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To all the Men in My life.

Her husband Joseph, a righteous man unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly (Matt 1: 19).

Today I am thinking of all the men in my life. Starting with my dad, who died when I was eight years old. My mom was a 26-year-old widow with three children under ten to rear. Our situation was dire. But I had two uncles who were always available to give us money or buy us Christmas clothes when needed. I also had a fun uncle who always made us laugh, took us to the public pool, and bought bunny chows. Thank you.

God gave me two brothers. From one, I am learning how to persevere in prayer like the friend who came at midnight. The other inspires me because he is a reflection of our good Father.

Then there were my two childhood pastors. One was a strict, holiness man who taught me that God is holy and that no one will see God without holiness. The other believed God called me into ministry and drove me to the Nazarene Theological College.

I was also blessed with many male friends. Good conversation partners, a great source of fun and laughter, and a reservoir of knowledge. I value the contribution of every single one.

At the college, I met Fili. His love, care, and protection were like a healing balm to my bruised soul. He always pushed me to reach higher. He cooked, cleaned, and cared for our children, so I could pursue God's holy calling. My son Emanuel made me laugh, warmed my heart, and taught me many precious lessons.

Then there was a long line of churchmen who empowered me with grace and patience. I am sure they saw my weakness, but they gave me opportunities to serve, scholarships, encouraged, and taught me. To them, I say thank you.

There was one man whose self-centered sinfulness tried to snuff the light in me, but how can he compare to the long line I just mentioned? His legacy is crushed by the army of the sound, righteous men who, on the command of my heavenly Father, took care of me.

The story of Joseph is interesting. The angel actually calls him to take care of Mary. Mary got pregnant by who knows whom, and Joseph, a kind and righteous man, resolved to divorce her in private. However, the angel appears to him and basically says. Joseph, don't divorce Mary. She has conceived by the Holy Spirit, and I need you to take care of her.

This was when women could not own land or testify in court, and if a woman was caught in adultery, she could be stoned to death. So, God basically looked at Mary, and in a reverse Garden of Eden type of way, he said it was not good for Mary to be alone. I will go talk to Joseph to be her helper.

And Joseph did just that. First, he took Mary, registered her as his wife, and he provided for them with his carpentry. Then, when they were in danger from King Herod, he took his little family to Egypt until the risk passed. Joseph also took the boy Jesus to the temple, to teach him the ways of God.

Joseph's story sort of fades out in the gospel. We don't know what actually happened to him. But the son he raised became the savior of the world. In Jesus Christ, the legacy of Joseph, the righteous man, lives on. We, the church of Christ, owe this faithful man of God an outstanding debt.

I am so thankful that God still calls righteous men to come alongside us female ministers. Yes, sisters can do it for themselves. Still, it is a beautiful picture of the restoration of Edenic relationships when we do it with our brothers.

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