Seeking to be transformed into the image of Jesus

Character

26 Things I Love About My Wife

This past week Angie and I celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary. In honor of this momentous occasion and to honor my amazing wife I offer you (in no particular order) twenty-six reasons I love Angela Halaby Schupp…

1. She is the most intentional person I know. Everything she does has a purpose.

2. She is learning to have fun and not be so serious. She recognizes that it’s ok to relax and is learning to do that too…on purpose!

3. She is the most selfless person I know. She is not about ego or reputation or promotion. She loves people and lives to serve God and others.

4. She has a great sense of humor. She will admit that telling jokes isn’t her strongest suit (one might say she lacks comedic timing) but she understands good humor and knows how to laugh at life and things that are just plain funny.

5. She is extremely good-natured. Related to her sense of humor is a thick skin that is able to take playful ribbing. She often finds herself outnumbered in discussions and when the jokes are flying at the dinner table but she takes it in stride and does it with grace.

6. She says what she means. Angie is a straight-shooter. She is h0nest and straight forward and you rarely don’t know what she means or thinks.

7. She is growing in grace. Despite being a straight-shooter, she recognizes that words can harm and has grown incredibly in being able to say hard things in tactful ways.

8. She is a prayer warrior. If you want to know for sure that someone is praying for you, ask Angie to add you to her list. She is the most faithful pray-er I have ever met. Every day she prays for many, many people and she delights to pray for specific needs or whatever the Holy Spirit lays on her heart. It’s exciting to see the ways God answers too!

9. She is an avid learner. Angie reads a lot. It has always been a hobby of hers and she is good at taking time to read books that encourage and edify her. More than that, she is always wanting to learn – about her faith, her family, her profession, life.

10. She is incredibly supportive. Angie has always been a wife who supports and encourages me – even when she wasn’t sure about what it was I was pursuing (for example, training to run a marathon). She has always been a mother who supports her children selflessly as well. She is an encouragement verbally and she is willing to help by doing the legwork, picking up slack around the house, or whatever the situation calls for.

11. She is a gifted and capable woman. There isn’t much Angie can’t do if she puts her mind to it. And there isn’t much she doesn’t do well.

12. She is willing to ask for help. While she has always been independent, she has learned what she can and cannot do. She knows what she needs and what she can’t do on her own and is willing to ask for help and to depend on others.

13. She is honest about who she is. Angie is unpretentious. She is honest about her weaknesses as well as her strengths and is willing to ask for help when she needs it.

14. She makes people feel valued and significant. Angie remembers peoples names. She remembers things about them. She asks good questions. She listens. People know she cares and they feel important around her, because to her they really are.

15. She is an encourager. This is not something natural to Angie. She has always been an “actions-speak-louder-than-words” servant. But over the years she has learned to speak words of encouragement to people. She notices what they do and try and is quick to praise and affirm.  She also recognizes when things don’t go so well and has an apt word ready to spur the person on. She’s a great cheerleader…and it comes from the heart.

16. She is a “homemaker.” I don’t mean this in the traditional sense – because she isn’t a stay-at-home mother or wife, but she treasures her family and her home and works hard (despite her busy schedule) to make our house a home. We have almost always eaten dinner as a family. We often have game nights. We do things together and try to keep control of our schedule. Our house is a home and it is because of Angie’s commitment to keep it that way.

17. She is generous. Angie regularly gives sacrificially of her time, her possessions, her expertise – or anything God has given her. She desires to be a blessing to others so she holds all she has with open hands.

18. She is a good steward. Angie is also very thrifty and careful with what she has. She tries not to waste her time, her possessions, her expertise – or anything God has given her. She wants to use the gifts she’s received wisely and not waste them.

19. She is a traveler. She has traveled extensively, but that isn’t what I mean. I mean Angie is on a journey. Her life is about walking the path God has laid before her and she is pursuing Him. Her desire is to walk faithfully and obediently so that one day He will say to her, “Well done.”

20. She is faithful. Angie is faithful in her walk with God – reading the Word and praying each day. And more than that she is faithful to honor her promises and to her family, friends, and calling.

21. She is loyal. If Angie is your friend, she will stand with you through nearly anything. When others might walk away, she is true. I have rarely seen a person so loyal.

22. She is hospitable. Not only does she welcome people into our home and make them feel welcome, she creates space for others to feel comfortable and loved being themselves.

23. She is joyful. Life has not always been easy for Angie, yet she always has a song in her heart and on her lips (and if you have heard her sing, you know that’s a good thing!). She has chosen not to be defined by circumstances but to choose to be joyful despite the challenges and the hard things.

24. She is affectionate. Angie is ready to give a hug (or kiss where appropriate!). She is warm and loving and not afraid to show it.

25. She is human. All of these things I’ve listed are true. Angie is amazing! But she isn’t perfect. She makes mistakes. And she isn’t invincible. She has bad days and days her feelings are hurt or her pride is bruised or she barely makes it through. She experiences life’s just hurts like all of us. She faces them physically (in fact she has dealt with chronic pain issues for many years) and emotionally (she has struggled with depression even longer). And each morning she wakes ready for a day full of new challenges.

26. She admits her mistakes and asks forgiveness. Angie owns up to things when she is at fault and she isn’t afraid to say “I’m sorry.”

These twenty-six things just scratch the surface of all the things I love about Angie. I know that as soon as I hit post I will think of so many I should have added or put instead…but wait a few years and I’ll make a new list and try to include those as well!

Thank you, Angie, for twenty-six amazing years! I look forward to many, many more! I love you!

~ Rick

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Character Traits

My good friend Alan has a saying to which he often refers: “Who you are and who you’re becoming is more important than what you do.” I believe he’s right. In a world where the ends often justify the means, I wonder how many people would agree with that statement. Perhaps the real question is not how many would agree with it, but how many live it out? It’s easy to say you believe character is important, even most important, but it can be hard to live that when the pressure is on and you need results.

Jesus taught that we become people of deep character through intimacy with him (consider John 15:1-17). As we are transformed more and more into his image, we reflect more and more of his character in our words and actions. As he said in Matthew 7:17-18, good trees bear good fruit and bad trees don’t no matter how it looks.

I have written elsewhere on this blog on the kinds of practices I believe help us create space for the Holy Spirit to transform us into good trees; that allow us to remain deeply connect to Jesus so we are made into his likeness. But how do we know if a person is a “good tree”? How do we know if they are the kind of person who believes character is more important than results?

What are some of the signs that a person is a person of character? I offer just a few and they are influenced by Gary Hunter and Tim Addington…

1. When talking about success he/she recognizes and appreciates the influence and role of others; when talking about failure he/she take responsibility without placing blame.

2 She/he can notice/observe/assess a situation without making judgment, being comfortable with ambiguity and holding things in tension.

3. He/she has appropriate humility – neither thinking too much of self nor being falsely self deprecating.

4. She/he is a person of conviction, willing to listen to others but not quickly bending because of public opinion.

5. He/she has a strong sense of identity in relation to their Heavenly Father; having strong self-awareness of his/her own emotions, wiring, strengths, weaknesses, giftings.

6. She/he forgive and ask forgiveness when called for.

Who are you becoming? Are you the person you want to be? How are you connecting with Jesus so you can become more like him? If someone was to evaluate your life according to these six traits, how would you measure up?