I was in a panic!
Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness! I ran back into the store and searched all the carts, then went back to the teller - and there I saw it - still in the cart next to the counter was my green umbrella!
Slowing my pace down a bit, I walked calmly to the cart so I didn’t look like a madman, and I gracefully picked up my umbrella, tucking it slowly under my arm while walking away. All the while, thanking the Lord in my heart.
This was a miracle to me! My umbrella was right there in the shopping cart where I left it!
Twenty minutes earlier, while I was in a parking lot of another store, I went to grab my umbrella before jumping out of the car, and my umbrella wasn’t there!
That is when I remembered leaving it in the shopping cart at the store I had just left.
Whew! With that crisis over, and my umbrella safely in the car, I decided to treat myself to a Tim Horton’s coffee and donut. I deserved the extra calories!
Sitting in the restaurant, listening to the rain outside, I soothed myself with every sip of coffee and bite of my old fashioned dipped donut. Looking over at my green umbrella sitting on the seat next to me, I thought, "We have a deep connection, me and this umbrella... our story is a good one, but it didn’t start off so well..."
God placed this umbrella in my hands a long time ago, and I will always cherish it.
It was the Christmas holiday season, and it was going to be our very first Christmas together as a married couple. My husband and I were very excited about making this new memory together, and he even took me out shopping for Christmas bulbs and lights for our new tree. Together, we decided on a light pink and blue pastel theme to match our living room colors.
We were so proud of our first Christmas tree. In fact, we were so proud that we decided to have several people over for treats and snacks during that Christmas season just so they could see our beautiful Christmas tree.
It took me a long time to come up with the perfect Christmas gift to give my husband and I finally landed on a London Fog suit coat he could wear to church on Sundays. It was hunter green in color and had a brown leather collar, and was very distinguished looking. He would love this gift, I was absolutely sure of it!
I packaged the suit coat up and wrapped it in a beautiful Christmas colored wrapping paper and placed it under the tree alongside several other small gifts I bought for him.
While I arranged the gifts I let myself dream about what gift he was going to give me on Christmas morning...
I have always heard that the first Christmas together as a married couple is very precious, and you are supposed to give diamond earrings, or a new ring, or some kind of jewelry, so my mind went wild with imaginations.
That year, we surprised ourselves by sleeping in late on Christmas morning, and I was automatically put off by this and couldn't hide my disappointment.
It didn't feel like a Christmas morning at all, there were too many things not going as I imagined, and I wasn't getting that Christmas-morning-vibe-feeling.
First thing amiss, was my family. They weren't around me and I was missing them.
Remembering all the good times we’ve had over the years brought tears to my eyes and I couldn’t believe I was spending Christmas morning without them. So, that's one reason why this morning didn't feel "Christmas-y."
Second thing amiss, was that our Christmas mornings at home always started at 4 AM and lasted until the late morning hours. Oftentimes, because we had to wait for mom and dad to wake up before we could begin opening gifts, but this never deterred us from getting up as early as possible. Our anticipation for opening the presents grew for hours before we even opened one gift up.
Now, the morning is being thrust upon us like a duty or something.
So, right off the bat, I wasn’t happy and it didn’t feel like Christmas.
There in our apartment, we just rolled out of bed, grabbed coffee and sat on the couch.
No Christmas morning kiss, no hug, no nothing. My husband, not being a morning person, didn’t want to get the show on the road until his first coffee was down, and I on the other hand, was raring to go in spite of missing my family and it not feeling like Christmas.
So our worlds collided on this Christmas morning and it was off to a bad start.
My husband wanted a relaxing, easy going morning, and I wanted to open presents right away.
I won, and we opened presents.
Mind you, my husband wasn’t in the greatest of moods, and he wasn’t any happier when he pulled out his distinguished looking London Fog suit coat only to find out I bought the wrong size.
So, my big special gift bombed out.
He pointed to a couple of gifts under the tree, and said those are for you.
The first gift I opened was a Franklin Covey Planner. It was a small, square, brown binder that didn’t thrill me in the least, but I said, “Thank you.”
He said, “You know how you couldn’t find a phone number the other day when I called you? Well, now you can keep track of those phone numbers in this book.”
“Plus,” he added, “it’s a really nice quality made planner and will last forever.”
I think he could sense my disappointment so he handed me the other gift.
As I took it from him I could tell it wasn’t going to be jewelry.
Unwrapping it confirmed my suspicions and it was indeed an umbrella.
Who gives an umbrella as a special Christmas gift??!! I was extremely disappointed.
Then he tried to smile big, and said, “Isn’t this a nice umbrella?” It is made by London Fog. It’s a quality piece and will last forever.”
I mustered up a thanks.
Then I turned to him and said, “Our first Christmas together is supposed to be special, you know? And you are supposed to give special gifts,not umbrellas.”
He replied, “These are special. They are quality made gifts.”
Several years into our marriage, I began to realize just how special those 2 gifts had become to me.
They started to symbolize something much more than mere objects or unwanted Christmas gifts.
As I grew in love towards my husband, I grew in respect towards the things that mattered to him, and that was integrity and quality.
He owned a fine woodworking business for 23 years, and was the sole master carpenter, often hiring one or two workers to aid him when contracting jobs. His work was exquisite and his attention to detail was mind blowing. Perfection should’ve been his middle name.
All of his customers loved his work, and never wanted anyone else but my husband to work in their home.
That's because quality was of utmost importance to him, and integrity of character was right up there too, and you can't necessarily have a quality piece of furniture or cabinet if the person who is making it doesn't have integrity. So they went hand in hand in his book.
I came to find out that those two gifts he had given me on our first Christmas morning, were truly from his heart of hearts. Even though they weren’t bedazzled with gold and diamonds, they were gifts given to me from the core of who he was.
I kept my Franklin Covey planner in my kitchen drawer for years, grabbing it whenever I needed to jot a phone number down, or add a birthday or anniversary to the list of dates to remember. Even using it as a daily planner for years. Every time the planner was opened, I remembered the day it was given, and who gave it to me.
The green London Fog umbrella was kept in the car for those rainy days, but would sometimes make it into the house, where I could see it hanging on the coat hooks for days, or weeks at a time. Always reminding me of that first Christmas together and how much we've grown in love for each other.
Through the years, as I would reach for the umbrella, I became aware of its much deeper meaning to me, and that was the covering and protection it provided.
A new wife has to find her place alongside her husband, mold to his ways, learn to compromise on issues, conform to his idea of a perfect help meet, you know, all those things that make up a good, lasting marriage.
Along with adapting to your husbands likes and dislikes, comes a spiritual acceptance of coming under his covering of authority, which brings safety and protection.
I acknowledged my husband’s God-given place of authority in the family and recognized God created him to have this role, because it was so clearly evident in his physical strength enabling him to protect, and his inner drive to provide for our family.
There came a time in our marriage when things became hard and we faced one rough patch after another. Both of us realized one of us would have to give in order to bring peace back into our relationship.
One day while I was out grocery shopping, it began to rain.
I reached for my green umbrella in the car, just like I had done so many times before, but, this time when I reached for it, something inside me said, “I choose my husband’s covering.”
I picked up the umbrella with its wooden handle and opened it wide. Standing physically under the umbrella, I repeated, “I choose my husband’s covering.”
At that moment I felt renewed peace and security, because I knew where my place should be as a wife.
“I choose to be under my husband’s covering and protection, and will allow him to lead our family and trust God to give my husband wisdom as he leads.”
“And," I said to myself, "I choose to be a good wife.”
I added that, because that is, and was, my biggest desire: to please God by pleasing my husband.
And every time it rained after that, I would reach for my green umbrella, reminding myself of those words, “I choose my husband’s covering…”
It's a choice each wife has to make. Our husband's can't force us to follow their lead, we have to choose. This is what I chose so long ago, and this is how we found peace in our relationship. Through this action, we experienced a heightened sense of love for one another because we were fulfilling God's proper order in our marriage.
The umbrella came to symbolize love and respect for my husband. A love for the things he loved and respect for his God-given role as a covering and an authority in my life.
Our 25th wedding anniversary is in February 2020 and it is hard to believe how time flies! Little did I know what I was saying “I DO” too on that cold, wintry day so long ago, but I wouldn’t change a thing!
We have had 25 wonderful, sweet, adventurous years together, and I’m sure it’s because I willingly chose to stand under my umbrella time and time again!
In fact, my umbrella is still in my car, ready for the next rainy day. It's lasted all these years, because it was quality made!
May all of our marriages be full of quality and integrity as we learn to love and respect each other more and more with each passing year! Experiencing joy and blessing as we fulfill God's proper order!
Oh, and by the way, if you should ever see a lady standing underneath a fanned out, green, quality made, London Fog umbrella, you can be sure she is speaking to herself these words, “I choose my husband’s covering, and I love it!”
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My Sun & Shade
A big thank you to Pexels for providing the featured picture for this blog post!