smile with clenched teeth over an accident.

I love Elizabeth George’s perspective from her book Beautiful in God’s Eyes:

God’s beautiful woman is pleased to be her husband’s crown. Shunning the spotlight, she gladly gives her life behind the scenes so that her husband may be noticed and honored. She is glad when he is the center of attention, when he excels, when he is recognized, when he rises to the top.  Indeed, she delights in living in his shadow. His promotion is her greatest reward. She desires that her husband be highly respected and esteemed, so she contentedly offers the supreme sacrifice of herself for him.

God, I pray that You would make me to be a woman who is not only pleased to be her husband’s crown, but is also, without a doubt, her husband’s crowning joy.  Teach me how to be the wife he needs me to be – not just the wife I think I’m capable of being.  Bring me beyond what I think I am capable of to meet the needs he doesn’t even realize he has.  Make me my husband’s crowning glory.  And through it, glorify Yourself.

Josh-and-Jane-Johnson

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