February 27, 2008

Leaving a Legacy of Love

Sharon Jaynes

 

Today’s Truth

"Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails" (1 Corinthians 13:7, 8 NIV)

 

Friend to Friend

For those who have read Becoming the Woman of His Dreams, you will probably recognize the following love story. I encourage you to read to the end, there’s more. For those who have not read this story before, I pray you will savor the words.

 

Bruce and Mary Ellen grew up in the mountains of North Carolina in the sleepy little hollow of Waynesville. From Bruce’s first remembrance, he recalls the petite beauty with Chestnut hair, coke bottle figure and “plenty of book smarts.” Back in the 1940’s high school only went through eleventh grade, with an optional twelfth for those who wanted to continue in their studies. Since Mary Ellen was one grade behind, Bruce made the decision to stay one more year…to continue his studies, of course. Bruce and Mary Ellen were a stunning couple. His muscular build with 32” waist, and 6’4 stature towered over Mary Ellen’s 5’3” with curves in all the right places. No one was surprised when Bruce asked Mary Ellen to be his bride just a few days after her graduation. On a beautiful November afternoon in 1943, they became man and wife. When they said those words, “till death do us part,” they meant it. It was a vow made to one another and to God, and the thought of anything other than a lifelong commitment to each other was inconceivable…no matter what.

 

It was war time when Bruce and Mary Ellen tied the knot, and eleven months after they were married, Bruce was shipped off to the Aleutian Islands. For the next eighteen months, the newlyweds corresponded through the US mail. There were no telephones, emails, or instant messaging. The communication of two hearts depended on prayer, pen, and paper. In one of his many letters, Bruce asked Mary Ellen to send him a photograph of her legs…which she did.

 

Never was a man as happy as when Bruce got off the bus, walked to Mary Ellen’s grandparents’ house to see his bride bounding down the steps in her nightgown, rushing into his hungry arms. Never again were they apart for an extended period of time.

 

Bruce went right to work when he arrived back in the United States, but had a dream to go to college. Three years later, even though they now had a two-year-old baby girl in tow, Mary Ellen encouraged him to follow his dream. Bruce graduated from college with a Masters in education and then for the next 39 years served as a teacher, a coach, a high school assistant principal and a junior high principal. Through the years, Mary Ellen had various jobs, but retired after being with one company for twenty-five years. Together they raised four wonderful children…one of which became my husband on a beautiful summer day in August of 1980.

 

In November of 2003, we celebrated Bruce and Mary Ellen Jaynes’ 60th wedding anniversary. I was in the throws of writing Becoming the Woman of His Dreams and was hit with the realization of the living example of what I hope this book will help others accomplish. Mary Ellen was the woman of her man’s dreams – and she had been for sixty years. Faces lined with years embraced cheek to cheek, weathered hands and arthritic fingers intertwined and slow but steady gaits served as a picture of enduring love in the winter of their lives. Like a rare treasure, their legacy of commitment and enduring love is the inheritance they leave to four grown children and five grown grandchildren. Oh, and that picture of her legs that Mary Ellen mailed Bruce in 1944 when he was off at war? He never took it out of his wallet.

 

Last Thursday, February 7, 2008, this amazing man of God went to be with His heavenly Father. We mourn our loss, but rejoice in his gain. Friends, I loved Bruce Jaynes and I am thankful for what he has given me. See, my husband loves me well because he watched his dad love his mom.

 

Imagine with me for a moment. Think ahead 20, 40, 60 years. What do you see? Your marriage is becoming what it is going to be – and so much depends on you. No, building a wonderful marriage can not be achieved by one party alone. It takes two. I take that back. It takes three: a woman who’s committed to becoming the woman of her man’s dreams, God Who longs to give her the power and creativity to do so, and a man who clings tightly to both. That’s what Steve’s dad taught us.

 

I pray that your and your husband’s lives will be so intertwined that you will not be able to see where one ends and the other begins and that your hearts will beat in tandem with each other to the metronome of God’s pulse. Then one day, as your husband reflects on the years you’ve invested he will say… ”Many women do noble things, but you, my dear, surpass them all.”

 

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, Thank you for godly examples that have gone before us. Help us to have marriages that will leave a godly heritage for our children and grandchildren. That’s the best inheritance of all.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

 

Now It’s Your Turn

Is there a godly marriage in your heritage that you admire?

 

What makes that marriage special?

 

If you are married, what about your marriage do you hope your children will learn by example? Ask your husband and consider this question together.

 

If you want to be blessed, click on this link and watch a tribute to dad’s life.

http://videos.lifetributes.com/?id=14070

 

More from the Girlfriends

Having a wonderful marriage does not come automatically. It takes determination, commitment, and unselfish love. If you would like to learn how to have the marriage of your dreams, you’ll want to read Becoming the Woman of His Dreams. Leaving a legacy of a godly marriage can begin today.

 

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