Hear It on Sunday, Use It on Monday: Saint Bradster


We celebrated All Saint’s Day at my church yesterday. I don’t know if other churches do this, or if it’s unique to Southwood, but my church defines ordinary people as saints – our friends and neighbors, parents and siblings, children and spouses and partners, those who have gone before us, and those with whom we continue to share our time on Earth.

Throughout the service I thought a lot about my mother-in-law, Janice, who so brightly shined God’s love through her selflessness, generosity, patience and joy. But when I heard Pastor Michael say that “God plants saints in your life, specific people who shine the light of God in your life” – I thought of someone else, someone very much like his mother in his quiet, selfless ways: my husband, Brad.

From the time I met Brad back in graduate school at the University of Connecticut until now, 18 years later, he has exuded a quiet, steadfast faith. Brad isn’t the type to broadcast his faith dramatically from the soapbox. He’s Nordic you know, and the Nords are a subtle, stoic people. Instead, he quietly serves his family, his neighbors, his co-workers, his friends and the strangers he meets on the street. He doesn't boast about it. He doesn't even talk about it. He just does it.

I wasn’t a believer when Brad and I first met. In fact, I still wasn’t a believer during the first seven or eight years of our marriage. The fact that Brad married me in spite of that is nothing short of a miracle. But, you see, he had faith. He had faith that I would come to know God. He trusted that God wouldn’t let me go, that he wouldn’t give up on me.

As it turned out, he was right.

In the beginning of our courtship Brad tried to engage me in theological discussions. He had a divinity degree, after all – this is a man who likes to chat about God. But I wouldn’t budge. I simply told him I didn’t “do deep conversations.” In reality, I was afraid. Strangely, I hadn’t admitted to myself that I didn’t believe in God. While I knew it in my heart, I had never said it aloud.

Later, I spent several years in a period of limbo. I had finally admitted to myself that I didn’t believe in God, but oddly I found that I wanted to believe. I wanted to find faith, but I just couldn’t. I didn’t know how or where to begin. We still didn’t talk about God or faith much during those limbo years, but when we did, Brad would always tell me the same thing: that he believed I would come to find God.

While I didn’t exactly believe that was true, Brad’s faith in God, and his faith in the fact that I would come to be a believer, gave me hope. I clung hard to that hope during those limbo years.

Brad was the first person I told when I began to suspect that I believed in God. I remember the night clearly. We were celebrating our anniversary at a fancy restaurant in Omaha, and I told him, “I think I might believe in God.” We talked long that night, from our gourmet appetizers all the way through the decadent chocolate torte. I was giddy, and honestly, I think Brad was, too ( because he’s a Nord, it’s often hard to tell...but I knew).

I still can’t believe that this is the road God has paved for me during these last five years. What’s funny is that Brad can’t believe it either. “Sometimes I’m still surprised this is you now,” he’ll say, and then we laugh when I remind him, “But you were the one who always told me this would happen!”

One thing is for sure though: while God planted Brad in my life for many reasons (I could write a whole blog post on his pancakes alone), chief among them is this: he knew Brad would shine the light of faith like a beacon of hope, lighting my every step along the way.

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” (Romans 8:26-28, The Message)

[And I'll beat my dad to the punch: just the fact that Brad married me makes him a saint!]

Still counting...

760. Coming home to my own bed.
761. A husband who does the laundry, grocery shops, bleaches the sink clean and remembers to buy the Halloween candy while I am out of town.
762. Meeting online friends in person.
763. Rerouted trips that create new friendships.
764. Kids doing the "robot" dance.
765. Lighting candles.
766. A husband who scrapes my windshield in the morning.
767. Great Harvest blueberry-peach Savannah bars.
768. Laughing with Viviana.
769. "I love you" written by Noah in the steamed bathroom mirror.
770. The Bradster, whose faith lights the way.





And linking with Jen and the Soli sisters, too:



 


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I love hearing what you have to reveal each week about how God is speaking to you through his word, and I am so very grateful for your participation here!

Don't forget to come back Thursday for the Hear It, Use It Round-Up. And if you want to tweet about this link-up community, would you mind using the hastag #HearItUseIt? Thanks!  [look at me, talkin' about hashtags!].

Hazel Moon –   – (November 7, 2011 at 3:45 AM)  

Romance and God on All Saints day.  I love a how we met story and also a How I met God story!  I truely Loved this post!

Shanda Oakley  – (November 7, 2011 at 4:05 AM)  

What an amazing tribute to your husband.  I love it.
As you can see, I had trouble with the link. Can you delete my duplicate posts?  Thanks

Courtney Buxton  – (November 7, 2011 at 4:53 AM)  

Oh, I just love this post. A wonderful tribute to your marriage and how Godly marriage can be. I feel the same way about my husband - that God planted him in my life. I am so grateful. Now I'm going to give him a kiss thanks to you :)

kendal  – (November 7, 2011 at 5:02 AM)  

i love it when you share about your faith journey. and who you are now? a woman whose scales fell off her eyes! my husbands fell off since we were married, too. it's an amazing difference....

OutnumberedMom –   – (November 7, 2011 at 5:21 AM)  

What a sweet, sweet testimony. (Love your anticipated Dad's comment! HA)

Melodyhester  – (November 7, 2011 at 5:24 AM)  

Oh how neat to hear about how you came to Christ and your husband's steady, unwavering faith that you would at some point. I love that he never "panicked" while patiently waiting all those years but let you have your space as you were seeking God. What a beautiful story.

Bradley J Moore –   – (November 7, 2011 at 5:26 AM)  

Can we say, "Brad-tastic?"  :)

Michelle- I've been meaning to tell you I really respect your faith journey, and the fact that you are open about the struggles and questions you've had along the way. My wife has also struggled, still does (more than me). Ironically, she is a pastor's daughter, which in a way makes it even more challenging. Also a PhD and very critical thinker. But I tell her the fact that she is even struggling is a sign of her faith. She agrees.

Keep talking about the journey.

Christie Purifoy  – (November 7, 2011 at 7:01 AM)  

Such a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing it with us.

Jen Ferguson  – (November 7, 2011 at 7:17 AM)  

What a lovely story.  Am so glad I know this about Brad now and how God has done a mighty work through you while Brad was on his knees for you.

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 7, 2011 at 8:05 AM)  

Thank you much, Brad! That's why I love the story of Jacob wrestling with God so much - it reflects my own spiritual journey and it gives me hope that wrestling can indeed be part of faith.

Sounds like you are a great encouragement to your wife. Must be something about the name indeed!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 7, 2011 at 8:06 AM)  

Brad is definitely not a panicker - another one of his wonderful attributes.

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 7, 2011 at 8:06 AM)  

Thanks, Laura. Seriously, I  just know my dad will say that, so I had to get it right out there!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 7, 2011 at 8:06 AM)  

I love that we have that similarity in our marriages, Kendal!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 7, 2011 at 8:07 AM)  

Linky can be such a pain sometimes. I deleted your extra links -- no problem, Shanda. And thanks for coming by today!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 7, 2011 at 8:08 AM)  

Mighty work indeed, Jen. Thank you, friend!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 7, 2011 at 8:13 AM)  

I meant to say, too, that I love the poem at your place today. I really like Jane Kenyon. I couldn't leave a comment though, not sure why, so I wanted to mention it here.

Christie Purifoy  – (November 7, 2011 at 8:19 AM)  

Hmm, that's strange. Thanks for letting me know. Hopefully I can figure out what's going on. Glad you enjoyed the poem!

Sheila Seiler Lagrand  – (November 7, 2011 at 8:41 AM)  

Michelle, this story gives me great hope. There are people dear to me who still grope in the darkness. I pray for their Brads as much as I pray for them. 

Nancy Franson  – (November 7, 2011 at 9:53 AM)  

I really like thinking about the way we are connected with all the saints throughout the world and throughout history. One of the reasons I like reciting ancient creeds and singing hymns is that we are joining our voices with those who have gone on to heaven--joining the everlasting song.

Hooray for the Bradster, UConn, and #762!

Shelly –   – (November 7, 2011 at 10:36 AM)  

I think of my husband as a saint too.  We are blessed with men of great faith who aren't moved by what they see.  So wonderful to learn a bit about your faith journey. And here you are writing about it.  God is amazing!

Christina Klas –   – (November 7, 2011 at 10:50 AM)  

Such a beautiful post... God sure has a funny way about things doesn't he?

JosephPote –   – (November 7, 2011 at 11:13 AM)  

Great post, Michelle!  God never fails to find new and interesting ways to work in our lives, does He?

Thanks for sharing!

Keli Gwyn –   – (November 7, 2011 at 11:24 AM)  

What a beautiful story, Michelle. Your Brad sounds like the kind of wonderful guy I married. =)

leslie  – (November 7, 2011 at 11:25 AM)  

This is a great story of God's grace, and as always, you tell it so well.

Kelly –   – (November 7, 2011 at 11:45 AM)  

new friends.  such a gift.  meeting in person.  isn't this online world crazy?  I love it.  blessings to you from Uganda!

Jean Wise  – (November 7, 2011 at 12:08 PM)  

Beautiful story about Brad. Loved hearing about him.  We celebrate All Saint Sunday too, emphasizing the saints that have left us the past year and reminded us to see the saints in each other.  We read the names of those in our parish and community that have died, ringing the church bells for each of them.  Bittersweet time but good to pause and be thankful for their lives.  

karaliechty –   – (November 7, 2011 at 12:46 PM)  

I loved that story about your husband and how you discovered your faith.  I felt my own smile while I read your words (I love feeling my own smile, so.... thank you!)

So glad you are counting with us...

Blessings,
Kara

Lisa_notes –   – (November 7, 2011 at 1:11 PM)  

What a great faith Brad has, to believe that God would continue to work on your heart until you came to know him. Love this story, Michelle.

Our church doesn't do All Saints Day but it sounds like a wonderful thing.

Deidra  – (November 7, 2011 at 1:14 PM)  

I always love it when you tell that story. I cry every time.

Linda Chontos –   – (November 7, 2011 at 2:16 PM)  

I love to hear stories of faith, and I really love love stories. This is beautiful in every way Michelle.

Connie@raise your eyes  – (November 7, 2011 at 5:00 PM)  

I'm with Deidra...loving this love story.

Dawn  – (November 7, 2011 at 6:01 PM)  

Michelle what a great story.  You have a gift and I am so glad that God gave you such a good man!  May your later years be even better than the first ones!  God Bless!

Patsy Paterno  – (November 7, 2011 at 6:02 PM)  

Nice to get to know you and your husband more, Michelle. Yes, I think it is a miracle that Brad married you on faith, but faith sees things that the eyes can't!!! How wonderful that God made him see beneath the surface! God had a plan, a wonderful plan! 

Patsy Paterno  – (November 7, 2011 at 6:05 PM)  

Oh I forgot to say that our Catholic church totally believes in the community of saints up in heaven and down here below, that the saints, especially those in heaven, are rooting for us, and saying, "You can do it! It's worth it! Fight the good fight!" All Saints day is a holiday here in the Philippines. :^)

Brad –   – (November 7, 2011 at 7:38 PM)  

Such flattering comments, but I have to say that being married to Michelle has never been a sacrifice.  As you all know, she has a great heart, a wonderful wit, and a drive to do things the right way.  I've been the more fortunate of the two of us from the start, and I find new things to admire about her every day.  If I can say that as a Nord, imagine how I must feel!

Seashore  – (November 7, 2011 at 8:19 PM)  

Such a beautiful post.  It is so important to remember those who guided us to where we are now.

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 7, 2011 at 9:02 PM)  

It is bittersweet, isn't it? I never make it through the All Saints Day service without crying. But it's a good cry, remembering those I love.

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 7, 2011 at 9:03 PM)  

We all have beacons of light and hope in our lives. Brad and his mom are just two, but I can think of several others who have shaped my faith journey and exemplified Christ. It's such an incredible blessing, isn't it?

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 7, 2011 at 9:03 PM)  

Awwwwww! First comment from the Bradster ever! I love you!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 7, 2011 at 9:04 PM)  

I love that All Saints Day is a holiday in the Philippines -- there truly is so much to celebrate about those who have gone before us, and those who continue to shine God's light in our everyday lives.

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 7, 2011 at 9:08 PM)  

Thank you -- and God bless you, too, sweet Dawn!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 7, 2011 at 9:10 PM)  

I love it that you're a crier. I kinda wish I were a crier.

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 7, 2011 at 9:12 PM)  

It is a great faith, isn't it? We talked about it tonight at dinner. Brad said he learned so much about faith from his mom, and I believe that, knowing her heart and seeing her faith lived out steadfastly and quietly. What a legacy to leave someone. I can only hope and pray that I can come close to doing something like tha for my own kids.

thefisherlady –   – (November 7, 2011 at 11:15 PM)  

wonderfully written encouraging on the man in your life...
thumbs up!

Shaunie Friday  – (November 7, 2011 at 11:36 PM)  

You have paid Brad a wonderful tribute Michelle--he sounds wonderful, and it's clear God picked him out just for you.  It's so awesome how He does that for us!

mamaabby –   – (November 8, 2011 at 12:02 AM)  

I loved this so and I love that I heard it in person too...seems like you married a great one like me...it's a beautiful thing:}:}:} praying I live that thanks a little more over where I am;}

mary kathryn –   – (November 8, 2011 at 6:38 AM)  

Those are such precious words about your husband. He certainly is a man of faith!! And I totally agree with your church's stance on what a "saint" is. That view is thoroughly Biblical; the word "saint" simply means "holy one," and Scripture repeatedly refers to God's people in this way. We are all His holy ones, his people who are set aside and distinct from the world.

Theresa  – (November 8, 2011 at 7:15 AM)  

What an awesome and wise man! I love that he didn't try to change you, but allowed God to change your heart in his time. God is good! Love this!

Twiz Conway –   – (November 8, 2011 at 11:23 AM)  

Such a lovely story and a real encouragement for those of us still waiting for loved ones to come to faith.

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 8, 2011 at 4:39 PM)  

There are such a thing as miracles!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 8, 2011 at 4:39 PM)  

It's true...Brad is patient like that.

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 8, 2011 at 4:42 PM)  

I admit, it's a much broader definition of saints than I was raised with...but I like it!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 8, 2011 at 4:42 PM)  

You did hear it in person, didn't you?! This is familiar territory then! :)

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 8, 2011 at 4:43 PM)  

I love the way you put that, Shaunie -- that God picked Brad out especially for me. I haven't quite thought of it that way, but I believe it is true.

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 10, 2011 at 8:51 PM)  

Thank you for stopping by this week, Kara. Blessings back to you!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 10, 2011 at 8:52 PM)  

It is crazy -- and I love that we get to connect across such a distance. It makes it seen so much less vast.

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 10, 2011 at 8:52 PM)  

Thank you, Leslie -- you are so sweet. Love you!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 10, 2011 at 8:53 PM)  

Thanks for stopping by, Keli -- I love that are hubs share some similarities!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 10, 2011 at 8:53 PM)  

God sometimes needs to get extra creative with me -- I'm so glad He doesn't give up easily!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 10, 2011 at 8:54 PM)  

Sometimes He works in the least expected ways. Gotta love his creativity! Thanks for stopping by, Christine...

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 10, 2011 at 8:55 PM)  

God is amazing indeed. Thanks, Shelly, for your kind words and for stopping by...

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 10, 2011 at 8:56 PM)  

I like that vision so much, Nancy - our voices woven together with the ones who have gone before us in everlasting song. That is so beautiful!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 10, 2011 at 8:57 PM)  

Don't give up hope, Sheila. God is good - his light will shine through.

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