He rises in the early hours of the morning. Toes touch the cold floor, back creaking upward after a long night. He breathes, bracing himself for the day, surveying his battlefield. Planning the strategy. Calculating his moves. No one prepared him for this. No one gave him the plans, the skills, the basic training. He learned this part by committing. By investing his heart into uncomfortable places.
He stands tall. Available. Sure. His confidence comes not from his experience or his own might, but from the Mighty One who stirs in his spirit. All his senses are alert and awake. Too many men have fallen into slumber, a trap of complacency and abdication. Not on his watch. Though the task is grueling and the road one of sacrifice, he will step up. He will lead. The enemy will stay far from his camp.
Eyes on the horizon, he dutifully protects his own. These gifts in his hands will not slip through the cracks. They laugh and play in the tall grass, safe under the watchful eye of their father. Joy spreads across his face at their vibrance and growth. And though he trekked miles to find this humble place, he would go a thousand more for them. Here in the lush meadow he has built his house; a short walk to life-giving streams, sheltered beneath the tall trees. It is not the flashiest or the finest. It is not set on a hill for all to see. Modestly it exists on the edge of beauty, but it offers him every advantage for the things that matter. A good place to do the fine work of raising warriors.
And a perfect place to keep her heart. Daily he fights for her. Cherishes her. Provides a soft place for her soul to rest. Attentively he seeks her out. He knows the deep value of her wisdom, the beauty in her spirit, the restoring power of her smile. And though it costs him dearly, he would stretch himself to any length for her. No price is too high for her heart. Because in their harmony is a never-ending depth of enjoyment.
But beyond their home the shadows loom long. Still streams can flash flood in an instant, and he readies himself for the days ahead. He prepares and trains, scanning the edges for dangers. Derailment results in disaster, and he has learned that lesson. And so each day when he rises, he leans into the day with intentional respect. With valor. With a prayer for beastly boldness to defend, restore, and show up.
He is not just a good dad. Not just a nice husband. Not just a driven guy who works hard to make something of himself.
He is a man who invites grace into his own heart to disrupt him from himself. From his failures and successes. His downfalls and his dreams. A man who seeks truth, and with courage, falls to his own knees, humbly accepting the radiance the Maker is abundantly pouring into his soul.
This is who I see. My true love in the hands of the Master.