My Jesus I Love Thee


By Janel Breitenstein

This past year found me reveling in fifteen years of marriage to a man I deeply admire and who has remained my best friend for all fifteen. I say this carefully, knowing this level of intimacy in marriage is indeed rare—but trusting that all of us, even without it, long for that kind of closeness.

Earlier this year, my in-laws hauled out our wedding VHS. We all joked about our fresh, hopeful, adoring faces admittedly clueless to all that would unspool in years now chronicled in photo albums or vivid memory. I marvel at how much more I cherish my husband than even that giddy day—simply because of the elaborate journey we’ve paced together, with all its potholes, summits, tears.

We’ve journeyed through pregnancies, births, his mom’s death, and most recently our exodus from the known to the vast unknown of Uganda. Our path has made us more married: More one flesh, more inextricable, more closely knowledgeable of each other, more perpetual teammates.

If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now. It resonates within the cavity of my chest, its melody recalls mornings He and I have spent curled on my porch around a cup of tea, the day breaking open before us. I savor when He held me as He placed my son in my arms as I shook with fear. He was there as I prayed while riding my bike on unending country roads, and He’s there as my kids wheel their bikes in red dust with children who look nothing like them.

Our intimacy—the repeated generosity of His penetrating love—does lead me to resign my follies. Charles Spurgeon remarked,

There is nothing in the law of God that will rob you of happiness; it only denies you that which would cost you sorrow.

As in a marriage, why would I hold on to that which divides our oneness, which steals from our private haven?

Today, may God’s incessant displays of love through your years expand your love; may it cause you to surrender more of that which steals, kills, and destroys.

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