The other morning I left for work early. It was still dark outside, a lazy Saturday not yet [dawn], and everyone in my house was still asleep. Even the birds rested on, evidenced by the still, quiet surroundings as I made my way to our vehicle to take the 30-minute commute to my job. I was weary as I trudged to the truck, coffee thermos in hand, and I tried to mentally prepare myself for the 12-hour workday that lay ahead.
I always prayed for my family before I left, depositing a kiss on their collective foreheads, and usually they never roused. But this day my husband’s eyes had blinked rapidly, he had grabbed my hand and squeezed it tightly, then whispered a goodbye and love you, dear. As I drove to work I thought of my family, and I tried to inspire myself to be more enthusiastic for the day ahead.
Yet even as I walked into work half an hour later I still felt weary. It was a deep fatigue that persisted within me, one that is often the case when making your way through the everyday mundane walk that is life. I settled down to my work computer, I took another pull of lukewarm coffee from my cup, and I swiped my badge to gain access to the upcoming workload for the day. When suddenly I felt my phone vibrate within my pocket, unexpectedly I realized, for not many people contacted me at such an early hour. I pulled out the cell and was surprised to see a message from my spouse. He must not have gone back to sleep after I left, though he could have.
“I sure do love you and I’m so so very proud of what God has done in your life! I am very blessed to be your husband! Have a good day my Amazing, super sexy wife. 😘”
I grinned immediately at the charming and complimentary words, but mostly I smiled at the sentiment, at the fact that he had thought to send me a pick-me-up when I needed it the most, yet expected it the least. He was forever my encourager.
I have received many gifts in my life from people who loved me. Everything from stuffed animals, chocolates, bouquets of roses, and diamonds, of course. There’s something special about pulling off the silk ribbon on a tiny, felt box, and looking excitedly upon the shining bauble within. But I have come to discover that the best tokens of affection cannot be bought, they don’t come from a store shelf or even online. The best gifts are the ones from the heart, the gifts of sacrifice, the tokens of time taken to share your heart with the person you admire, and the forethought to remind them of how special they are in your sight.
My husband had this wonderful talent of knowing when I needed encouragement the most. He paid attention to my moods and he cultivated my spirit. I imagine most of us think about the person we love throughout the day, but then allow the moment to pass. I’ll tell them I love them, later, we think. My spouse? He tells me right then. The fact is, I know that he loves me. And he knows that I know! Yet he still says it. He takes the time to be intentional, and to share with me how special I am in his eyes. This is the best gift he could ever give me. It is priceless in our marriage.
On this morning his thoughtful message made me smile, but it also energized me for the day. A heart driven by love and appreciation is a wondrous thing. An encouraged spouse walks a little lighter and shines a little brighter, the ripple effect in action. In turn, I also give my husband the gift of my affection multiplied. We encouraged one another each day, and we took the time to tell each other how much we cared. I knew my husband appreciated me, but hearing him say it was an extra gift in my life. The best gift.