Well, Well, Well...
My husband is a well of encouragement. On my blog, I've nicknamed him ‘Mr. Barnabas’ after the biblical character, Barnabas, whose nickname was ‘son of encouragement’.
And here’s why.
I’m not sure there is much of anything he’s more committed to than encouraging me, his wife. Moreover, he encourages everyone he knows and everyone he meets: his daughters, his family, his congregations, his staff, his volunteers, his bosses, strangers, acquaintances and friends. Truly, that seems to me the very essence of how he is created to image God in this world: to lend courage to others; to give support, confidence and hope to those around him. If he was a dictionary definition it would read as follows:
1. Cheerful and kind human being who tenaciously notices your finest qualities and/or potentiality and comments on them with praise and gratitude whether by letter, e-mail or effusive speech
2. Man who asks many questions to get to know you and your interests whereby he can lend courage; embolden your dreams; and spur you on to your highest performance
3. Husband - my biggest fan; truest friend and most formidable well of encouragement: consistently and persistently boasting of my strengths and lending me his ‘glass half full’ of courage
So, I notice when there’s drought; when the well threatens to run dry. I know when he is parched from giving, giving, giving kind words, meaningful actions — lots and lots of courage to others and yet, little rain falls on the desert-like soil he tends. I notice when his worries and his cares outrun his commitment. It’s not that he defies the very definition of himself, rather—who encourages the encouragers? Who provides water to the well? Who carries buckets of relief to the flames of discouragement that lick at the heart of us all? Even the ones given to great stores of encouragement, inner fortitude and strength? Who remembers to repair the well as long as it still produces fresh water for everyone else to be refreshed?
I hope it’s me.
I hope I can share his name.
I hope I can be Mrs. Barnabas to him for even a fraction of the moments he is my rock, my encouragement, my well and my strength.
I hope my commitment to granting him courage, emboldening him, and spurring him on to more will match even a smidge of his faithfulness to me. I hope my tenacious noticing of his strengths, his dreams, and his potentiality defines me as much as it implicitly defines him.
I hope I’m a well. Not a shallow stream. Never running dry in my love and devotion and commitment to Mr. Barnabas.
He’s more than a blog nickname.
He’s my husband, a well of encouragement. I’ve borrowed his courage so many times I feel like my loan officer is collecting 32 years of over drafted payments. But I made a deal with my bookie,
And it’s worth the gamble,
I’m going to make him a deal—
I’m going to build a well, too.
And we will walk hand in hand,
Borrowing courage one from the other
I now present to you
Mr. and Mrs. Barnabas,
Wells, deep with encouragement.
This piece was prompted by the word 'commitment' as part of a writing challenge I participated in May, 2022. Immediately, wedding vows came to my mind--the absolute most important, sacred and intimate commitment between two human beings. My husband has always taken those vows seriously--as a holy calling. If nothing else, he is committed. Above everything else, he is committed to my well-being and seeing me thrive in my endeavors, strengths, talents and gifts.
In our earliest days of dating, he affirmed my writing. Thirty-three years after those first poem renderings about our love (and infatuation) with each other, there is still no one I would rather write sweet nothings and sentimental somethings about.
He's a great man. If you have been touched my him in any way, you are lucky. I'm the only one who gets to be his wife and I'm eternally blessed.
We are committed, together, to this blog thing and seeing men and women healed by the power of Jesus. We are committed, together, to encourage those we touch. If there is anyone in your life that is a source of encouragement to you, find a way to encourage them today, too. Be well. Be a well.