When I was a little girl, my family and I lived on a small island in Puget Sound, a short ferry boat ride away from Seattle. My grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins lived on the same island, as did our entire circle of friends and acquaintances. Our island was small. Everybody knew everyone else. Our neighbors were like family and our family were our neighbors. Island living was small-town living at its best (and sometimes, at its worst).
Across the street, in a yellow farmhouse that was built in the 20's, lived an elderly couple, Mr. and Mrs. Breeze. Mrs. Breeze was a wonderful, meek gentlewoman. She was tiny, soft spoken and much beloved by my brother and I. On occasion, Mrs. Breeze would appear at the end of her driveway as my brother and I walked by on our way to school. Seeing her, we would trot across the street to give her a quick hug and she would reward us with small paper bags of homemade caramel corn. Our walk to school was bathed in the warm glow of neighborly love and sugary sweetness. We loved Mrs. Breeze.
Mr. Breeze was another story. He was gruff and surly, perhaps even a little bit mean. Any time my brother or I would knock on Mrs. Breeze's door, she would quickly usher us through the living room, past Mr. Breeze and into her sunny, light-filled kitchen. But, no matter how quickly we scampered, we could never escape the living room without at least a little bit of bluster from Mr. Breeze.
Sweet Mrs. Breeze and her cheerful kitchen were well worth mustering the courage to rush past Mr. Breeze. She would seat us at her homey table, pour tall, cold, glasses of milk and set out a pretty, flowered plate full of Vanilla Wafers. To this day I cannot eat a 'nila wafer without think of Mrs. Breeze. Every crisp, golden cookie reminds me of gentleness, kindness and a sunny yellow kitchen.
Although I didn't know it at the time, Mrs. Breeze was an extraordinary woman. Mrs. Breeze had married Mr. Breeze when she was very young. They'd had a family, lived a life. And every day of that life, Mrs. Breeze had prayed. She had prayed for a husband that didn't know the God she served. She had prayed for husband that was mean and sometimes violent. She had prayed for a husband that drove her children away and made them loath to visit. She had prayed for a husband that was unlovable and incapable of loving.
Mrs. Breeze loved Mr. Breeze in a way that is only possible through Jesus. She loved him when he told her she couldn't attend church. She loved him when he grouched at the neighbor children. She loved him with a simple, gentle love - a love that he didn't deserve but was worthy of her Savior. Mrs. Breeze radiated Jesus' love to her husband for over 60 years. 60 years that would have reduced a lesser woman to hopelessness. 60 years that could have hardened her heart and embittered her soul. But Mrs. Breeze understood eternity. She knew that as long as her husband drew breath, there was hope. She trusted that Jesus was her champion and her redeemer and that He heard her prayers. She trusted His word. She had faith that could move a mountain.
And move a mountain it did. When Mr. Breeze was in his late 80's, he came to know Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. He was a changed man. He spent his remaining (few) years cherishing his wife and building relationships with his children. No longer did my brother and I run through the living room on the way to the kitchen, now we stopped to visit, and even hold hands, with this new, jovial man that was Mr. Breeze.
As a grown woman, I know Mrs. Breeze in a way that I never imagined as a little girl. Where I used to see her as a quiet, gentle, tiny lady, I now know that she was a mighty warrior. She battled on behalf of her husband - not against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities. In her quiet and gentle way she led her husband to the throne of Christ, though it cost her much - everything. She persevered, in spite of common wisdom, and gained the world.
Mrs. Breeze was my first Titus 2 woman, even though I was only 7 years old....
"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that none will malign the word of God."
Our marriages are precious. God is faithful. Be that quiet and gentle breeze. It can move mountains.