An Uncommon Man – My Life with Charlie

Charlie is charming and endearing, even though he is six foot two inches tall, strong and muscular, and one of the most handsome men God ever created. He loves a practical joke, the Bible and eating at Waffle House.

He will do almost anything to get a laugh; and he seeks out places to go where he will have an audience to entertain. Charlie is a Pastor, and he even uses his pulpit as a venue to tell his funny anecdotes; some of which I have heard hundreds of times in our many years together.

He has been known to pick on me, just to get a laugh; but he has learned that I am overly sensitive and he will not hurt my feelings in order to reap the coveted chuckle.

The cutest thing about Charlie is that he laughs at his own jokes, and that makes his audience laugh even louder. You know a joke is coming, because his huge smile and the little glint in his eye give him away.

He is so cute, adorable really; a man of integrity and worth, hard-working, diligent, conscientious, full of common sense and of the highest character. His moral fiber is woven tighter than a woolen blanket and his love keeps you just as warm.

Charlie enjoys fishing for brim, eating farm-raised catfish on the bone, reading his Bible, drinking his morning coffee with his buddies and talking about his favorite sports teams.

He is very knowledgeable about many topics and can converse with anyone about anything. He cares very deeply about everyone’s feelings; and he no longer likes to hunt as he did in his youth, because he does not want to cause anyone, not even an animal, pain of any sort.

Charlie has been known to proclaim that his love language is food. Grilled steak, smoky ribs, chicken wings, and a big turkey dinner are all his favorites.

He has food moods that change almost hourly. I never know what to cook; but he politely eats everything on his plate and always compliments me when he is done with both lunch and supper.

Charlie appreciates me and lets me know it. He loves that his socks match in his drawer, he always has clean clothes to wear, that his home is casually spotless and orderly, and that he usually has everything he needs right at his fingertips whenever he needs it.

If I am behind or remiss or too tired, he never berates or belittles me. He never gets frustrated with me; and nourishes and cherishes me and makes a huge effort to always think of me before himself.

He makes time to cuddle me, which is my main love language; and tells me at least five times a day that he loves me. He always defers to me in making choices, which I do to him too; so our main disagreements are over which of us will be allowed to serve the other.

Politics, the news, comedy movies and TV show, and sharing funny photos or sayings on Facebook are a few of his favorite things. When he sends me his sermons so that I can make his sermon slides each week, he always writes me love notes attached to his emails.

Charlie can predict the weather better than any weatherman just by looking at radar photos of impending fronts. Almost to the minute, he can predict when the rain will start or how much time is between showers, so that we can steal a half hour at the pool for exercise.

His children and grandchildren are very precious to Charlie. He hears from them all several times a week. He patiently listens as they chat about the events of their day or current concerns in their life and he always prays for them all by name.

I adore Charlie, simply because he is so adorable. His constant smile warms my heart; and things that make him sad, break my heart in two. If he would allow me, I would fight all of his battles; but he won’t hear of that.

He vents his feelings to me, and then wakes up the next morning with his normal positive attitude fresh and new; ready to take on the world, the flesh and the devil all over again.

Charlie loves to watch civilization wake up. Newspapers are delivered, the sun breaks over the horizon several hours after he wakes up, and lights turn off in neighborhood houses as cars back out of driveways on their way to work.

Charlie works 8-12 hours a day; and some days of the week, he works morning, afternoon and evenings without complaint. He rarely takes all of his vacation days in a year; and some holidays he works while others take a play day. So tired that he can barely stand up, he rejoices in all he accomplished for the Lord with his day.

He will talk about the Bible with anyone with a question. In fact, he will talk about the Bible at the drop of a hat; and sometimes, he will even drop the hat to get the conversation started.

His favorite Biblical topic is prophecy. In his early teens, he read Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey and he never looked back. Pastoring his first church at age 22, his wisdom soon caught up with his anointing and enthusiasm for God and the Bible.

During the winter season every year, people come from all over the world to hear his preaching; and many a Yankee threatens to tuck him in their suitcase to take him back home with them.

His preaching is simple, yet profound. His expository sermons are all Bible-based. He never makes a statement that he has not thoroughly researched and found true, using several sources, commentaries and other verses to verify what he is saying.

The mayor calls Charlie “the friend of the city”; and he is known by all the city council, police, fire, rescue and veterans of the community. They actually smile widely and call his name in delight when they see him out around the town.

The greatest fact about Charlie is that he is my best friend, my soulmate and my husband of several decades. He treats me like a treasure and calls me his “little woman”. Sometimes, he even adds “my little Italian woman”.

Meeting at Books-a-Million bookstore in Pensacola, Florida, we have been together ever since. We cannot believe the perfect timing of the Lord to have us both in the same microcosm of time and space in order to form a most perfect union.

We thank God for bringing us together and allowing us to embark on a journey through tough times, times of hurt and misunderstanding and times of joy and comfort, which we continually gain from dwelling together in unity all the days of our life.

The best part about our relationship is that Jesus Christ lives in both of us – dwelling in our spirit. We love one another, but we love God even more. We serve Him together and make the perfect team. We look forward to continuing as best friends in eternity, as we serve our Bridegroom together even then. – Kitty Bradley

Aging Gracefully

Getting old is difficult. Energy, bodily organ functions, and attention span all diminish; while aches and pains, pill intake and doctor bills all increase. We get discouraged, lose self-esteem and feel useless in so many areas.

Eventually, we even have to cut back on our energy outgo; limiting our activities to one major event a day. Many are required to give up the keys to the car, join a geriatrics exercise program and get more sleep with less productivity.

God knew, before we were born, that we would grow old  (Ephesians 2:10). He has plans for us, which includes this time in our life (Jeremiah 29:11). We do not need to confine our self to the rocking chair on the front porch – although that is fun sometimes too.

We just change our focus and keep a positive attitude. We keep walking in the Spirit and continue to fulfill the will of God for each moment of our life. We exchange youthful ministries for the equally as important ministry of prayer and mentoring (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Titus 2:4).

Sitting at Jesus’ feet, we worship Him by singing and praying the scripture. We lift up the needs of our fellow Saints and family members, the church’s pastor and staff and the ministry leaders and volunteers, the world and its leaders, the persecuted church and the unreached people groups.

Another way to minister is by writing a blog, emailing, fellowshipping on social media and private messages and texts. This way, we can communicate and minister all over the country and the world.

God teaches us to set boundaries around our time; to take a day off; to enjoy time in nature, at the pool or walking on trails each day; to play with our pets; to write letters and books and to make cards to brighten someone’s day; to bake a pie or a dozen cookies to share with the neighborhood kids after school – all in His name and all for His glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Prayer:
Father God, when we are drained, worn and weary from life, we are still Yours with a unique calling on our life. Remind us that until our dying breath, You call us to seek You and to walk in Your perfect plan for us by Your Spirit. We surrender all to You and worship You with all of our thoughts, words and deeds.

Remind us that the girl checking us out at the grocery, the waitress, the retail clerk, the person next to us on the bus or airplane, the librarian, etc. all need us to recognize them as a person too, and to tell them that You and we really care about them. Let Your light shine in us so brightly that everyone will see our good works and give You the glory (Matthew 5:16).

Thought for the Day:
God uses us in so many ways, regardless of our age, energy level, health issues and physical limitations, to share His wisdom, ways and wonders with those He brings into our life.