Blessed is the Man

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; 
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Psalm 34:8

We’re celebrating my husband’s birthday this weekend!  His name is Ed and he’s turning fifty-six.  He is a very special fellow and I’d like to honor him today.

As a young boy, Ed was possessed of a sensitive heart and cheerful disposition.  His playful sense of humor earned him the “class clown” moniker.  He always took a special joy in making people laugh.  He rode his bike, played combat in the woods, read Batman comic books, and eagerly looked forward to his weekly boy scout meeting.  As a youth he learned of the Lord in the Lutheran Church, but, there were special moments in his childhood when he felt the powerful presence of the Lord overwhelm him, and he knew he was loved.  His mother was a tremendous influence in his young life.  He would have probably made it proudly to Eagle Scout, had tragedy not forced his life to take an unexpected turn.  
 Returning from a fun filled week at scout camp, he was greeted with the somber news that his beloved mother had been killed in a car crash, leaving him alone with a father fraught with addictive habits, and a two year old baby sister.  
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, 
And, whose hope is the LORD.
Jeremiah 17:7
His grandfather was the strong man of the family, and the man my husband credits with teaching him how to be a “gentleman”.   He would need to grow up very quickly – the joys of his childhood faded away, now that his mother – the soul of his home – had been taken.  Turbulent times followed him into young adulthood where he came to a zealous knowledge of the Lord and sought to minister the Word.  His zeal was youthful, indeed, and largely absent of mentors. 
Oh! For the Elijah’s to step forth and raise up Elisha’s!  
Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.
Psalm 84:5 
But, he had set his heart like flint to know the Lord, and though the path was bumpy with many blockages along the way, not a thing was wasted by the Lord in the training pilgrimage.  As Ed sought after the Lord, he settled into a career as a bookseller.  That occupation, you know, has becoming obsolete.  In the fray of e-books, and corporate giants selling a plethora of commercial-driven tomes, the genial bookseller of old who knew every author, every book, title, and location in the stacks, and who knew exactly how to put the right book in the right hand – that job description doesn’t exist anymore.  

But, my Ed was the best out there in his time, and the go-to man for all things books and reading.  He had a passion for reading and literacy believing that if children were readers they would be able to read the Bible.  Read so God’s Word might be opened to you!  Parents regularly sought him out to help engage their children as readers at the bookstore.  In fact, that’s where I first met him, some thirty plus years ago – spending my baby-sitting money on books in the store where he worked.  His creative management of the store made it a hub of happening literacy and literary events, and friendly conversation.  Everybody knew Ed –  “the bookstore guy”.

Praise the LORD!  
Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, 
Who delights greatly in His Commandments.
Psalm 112:1

He knew one book intimately, though – and with a passion.  The Bible.  He was a Bible expert who could quote translation, publisher, date, and scholars, while explaining all the little this’s and that’s setting the various editions and translations apart so as to make sure the right Bible was sold to the right individual.  He has always taken great joy in placing a Bible into the hands of another.
“There’s GOLD  in that there Bible!  YEE-Haw!”
Clementine Jones

My husband took his love of all things Wild West, coupled with his gift for weaving clever, humorous tales, and invented an alter ego named, Clementine Jones, a gold prospector “digging for gold in God’s Word.”  He became a very popular children’s ministry teacher, traveling as a special speaker to churches throughout our South Jersey region.  
But, home-front issues continued to plague him.
 
In the final two decades of the 20th century, each of us stumbled along our way – on separate paths – growing in our passion and desire to serve the Lord – yet with plenty of trials to test.  Each of us found ourselves in marriages, and with children. Each of us were forced to weather the betrayal of an unfaithful spouse and the pain of divorce.  Each of us had to endure “back-side-of-the-desert” times as we sought to make sense of it all, and find our place and ministry in our callings.
Blessed is the man 
Who trusts in the LORD, 
And, whose hope is the LORD.
For he shall be like a tree
Planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots
By the river,
And will not fear when  heat comes
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious 
In the year of drought
Nor will cease from yielding fruit

Jeremiah 17:7-8 
God is faithful.  Droughts end.  Fruitfulness happens.  In our respective losses, we each committed our ways to Him and our desires to be married and in ministry.  At the time, we lived in two different states.  He prayed for a wife.  I prayed for a husband.

One day, the Lord answered our prayers.  I eventually moved back to my home-state and hometown where he actually was still working at that little bookstore hub aforementioned.  A casual chat over a C.S. Lewis book opened wide the doors of our prayer closets and the Lord introduced us to each other – the intended we had been praying for.  Top on each of our lists for the ideal spouse:  To be a man and woman of God.

Currently, we celebrate eight joyful years together, serving the Lord with gladness and creativity.  Ed and I pool together our storytelling talents on occasion and perform together in his Wild West Clementine Jones shows – I’m his wife – Wanda Word-Wise Jones.  He digs for the gold – I wear “pearls of wisdom.”  God is sooo good!


Though his daily working life revolves around lots of books, my husband is a man of largely one Book – The Bible.  He actually collects Bibles as though there were a prize for the one who has the most!  Then, he delights in just giving them away.  He’s something of an expert on the history of the Bible, and continues to read extensively on the subject.  

Bless him, Lord!  My husband is a man of the Word – rising early each morning for coffee, study, and prayer.  Then, he bustles about the house doing chores so that when I awake – there’s nothing left for me to do except enjoy my quiet time and ready myself for the work-day.  In his workplace, he is the guy who gets things done.  He works for a corporate big box bookstore now – but it’s not the same as his old independent bookselling job.  However, his cheerful and gracious manner with customer and co-worker remains.  The Lord has given him a mission field, there, with many opportunities to share the Word and wisdom. 

He serves our home church as a children’s Bible teacher, bringing the Word to life through dramatic storytelling.  I am always so blessed to watch him prepare his lessons with childlike enthusiasm.  

And, the Lord blesses the man.


I honor my husband today, as one who has beaten back the darkness and embraced the Light.  He approaches each day in humility, with a servant’s heart.  His servant’s heart has been the under-girding to me in the ministry and callings on my life.  

The Bible teaches that Christ is the Head of the church – the source of life – and in the same way, the man is the head of the woman – the source of life.  My husband is that to me and more.  A man of God.  I could desire none else for joy in marriage and ministry.

Thanking the Lord today in celebration of my husband’s birthday!   I love you – Happy Birthday, sweetie!

I am sharing this testimony tribute in honor of my husband’s birthday this weekend with Charlotte and Ginger at Spiritual Sundays.

 

Comments

  1. OH, Kathryn, praise the LORD for what he’s done in your husband’s life. You are truly blessed,
    Kathy

  2. Kathryn,

    What a beautiful tribute to your husband! God bless you both!

    Deanna

  3. Ed is such a dear influence upon me. A man you can talk to for five minutes and know exactly where his strength comes from is rare, but Ed leaves no doubt as to the conduit of his grace. Happy Birthday!

  4. Beautiful! Beautiful. I loved reading this post of adoration. God is so good.

    Blessings, Debbie

  5. love the post and the pics are fabulous…wishing Ed a huge happy b-day…..He sounds like such a great guy

  6. Happy Birthday to a man who obviously is a man after God’s own heart, and quite frankly would be a man after mine as well. I feel the same passion that he does for books, and for THAT book, the greatest words ever written.

    I loved hearing your story of God’s plan for your roads to cross. May you and he continue to be richly blessed!

  7. What a wonderful tribute to your husband. I can tell you love him dearly. God has taken the ashes of your lives and turned them into something beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing. ~ Abby

  8. Thank you, Kathryn, for sharing this story with us. It is a blessing. Happy Birthday to your husband! Twyla

  9. I am humbled and touched by your post. Your writing is amazing. I can just feel your emotions in the words as they touch my heart. Blessings to you and ED!!

  10. Thank you for sharing a lovely story about Ed. You are blessed. Thanks for sharing your love of blogging too!

  11. Glory to God! A wonderful tribute to your husband and witness to the power of God.

  12. All goodness! Happy birthday, Ed!!

  13. I commented yesterday, but it didn’t post. Happy Birthday to Ed. It’s refreshing in these times to know a Godly man like him! You are blessed to share the same passions and enjoy such rewarding and fruitful work experiences together! Blessings to you both!

  14. What a beautiful love story and what a jewel your husband is. I hope he had a very happy birthday. Thank you for sharing with us.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

  15. Wow, what a great tribute to your hubby… I remember seeing him in the bookstore…in the mall… the only time I got to know my cousin, is it?

    Hope you all are doing well.

  16. I love the birthday tribute to your husband – so beautifully written and so true.
    Ed and I are related by marriage.
    Thank you for your very kind comments on my post. I don’t live there anymore but I cherish my Garden Road memories.

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