Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Flowers (10/03/05)
TITLE: Please Don't Bring Me Flowers
By janet rubin
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Hearing my husband’s Jeep rattling into the driveway, him just returning from a shift at the firehouse, my stomach turned jittery. I sent up a speedy prayer. “Lord, please give me the right words. Let him say yes this year…”
Through the window, I spied Dave, carrying a dozen roses. My heart sank. The previous Easter I had asked him not to bring me flowers, had tried to explain that all I wanted was for him to come to church. Every year, he brought flowers and declined my invitation.
My daughters and I always went to Easter service alone. Afterwards, we’d pick up Dave and journey to his parents’ home, where Easter is only about ham and bunnies. Sitting at my mother-in-law’s fancy table, surrounded by unbelievers, I always felt like an alien.
This morning, I stood, holding my breath, as Dave came up the walk.
“Good morning honey,” I greeted.
“Mornin’ Babe. Happy Easter.” Dave leaned down to kiss me, and then whipped out the bouquet, and winked. “These are for you.”
I forced a smile.
I fixed Dave’s bowl of frosted flakes and asked about his shift, then cautiously made my inquiry. “Honey, do you think you’d like to come to church today?”
His smile vanished. “Babe, you know I don’t want to. That stuff isn’t for me.”
That stuff. My God, my church, my life… to Dave, it was “that stuff.” I was reminded of the spiritual void in our relationship. Being married to an unbeliever hadn’t seemed like a big deal at first. I had known the importance of marrying a Christian, but, intoxicated by love, my judgment had been impaired. Dave wasn’t a Christian, but he was a wonderful man. I thought that was enough.
Something changed that morning. Instead of crying on the way to church, I got angry. During the sermon, I let my mind wander to a place it hadn’t been before. My eyes rested on a single, Christian man across the aisle. What if I had married him? He would share my passion for God and church. The Holy Spirit nudged me. “No, child.” I ignored Him.
For the next two years, I invested myself more in church and less in my marriage. The distance between Dave and I grew. I never invited him to church again. Truthfully, I didn’t want him to come anymore. This was mine- my church, my family and Dave seemed a stranger.
Then, our marriage was crumbling. Fear gripped me. The possibility of divorce loomed over us. I hadn’t wanted a broken family. Terrified, I began to pray and God showed me my sin. I hadn’t loved Dave for who he was, hadn’t even really cared about his salvation. I had wanted him to get saved for me, so I could have a Christian husband! I was horrified as I saw the reality of my selfish motives. I determined to love Dave the way I should. “Lord, I’ve been a terrible wife. How will Dave ever come to You now?”
After I convinced Dave that our marriage was important to me, he reluctantly agreed to attend a Bible study on marriage. When we tried to do the first class’s homework, Dave admitted that it was confusing; He had never read the Bible before. “Could you give me an overview?” he asked. The following morning, I sent him off to work with a booklet by Billy Graham, outlining the plan of salvation.
Later, Dave told me he had read “Billy’s book” and prayed the prayer in the back. He said things hadn’t been going well with him in charge and he thought it was time to let “the Big Guy” take over. At the time I was certain he didn’t know what he was talking about, but two years later here we are: still married, happier than ever and worshipping God together. Amazing grace.
This year, Dave brought me flowers and came to church. Later, we ended up at his parents’. We sat in the midst of his lost family. Though we were aliens, we were now aliens together and partners in prayer for them.
In the center of the table were a dozen roses. When I complimented them, my mother-in-law smiled.
“Aren’t they lovely?” she agreed. “Marshall brings them to me every year.”
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