I remember that first time I saw Seth in the Student Center. His polo shirt and bright eyes, the way he exuded happiness, it sucked me in and dulled my usual attraction to the dark mysterious fellows who ignored the world and rocked a constant set of headphones. He was not a “bad boy.” It shocked me, and I thought to myself that it would be hilarious if I were so immediately attracted to him because he was supposed to be my husband. Indeed, he was.
After two months of dating, we were engaged. Now almost 12 years and four sons later, when he’s gone I sit up late, unable to sleep, and I consider how our love has stretched us, how I haven’t expected much of what we’ve become.
When we married, I married a young man that I loved, never questioning whether or not he would always care for me, but I never presumed he would surprise me at every turn. In my initial opinion, Seth wasn’t a man of mystery. He was a decided man of constants, and I was grateful for that after my youthful rebellion.
I thought I knew what our days together would look like. I thought I knew a lot of things.
Now, after miscarriages and marital unfaithfulness, after Africa and a halted adoption process, after homeschooling, downsizing, and becoming pregnant with my fourth son, now I see that I married the most mysterious, surprising man that I’ve ever encountered.
He’s forgiven when I didn’t deserve or expect it. He’s changed his mind about the things he was surest. His heart has melted and his feet stood firm in ways that have shaped our family better than I have capable imagination to want or predict.
I’m in the process of stepping back and watching this man who listens and obeys, who lets the mysteries of God run through him and about him.
I’m not good at following, but I’m learning that my husband cares so deeply for our family that he asks God hard questions. He asks and he waits for answers, and I’m writing this to say that following him has become the best decision I make, even (dare I say it?) when I don’t agree with his decisions.
Because God is faithful to lead surrendered hearts, I’m writing this to say that the “bad boys” aren’t the ones who will rock your world. My husband is the father I want for my children. He’s the greatest man of mystery. He’s the one whose story unfolds the best plot and the one who constantly surprises me.
Seth Haines, I want to follow you even when it’s hard. Thank you for loving me and our babies.
Now tell me about your man of mystery. How has God surprised you?
In what ways have you found yourself having to follow him even when your heart attitude or culture suggests that following is the weak way?