The last few weeks the news has been filled with some really heavy, and frankly, really heartbreaking stuff. From reading yesterday that China has prevented 400 million births over the last three decades to horrific stories of American teens being trafficked into the sex trade, my mind has been inundated with thoughts that range from frustration to sadness to helplessness.
It is harsh realities such as these that make me want to crawl into bed and never come out.
But alas, every morning I have a little one babbling from his crib at around 7am.
So one must get up.
When I need a bit of encouragement that all is not in shambles in this world and that redemption starts with one person at a time, I have to look no further than the man who gets up with me each morning to feed the dogs, make the coffee, and give our little one his bottle.
In a world where Jerry Sandusky and certain Catholic priests have tarnished America's view on men that care for children and teenagers, my husband has steadfastly continued to invest in the lives of young men and women.
As I heard TD, our "son" explain to someone the other day- "I had been going to the youth group before Brian ever got there and people would say nice things to us. When Brian got there, he said some of the same stuff, but then.....he actually followed through with it, and we started to realize he meant it and that he actually listened to us and cared about us. Brian was different. We knew he meant what he said."
Brian has invested in countless lives of the teens around us. For some kids, it's just a handshake and asking how football practice is going. That's all they need. For others, it's walking through the rough parts of life with them as they navigate through parents divorcing, the death of a friend, and school issues.
And some young men, he has to play the role of Dad, because they have never had one or lost their own too early.
What he teaches them is invaluable. It takes time and it takes patience.
*How to respect adults and to respect themselves.
*How to look someone in the eye when speaking to them.
*How to fill out a job application.
*How to treat a woman.
He has had countless conversations with teens about dreaming and having a passion in life. About choosing to not live in their past, but use their story to impact their future for the better.
There are no immediate rewards in this ministry. Brian tirelessly fights for these kids. He's taken three of them to get their driver's license. He's taken some to medical clinics because there is no one else to take them. He's well aware that sometimes people think it's sketchy to see a young, married man taking a teenage boy to the health clinic.
He is compassionate and caring, but at the same time, he demands better from them, because he knows it is in them.
Brian does not do this because it's his job. He doesn't do it for accolades. It's a way of life for him.
He is intentionally raising up men in our community. Helping them understand what being a man is and what character and integrity mean in life. He wants these guys to comprehend the true definition of what it means to be a husband and a father.
My husband is a constant encouragement to me that there is good in the world and that change doesn't happen often in mass quantities.
By watching him, I've learned that change and growth happens in the everyday decisions we make to care about other people.
Now, I'm not saying this man is a saint. He drinks the milk straight from the carton (gag), he still hasn't cooked me dinner from losing a bet three years ago, and when he shaves his beard, the scruff never quite makes it into the trash can.
Aside from that, he's a keeper.
I am so proud to call him my husband and proud of the choices he makes every day.
I waited 31 years for this man and they were well worth the wait.