Hey! Rob here (a.k.a. Mr. F). Picture this teachable moment. A dad gets down on one knee to talk to his little boy. The father literally gets down to his son’s level—eye-to-eye, in only a way a loving father can, and he begins to speak. His wisdom is shrouded in humility, so his authoritative words are refreshingly life-giving. The father looks at his son with eyes that long for him to learn and grow. His words are warm and soft, full of grace and mercy. He gently puts his hand on his little boy’s shoulder. This isn’t a lecture, you see; the father is lovingly and gently asking his son questions. The son responds, while the father patiently listens and vice versa.
Personally, I respond to that method. This was my experience with the Case’s. Mark and Barb graciously came along-side us to prepare us for the journey ahead. On our first night of counseling, they asked me what I wanted to get out of it. I said to grow in my relationships with 1) Jesus, 2) Susie, and 3) them-Mark and Barb. Well, I grew a lot in all three areas but primarily in my relationship with Jesus, and I’m so grateful. It was a little different since our counseling sessions were done via Skype and I didn’t physically meet the Case’s until the day before our wedding.
I randomly met Barb at Costco of all places! There we were, standing in the deli section staring at each other, asking ourselves, “Is that her? Is that him?” It was surreal… We embraced as tears welled up in our eyes. It was so, so sweet! I met Mark later that night at our rehearsal… We too embraced, and I remember not wanting to let go of him. He warmly said, "Man, I've finally met somebody who can out-hug me!" It felt so good to finally meet this amazing man in person. He's taught me so much. From seemingly small things like who will take out the trash when we are married to larger things like why was it difficult for me to receive?
I can still hear the powerful echo of his words on receiving, which led to my guiding word for 2014--r e c e i v e. A phrase Mark mentioned in a counseling session stuck with me, so much so I created this image as a reminder and we now have it above our kitchen sink.
The thing I love is how most of the time Mark wouldn't settle for a simple yes or no. He wanted to know the "why" behind the yes or no. He lovingly and gently dug deeper to help me grow.
Mark, from laughing about how you separate out your Jelly Belly's to weeping over some of the heartache in my story, you did more than just counsel us, you were somehow able to do life with us, even over Skype.
Thank you for helping me to grow in my relationship with Jesus (to better understand the Gospel), to grow in my relationship with my bride, and to grow closer to you and Barb. I'm eternally grateful!