Thursday, February 13, 2014

My "'Matt List"

When Matt and I were getting to know each other, I kept a list in the back of my journal of things I noticed in him- things I had noticed about his character, his relationship with God, and how he treated others. Before we parted for that first summer, I wrote him a letter sharing some of those things with him, along with specific examples how I'd seen them in his life. I wanted to let him know I really respected him and was thankful for the ways I could see God working in his life.

Now, after a year of dating, seven months of engagement, and one and a half years of marriage, my respect for him has only grown deeper and deeper, as I have had the privilege of being an even closer witness to God's working in him. Looking back over that list now, I can see that all of those things I'd noticed years ago are even more true today. I could add countless examples under each of the qualities in that list.

So, in honor of Valentine's Day, I thought I might reminisce through the list and build upon it with a few examples from the sweet year and a half since I have had the honor of calling Matt my husband...

A Gentleman
- (dating) taking dishes up when we ate together in the cafeteria, opening my car door for me, holding  doors open for me, walking me back to my dorm
- (marriage) still opening the car door for me and holding doors for me, dropping Ann and I off at church so we don't have to walk far in the cold, heating up the car for me when it's cold

Protecting me
- (dating) looking out for me when we visited the Scranton Rescue Mission together
- (marriage) going to the store for me if we need something at night when it's dark outside, standing on the side nearest traffic when we go for walks, the baseball bat by our bed :)

Desire to protect my purity
- (dating) established clear physical guidelines for our relationship and never once tried to test or cross them
- (marriage) protecting his purity in how he interacts with other women and in what he allows himself to look at

Respectful of authority
- (dating) how he treated the referees and coaches during basketball, how he spoke about our leaders and teachers
- (marriage) how he speaks to and about our elders and deacons and his professors at seminary

Respectful of my Daddy
- (dating) meeting with him to ask permission to date me, asking his permission for significant events in our relationship, calling him throughout our relationship to "check-up," seeking his advice during our relationship, how he spoke about him and to him
- (marriage) how he speaks of him and to him, still seeking advice and counsel from him

Seeks counsel
- (dating) seeking counsel from certain professors at school about theology and from Mr. Peterson, Michelle, and Coach Shaw about our relationship
- (marriage) from professors at seminary, from close friends, from guys in our Gospel Community Group, from our parents

Diligent in studying
- (dating) we had "study dates" in the library, at Krispy Kreme, and even on Skype when we were apart during our engagement
- (marriage) being faithful to study even when he's tired from working, even if it means staying up late or getting up early

Good teacher
- (dating) sharing the Gospel at the rescue mission and at the Student Mission Fellowship, how he explained things to me when I didn't understand them
- (marriage) growing sooooo much in his teaching ability through teaching children's Sunday school, seeing the excitement he has for helping others understand Greek and Hebrew

 Before I knew Matt, I had never known anyone so focused on the Gospel. He has helped me grow in my understanding of it and how it applies to all aspects of my life
- (dating) in our talks about theology, personal devotions, Bible classes, etc.
- (marriage) reminding me of Gospel truths and how they can and should affect how I live

Heart for the unsaved
- (dating) sharing the Gospel with his high school friends, bringing tracts when we visited NYC with a group of friends
-(marriage) desire to share the Gospel at work, encouraging me to open up our home to others

- (dating) in our relationship, at the Student Missions Fellowship, as an RA, and respected by many on campus
- (marriage) in our marriage, as a Sunday school teacher

- (dating) cleaning up the dishes when we visited a friend's house for the NCAA, getting chairs for others who needed them when visiting someone
- (marriage) bringing Gatorade and medicine to a sick friend, giving friends a ride to work, watching Ann for me so I can attend an SWI class, running errands for me without complaining, warming the car for Ann and I

- (dating) when I told him I was scared to do something (speaking in front of people, etc.), he encouraged me with confidence that I would be able to do it, praying for me, sharing verses with me for things I was struggling with
- (marriage) praying for me, reminding me of Truth when I worry or am discouraged, holding me when I cry, reminding me of the Gospel when I doubt, sharing with me evidences of grace he sees in my life, making me laugh, writing me letters, surprising me by doing the dishes

- (dating) not exalting himself, confession of sin
- (marriage) humble confession of sin and asking for forgiveness without making excuses, his complete honesty with me

And there are so many more qualities and examples I could add to my "Matt list."
I had written a quote in the back of that journal that I had heard from an older, wiser woman...
"It is easy to follow a good man."

And I have come to see how very true that is.

But I know that ALL of the goodness in my Matt is from God. 
I am thankful for His work in Matt's life and his promise in Philippians 1:6...

"being confident of this, 
that he who began a good work in you 
will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

I can't wait to see all that Jesus is going to do in my Matt!
Happy Valentine's Day, my Matt.

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