When I started thinking of a legacy, in the truest sense of the word, I could not help but think of my children. My children are better people than I have ever been and could ever be. They are innocent, they love God, they treat others with respect at all times, and they have genuine concern for all whom they encounter. It might be a shrew that they try to rescue from the mouth of a zealous 4-month-old “katten”, a child that they do not know on the playground who is hurt, or an 80-year old man who curses like a banshee and can’t remember what he just said 5 minutes ago. Their capacity for love and forgiveness is all-encompassing. They are God’s answer to my prayers.
This brings me to my husband. He is a cultural Jew. He jokingly refers to himself as “Jew-ish” as his family is old school, Philadelphia Jew. They function mostly on tradition and sheer proximity. By proximity I mean that their friends are Jewish and they live in a Jewish community, they celebrate the High Holidays, and that’s that. They are all wonderful people with warm hearts and open arms. I am blessed to consider them family. His sister and I are very close, the cousins have a blast together, and my brother-in-law and I find we have a great deal in common. We love each other. All of us.
I married my husband because I loved him. Plain and simple. I knew my Dad would not be really happy with the idea that I was marrying a Jew, but this was never actually an issue. My husband was accepted by my parents for who he was; a very likable, intelligent, talented man who loved their daughter.
There were others who objected, but they were hushed. Now I know, that you should not split your yolk, but he believed in God right?
You see, it was only when I was faced with the proposition of marrying outside of my faith and culture that I truly realized how important Jesus was to me. I did not want to be like Charlotte on Sex and the City and “give up Christmas for you”. It was more than that, it wasn’t just Christmas. It was a relationship with Jesus. I wanted kids. I knew I wanted Christian kids.
We got engaged on Christmas Eve, we were living in Key West and we both had to work on Christmas Day, (heathen isn’t it? 😉 )because all the cruise ships were in. We went to church, dinner and exchanged gifts. He has always humored me by attending services with me on Christmas and Easter. With a little cajoling, and some jokes about being stuck with a “shikseh” on Christmas Eve, when all the other nice Jewish boys were attending their favorite Chinese takeout restaurants, we were able to honor the sacred evening at a beautiful, historical church. We made it home to exchange gifts around 11 p.m. After an awkward but sweet proposal, I said yes. It was later that night, after calling my family and too much champagne, that I laid in bed thinking, now what?
Yes, I was raised in a “Christian” family. By this I mean, we had religion – I went to church, I went to Sunday school, we prayed at bedtime and meals. I believed in God. I have always believed, but as a teenager and young adult, I looked for reasons not to believe. I was famous for arguing with the priests and nuns at my Catholic schools – it is in my nature to argue. Religion fascinated me, all religions. I went on to get my undergraduate in world religions and art. I was hooked, I then received a Masters in Cultural Anthropology. I have spent many years searching, questioning, and asking. I have traveled far and wide. I have spent time on Native American Reservations, Buddhist monasteries, temples, Muslim markets, hippie festivals, and new age communes. Believe me when I say, there are A LOT of different opinions and beliefs out there. As humans, it is in our nature to seek answers, to seek God. I have never found any reason in my heart or mind, historically or culturally, not to believe the bible as truth…every word of it. People ask me, how can you be an Anthropologist and believe in creation? I ask, how could I not?
Which brings me back to my decision to marry my husband… As I lay in bed that night, I started to worry. Would I be able to continue my walk with Christ and this man? As I said, I was raised Christian, but at this time in my life, I was a very young in my relationship with Jesus. I had become “born again,” e.g. given my life to Jesus only months before my engagement. His family was lukewarm at best to Christianity. How would I raise my children? Would I have to choose between my Savior and the love of my life? I was stressed out, I couldn’t sleep. I worried, I prayed, I made long distance phone calls. The next morning, my new fiancé came to me at work and asked if we could go to lunch together, “we need to talk about last night”, he said. I thought, well, here is the answer to my prayers, he is going to ask for the ring back. His dad didn’t approve, or he reconsidered. Much to my surprise he said “ I know you want kids and I want you to be the mother of my children, and I know you want to raise them Christian, I am totally fine with that.” Wow! What a relief, my prayers were answered, just like that.
My husband is still not a follower of Jesus, but sometimes he walks the path better than I do. He often puts me in my place when I am snide or ungrateful and reminds me how we chose to raise our kids. He reads the scripture at dinner when it is his turn, he wisely chose the Godparents for our children and stood by my side through two baptisms. I know God has a plan for him, in His purpose and His time. He will find Yeshiva. In the meantime, he has provided me with the legacy of two wonderful, Jesus loving, kind-hearted children. For this, I am thankful. I am blessed.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there. Matthew 19:14-16
For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 1 Corinthians 7:14
Written by: a wife and mommy goyeh
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