February 4, 2009
At the end of January, my husband, Tim, celebrated his birthday. I’m not telling how old! All I will say is that he robbed the cradle when he married me. Are you laughing? Anyway, I love giving gifts! It’s one way that I communicate love. I also like giving gifts that have symbolism. I think the Lord communicates through symbolism such as: the rainbow he set in the clouds as a symbol of His covenant between Himself and every living thing (Genesis 9:12-13); the tearing of the curtain in the temple (Mt 27:51; Mr 1:38; Lu 23:45); and the armor of God (Ephesians 6:14-17) just to name a few examples. As Tim’s birthday approached, I kept thinking of some type of symbolism I could use to express to him what I felt in my heart toward him. I was also looking for something that would not only encourage him but also communicate honor. I remembered two events, one being when my friend, Gwyn, presented her husband with a sword on a special occasion and the other, not long ago, when Tim presented our son-in-law with a sword on his wedding day. The sword Tim presented symbolized the fact that he was relinquishing the role he once played in Mary’s life as her protector and was now passing it on to Benjamin. After the wedding, many men, both young and old, commented to us how meaningful the presentation of the sword was. I don’t pretend to understand what the symbolism meant to all those men, but I do know that at one point in the ceremony I was concerned that Benjamin was more excited about the sword than he was his new bride. It was a definite distraction! Well, needless to say I decided to give Tim a sword for his birthday gift. Even though he never expressed a desire to have one, somewhere deep inside I knew this would be the symbolism I was looking for. After much research I decided on a particular sword that replicates the legendary sword used by St George, as well as King Arthur as they slew the dragons of their day. The highest achievement of a hero in medieval legend was the slaying of a dragon which typically represented evil. I had Tim’s name engraved in the sword along with the word “WARRIOR” next to it, as well as a favorite passage of Scripture. The following is the decree that I wrote and had framed to display with his sword:
This “Dragon Slayer Sword” is presented to Timothy Dale Russo as a symbol of his relentless determination in the spiritual battle of slaying the Dragon (evil) in his own life and assisting in the lives of others as well. I have observed his life from a front row seat and through that observation I have come to the conclusion that this man is a warrior of great perseverance. This day I pay tribute to his valor, courage, resoluteness, and triumph over all that opposes him. I applaud him for the bravery he possessed in times of severe weakness, to not retreat in defeat but endure and overcome, leaving a legacy for those who follow of strength, determination, and ultimately victory over evil. This man is a strong and noble man deserving of honor. May the symbolism of this sword always remind him of his past victories as well as his future duties. May he be encouraged to continue in this great battle against evil with a conviction to fight the good fight, to not grow weary in doing well, and to depend on the strength of His God in times of weakness. In medieval times, the highest achievement of a hero was the slaying of a dragon. I hereby state on this twenty-fourth day of January the year two thousand and nine, that Timothy Dale Russo is my hero! In conclusion I offer the words of the apostle Paul from II Corinthians chapter ten, verses three through six: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.”
My presentation went over well, and I got the desired affect. My husband was encouraged, honored, and inspired by his new gift. It will be an heirloom that will be passed on to the generations to come of the honor this wife felt for her husband. Now many of your husbands may have swords coming out the wazoo (whatever that is). But for my man, this was a special symbolism. I am encouraged as to how the Lord will show each one of us individually how to give our husbands the honor they need. This truly was what I call a “God Idea!”
February 3, 2009
At some point during the early morning of Jan. 29th my dear sweet friend Lydia Wheeler slipped into eternity. Who could have known that before a new day dawned this world would suffer such a great loss and the kingdom of heaven would gain such a jewel? I have known Lydia for what seems like a lifetime. She and her beautiful family waltzed into my life in a timely manor. I was a young mother with four young daughters and I was desperately looking for a role model. It only took a few visits with Lydia for me to know that she was a woman I could look to for wisdom and insight into the depth of God’s heart for me and my daughters. If ever there was a woman who modeled Biblical womanhood it was Lydia. In answer to the words of King Lemuel’s Mother “Who can find a virtuous wife?” I respond, “Spike Wheeler can!” For as long as I have known Lydia, never was there a disrespectful word spoken to me about her husband. Her heart throbbed with fervor to do him good. She was such and example to me as I watched her walk through some dark days. In her suffering her passion was to glorify her Lord and honor her husband above all else. In those difficulties, she was continually asking herself how God and her husband could be honored through her life. Her family was always her utmost priority. Lydia had a love that was immeasurable for her husband, children, son-in-laws, and grandchildren. Lydia’s love didn’t stop there; it bled into the lives of everyone who crossed her path. She was always looking outward as to how she could serve those in need. Kindness was her way, as well as distributing the best home made bread in the south. We shared many sweet times of food and fellowship throughout our friendship. Most of them pertained to exhorting one another to keep our Savior first above all else no matter the cost.
My life has suffered a great loss at the passing of my friend. I feel a great emptiness knowing that I can’t pick up the phone and call her or sit and have a cup of tea or be the recipient of her wealth of wisdom and kindness. Even in her death, she has inspired me to love more, and to serve others more today!
May all of us who have had the privilege of being touched by Lydia’s life hear what it spoke to us; “Follow sound doctrine, be reverent in your behavior, be teachers of good things, love your spouse and children, be discreet, be chaste, be homemakers, be good and obedient to your own husband, and above all love the Lord with all your heart soul and strength.
Lydia was survived by her husband, Craig Winsor (Spike) Wheeler; four daughters, Jessica, Melita, Emily and Jael; a son, Zaanan; three sons-in-law and seven grandchildren.
I close with the words of King David Psalm 39:4-7 "LORD, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am. Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Selah Surely every man walks about like a shadow; Surely they busy themselves in vain; He heaps up riches, And does not know who will gather them. "And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You