To My Lover Girl: 8 Reasons I Don’t Deserve Her

 

My lover
Yeah, she’s hot.

1. She is deeply in love with the person of Jesus Christ; More than she’ll ever love me (that’s a good thing). When I first met her she had an irresistible contagious quality about her walk and talk. Confession: I’m a bit jealous over my wife’s intimacy with another dude…..named Jesus.

2. She’s seen me naked numerous times and hasn’t laughed or thrown up once…as far as I know.

3. She’s a hot little red-headed senorita. I’m a chubby balding white dude.

4. She makes me laugh. She’s one of the few people in the world who can actually make me laugh out loud. If making fun of people on TV were a degree we’d be black belt. As a side note, she has a GREAT laugh (too glorious to describe).

5. She’s an excellent mother to our two sons. She would literally punch a grizzly bear in the throat if she felt a threat to her boys. Her “boys” includes me too.

6. She’s a hard worker and savvy business lady. Along with full-time mommy duties she’s building her own business to help out with the bills. As a natural salesperson she could sell rehab to Lindsey Lohan.

7. She puts up with my childishness. I get grumpy when I’m hungry. I’m not a good handy manny. I watch Spongebob with Josiah when I should be paying the Comcast bill.

8. She’s my wife. My help mate. My covenant partner. My little lover girl.

I thank God He delights to give us what we don’t deserve.

Our “first dance” wedding song, still relevant today:

Bryan Daniels

Sister Wives?! Some Men Are Gluttons For Punishment…

Kody Brown, of the reality TV show “Sister Wives,” (on its fourth season) is a glutton for punishment. Most men have a hard enough time keeping one woman pleased. But estrogenic attacks, menopausal mercilessness, and wedding dress drama are multiplied by four for Brown.

Kody Brown of Sister Wives
With those golden locks, this dude could have Four-HUNDRED sister wives…

You’re the One…er…Two…No…Three..Uh..Four for me!

The TLC hit show “Sister Wives”, about a polygamous family living in Utah, is a bit of a cultural phenomenon. Along with four sister wives, the family boasts 16 total children. This show is unique because it quickly brings into public focus some pertinent Biblical questions.

The Browns are fundamentalist Mormons. Though the mainstream modern Mormon Church formally rejects the polygamous lifestyle, it is a matter of record that the founding patriarchs and early followers of the LDS church were polygamous. Joseph Smith and his followers exercised what they considered their religious freedom.

I am ill equipped to have a “legal” opinion on polygamy laws in Utah. So I won’t.

But

When personal revelations (supposedly aided by heaven-sent golden goggles and golden tablets) become the standard for interpreting the bible…weirdness is likely to prevail. Remember, everyone has a theology, so everyone should care about thoughtful exegesis of the biblical text.

And before we make an obvious allusion to Old Testament Patriarch polygamy let me say this:

Just because the Bible mentions a sin does not mean it permits it.

The Bible is a very frank historical record of the total spectrum of human sinfulness. Adultery, homosexuality, greed, pride and a litany of sins are shown in Scripture through many living illustrations.

It gives me comfort that a lion/giant slaying king like David was a bit of a scumbag and needed grace as much as I do (read Psalm 51).

All of these stark realities are simply descriptive of life as it is, not prescriptive, or commanded, ways of living.

In the bible, polygamy is never shown in a positive light. In the very beginning, we see one man (Adam) and one woman (Eve) as the pre-eminent model for mankind (Genesis 2:18).

The first biblical character to be a polygamist, Lamech, was considered to be an evil man (Genesis 4:19-24). A host of “Sister Wives” was the beginning of the end of wise Solomon’s reign (1 Kings 11:4). The disaster of polygamy is illustrated by Lamech and Adah and Zillah in Genesis 4:19–24, Esau and Mahalath and other wives in Genesis 28:6–9, and Jacob and Leah and Rachel in Genesis 29:15–30. Even though some godly patriarchs took on polygamous lifestyles, never once was their decision considered good or godly.

In the New Testament, godly leaders must be men who are committed to only one woman in marriage (1 Timothy 3:2, 12).

The Tragic effect on “Sister Wives” (IMHO)*

Women of Scripture who are involved in polygamous marriages are frequently shown to feel insecure, jealous, and untrusting in their relationships. This was the tragic case with Abram, Sarai and Hagaar. We also witness this in Jacob, Leah and Rachel (Genesis 29:15-30).

In the show, this seems to be the case with Meri, who was the first and is the only legally married wife to Kody Brown. Meri is honest about her misgivings and struggles with the “plural” lifestyle. Throughout the first season she is a tumultuous bundle of conflicting emotions. She takes the marriage of Kody to Robyn harder than any of the other wives, even though she was the driving force in setting the two up.

Even after living roughly twenty years within the plural marriage she signed up for, she is still wounded afresh by Kody’s insistence of adding to their family. She feels insufficient and abandoned as Kody goes through a new butterfly Honeymooning stage with a different woman.

The other wives joke they are glad that Kody finally got himself a younger “trophy wife” in Robyn. The nervous laughter betrays their angst. Robyn is younger, prettier and skinnier than the other older wives. Instead of the man being ashamed of his mistress, this kind of polygamy brings her home and makes her a part of the family.

This is a nice family

I’m genuinely impressed with how they make this touchy situation work.

“Sister Wives” brings to light some incredibly provocative relational dynamics. And to the family’s credit, they handle most of it with a spirit of cordiality and sensitivity to one another. These are caring people who have chosen to put themselves into an untenable circumstance for the sake of their religious tradition.

For me, “Sister Wives” should evoke sympathy from watchers much more than condemnation.

But though the Browns seem like a nice Christian family; in the end, polygamy is neither nice to women nor is it a real “Christian” choice for marriage.

I could also make a compelling case for polygamy being cruel to men. But some men, like that lovable Kody Brown, are just gluttons for punishment.

 Does any of my “Sister” Readership have an opinion?

Bryan Daniels

*addendum: broken monogamies are a much greater scourge on the sanctity of marriage in our society than polygamy will ever be.

My Summer Sabbatical (Follow Me)

As you may have noticed, I’ve taken a sabbatical from consistent blogging. As family time, summer part time jobs and football camps have taken precedent I’ve taken an extended leave from this blog. I really don’t “feel” like taking the time to contribute any coherent consistent blog thoughts on God, family, and life in general.

Focusing my time on leading and loving my wife and two sons seems like the best choice right now.

I’ll be back in commission at some point. I don’t know when for sure. But the itch to write rarely leaves me for long.

Meanwhile, I’ll devote more free time to reading this summer rather than writing. I want to keep a steady balanced diet of fiction and nonfiction works. First up is Jared C. Wilson’s Christological examination “Your Jesus Is Too Safe.” Next, I plan to finally finish off Leif Enger’s “Peace Like a River.” I’ll see where the summer wind blows me after those (I have a slight addiction of purchasing books I never get around to reading).

I’d also be honored if you follow me on Twitter. I may not have the mental fortitude right now to daily blog, but I can manage to tweet a few daily random blurbs in 140 characters or less. Probably half of my tweets are serious theological musings, the other half trite tongue in cheek snarks about current events. Excuse my sarcasm in advance.

Thank you guys for your continued involvement and encouragement on my little corner of the blogosphere. I’ll see you around soon.

The grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you always.

Bryan Daniels

Modern Marriage Covenant: Honoring Christ or the Kardashians?

All of us are fallen, and all of us are very hard to live with – CS Lewis

Everyone has their natural born idiosyncrasies and foibles.

But these pet peeves become heightened exponentially when you throw two people in a full-time living situation.

When I was in college my personal mentor once told me that dating was a lot like the job interviewing process: Much of what you see is a front, and you better really like what you see, because it definitely not going to look or act better after you’re married.

I’m always amazed with some young couples who lead an unhealthy and tumultuous dating relationship and yet continue to glibly march towards a marriage covenant: As if marriage is going to magically dissipate all the issues between them.  Rather, it is probably going to exacerbate them.

Marriage is when men and women put on their big boy and girl pants and panties and resolve to do work in their relationship. Mix in some massive bills/debt and precious little kids pooping, crying, and bouncing around and this marriage thing is probably the hardest endeavor a human can undertake in their lifetime.

Marriage isn’t necessarily about keeping some teenage infatuation “loving feeling” going, it’s about keeping a sworn covenant to the death for the glory of God. The marriage covenant has ancient, even eternal, origins. This is a covenant that reflects the unbroken commitment Jesus (The Bridegroom) has for His church (bride) (Ephesians 5). This undying commitment came “before the foundations of the world.” Which makes it all the more tragic when modern marriages break apart at the seams: Families are broken AND the reflected image of Christ and His church has been effectively spat upon.

I’m not going to get into the issue too deep here, but: When heterosexual unions are broken and maimed for “differences” in taste like they are in America, homosexual union supporters rightly shake their head in disgust. Let’s be honest and repentant about our negligence and failures in this matter. As Alistair Begg has said, “Until the church learns how to cry, it loses any right to shout.”

Even though my wife, Jessica, is my beautiful best friend I fall short of the biblical standard for husbands. Yes I fall short, but I try my best not to fall stagnant. So I do get on my wife’s nerves when I don’t correctly fold and hangup my used towels, and she gets underneath my skin when she leaves the toilet seat down : ). We’re working on it. But we both have a higher vision than ourselves in this covenant, and it spurns us toward expressing mercy and grace when neither party is deserving of it.

Marriage isn’t meant to look like “the Notebook” or a Kardashian reality show. In marriage, we have the weighty opportunity to display Christ and His unconditional love for the church. If we’re married or plan on getting married at some point, let’s put on our working boots and big boy pants and fight, pray, and forgive in order to honor that goal.

Bryan Daniels

Happy Fourth Birthday My Josiah and Practical Mother’s Day Gifts

My oldest, Josiah, is four years old today. We’ll celebrate at his Papa and Mickey’s house with some of his closest church school friends with tractor rides, slip n slides, jumpy jumps and lots of cake.

Josiah is one of my only earthly joys. When our eyes met for the first time in the delivery room four years ago it was love at first sight for me. I met a tender bundle of helplessness and I knew instantly I would die and kill for him.

Now he’s into big trucks, big tractors, football, Power Rangers and Transformers. In fact, I have him convinced that the lead Transformer character is named after his dad: Optimus “Bryan”.  Children truly are a blessing from God, and I start every night’s bedtime prayer with him so as not to forget, “Thank you Jesus for this boy, he’s our precious lover joy….”

As tomorrow coincides with Mother’s Day I asked Jessica what she wanted from the boys. She has worked tirelessly the past week organizing the birthday party, building her own cosmetic business, and keeping the household afloat. She said with little hesitation: “Not flowers or candy. Do the dishes and laundry for me.”

Well, I’m about half-finished with that gift as of writing this, so I better get back to work.

Peace and grace peeps and remember to be in the Lord’s house this Lord’s Day.

Bryan Daniels

God Uses Toilet Seats For His Glory

My wife, Jessica, and I are total opposites in many ways.

She’s bold and overtly passionate about her faith. I am unassuming and a bit more contemplative. She’s emotionally driven. I’m more intellectually driven (we’re both trying to be more Holy Spirit driven). I’m a diehard college football fan. She wouldn’t care if college football…died. She takes the bull by the horns. I try to talk the bull out of its anger. I lean Reformed, she leans Wesleyan.

But we are best friends.

Last Sunday was our six-year wedding anniversary (I remembered it before she did!). We are both awestruck by the way God has blessed the fruit of our love with two healthy happy boys. As my beautiful helpmeet, she challenges and encourages me in ways I cannot completely explain.She has been very gracious and longsuffering with my chronic selective hearing condition that flares up every time something breaks or needs fixin around the house. : )

Our culture has cast a certain level of utopic sheepishness on the topic of relationships. Match making, whether virtual or personal, is a multimillion dollar business. Through mags, music and the movies the entertainment industry narrows the central aim of human existence into this one uninspiring sterile vision:

Finding “the right one.”

We’re obsessively looking for our “perfect match” the one who “completes us” or the one who is the “best fit.” The respective matchmakers of the world make bank by selling the idea that romantic relationships should be predicated around common interests (if you’ve happened to find your mate online more power to you!). Christians should not be so quick to assume this societal norm in their relationships (especially marriage).

I can say with a sincere level of certainty that God does not necessarily want us to find a perfect match according to our shared interests. Marriage isn’t for those still stuck in fairy tales and Nicholas Sparks novels. On the biblical basis of Romans 8, God does not just want you to find the person to make you happy in a fleeting sense, rather God wants you to find the person who will make you more Christlike in the eternal sense.

The vision for marriage is the same vision for the whole Christian life:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; (Romans 8:28-29)

All things work together for your good. We love to claim Romans 8:28 on those bad days where life punches us in the throat. But what exactly is God’s definition of “good” here? The Bible conveniently answers in the next verse:  God uses everything in our life, to make us more and more Christlike. Romans 8:29

I would guess the “all things” being worked would include romantic-less marriages, foreclosures, unthankful spouses, sharp tongued wives and fat lazy husbands.

If married, God has blessed us with a mate that will help fulfill His destiny for us from the foundation of the world: To make us more humble, loving, serving, and bold like His Son.

If single, don’t go after who makes you comfortable or who has the most in common with you. Rather ask, “Will this person challenge me and help conform me to the image of Christ?”

As God uses our spouse to chip away our selfishness and sinfulness it doesn’t feel pleasant at the time. But through the perpetual cycle of sinning against one another and forgiving one another each mate becomes progressively more and more Christ like through the years.

Our spouses aren’t just there to make us happy.

There is something far weightier happening within each marriage. Our spouse is there to be a blessed hammer of God that knocks off and shatters the remnants of the fallen nature still latent within us.

So let’s celebrate our spouses, and not just on anniversaries. Especially if they are the polar opposite of us. Especially if our relationship may contain those common marital annoyances, gripes, and heated toilet seat disagreements. With every irritation or squabble the very nature of Jesus is being formed in both parties.

And even if we do fall out of love we can’t fall out of covenant. Jesus married Himself to an unfaithful wife. The marriage covenant was signed and sealed with His own precious blood. This supernatural union between Christ and the church grants sinners the power to remain faithful to one another.

My wife and I love each other deeply. But our love pales in the light of the Father’s relentless love, which forgives and cleanses dirty adulterers, and molds them into the character of His own beloved Son.

No matter what, He’s working all things together for our good. He’s making us more and more like Christ.

Bryan Daniels

Real Marriage And Fairy Tales

My wife and I are reading “Real Marriage” by Mark and Grace Driscoll. We are only through the first two chapters and it has been a delightful experience thus far. I know there are many negative opinions and reviews regarding the work (I’ve read a few myself), but I have decided to reserve mine until I have read the book in full.

Also, I’d like to share a vid by Jefferson Bethke, the viral spoken word rock star who started an e-fire with “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus.” He actually has stated publicly that he wishes he would have tightened his language and theology down before airing that vid. As has been pointed out, Jesus didn’t hate all forms of “religion” and actually partook in “religious” acts while living on earth (going to the temple, enjoying the feasts, instituting the Lord’s Supper).  Bethke seems like a genuinely humble, God-loving bloke.

This vid on relationships and sex is stellar, and touches on what much of the “Real Marriage” book is about (Bethke goes to Driscoll’s church, Mars Hill):

If you’re married I hope you make Ephesians 5:25-32 the heart’s cry of your marriage. If you’re single don’t go chasing a Hagar in haste, God’s got every provision under control. And just maybe, you should read this: “Why You Should (Maybe) Stay Single.”

Bryan Daniels

Why You No Laugh At Me No More? (The Married Truth)

From the prestigious e-pages of the novelty weblog “Doghouse Diaries.” Single men, it’s the truth (can I get a married man witness?):

But the real truth is: I  don’t deserve such a caring, passionate, funny, and beautiful woman as my wife, Jessica Lee Daniels. I am daily amazed at how she loves and cares for her three little boys, er, two boys and one man.

I’m proud of her. On top of being my very best friend in the world and the most passionate person I know:

She’s a hardworking stay at home mom who gives meticulous care to our two sons, manages and organizes our household, and works as a booker for an insulation sales company from our home office/bedroom. Because of my lack of mechanical skill she probably stresses more about household maintenance than any wife should (to my shame I know). On top of all this, she has recently helped take on a weekly urban ministry in a rough local neighborhood AND is organizing and revamping the young children’s ministry at our church…and all this WITH dinner duty to boot.

I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to her for every unpicked-up towel, abandoned coffee cup, and loitering pair of shoes I have been responsible for. I have taken for granted her indescribable inherent worth time and time again. I have acted like a spoil rotten little boy more than once for long stretches in our marriage.

So I am thankful for God’s gracious provisional help-meet to me. She is a blessing and a compliment to my many weaknesses as a man. I am learning daily all the practical implications of loving a wife as “Christ loved the church” (Eph 5). I pray I am much better at it ten, twenty, and fifty years down the road of matrimony than I am now.

So men, give your wife a pass if she no longer laughs at your tired middle school level jokes anymore. They were never that funny to begin with and she was just probably giving you a mercy laugh anyways.

But still try to make her smile everyday. She deserves it for putting up with you.

I’m convinced of this: Above every great man is a better woman lifting him up to her level with prayer, service, and unconditional love.

I love you babe.

Bryan Daniels

Unto Us a Child is (about to be) Born…and WWE cage matches…

This coming up Monday (March 14th) Friday (March 11th) our little family will be welcoming a new addition to the world: Gideon Bryce Daniels will be induced at 4 AM (!) at Gulf Coast Medical where he will meet his two proud parents and one little unsuspecting brother face to face for the first time. We are both excited about the new baby boy God has entrusted us with as His stewards. Lately, Jessica has been doing the flight of the bumblebee in the frenetic process of renovating our backroom to Josiah’s new room. The ever relentless “nesting” phase has officially kicked in full force for my wife.

In light of this I have an announcement to make:   

I will try to give my undivided devotion for the next couple weeks to my wife, two sons, and their collective health (emotional, physical and spiritual). I know young families are the most tender, and a father’s special concern to his home’s well being is his primary responsibility behind serving God.

In the interest of my sanity (and also my wife’s), I will be attempting to keep my online activity to a minimum. That means a sabbatical for an indefinite period of time from writing new blogs. Fortunately, thanks to “Enabled by God,” I do have some decent blog material saved up so this site will continue to churn out some time honored pieces every few days. One of the innovative features of blogs nowadays is the ability to schedule posts so that you can be away from your computer and still maintain an active blog.

I assure you, if there is a slight lag to my response time via Facebook or blogging it’s not because I’m ignoring you.

So when life settles down a bit and routine is re-established I look forward to ranting again about Charlie Sheen, Westboro Baptist Church, the Cam Newton cult or the speeding turds in my neighborhood. Until then I got a wife who deserves the full attention of her husband, a little infant boy who will need some serious kisses, and a near three year old who will be primed for a daily WWE cage match.

God bless you all.

Bryan Daniels