Hello, remember me?  I’ve been busy and I feel like God’s still telling me to break from the blog for a little while, even if people think it’s died now, or I’ve died now or whatever. :)  In any case, my thoughts have been heavy as leaden bricks lately, as well as my family’s, and I thought I would share something my mom wrote on her blog.  Thanks, mom.  It was truth and made me feel a little better.  Love you guys.

“It has been two years, this month, since our son-in-law, Nathan, (Lauren’s husband) died. At his funeral, Lauren had asked me to talk about him as a man, husband, and father.  These were the thoughts that came to me, and I wanted to publish them as a way to remember this most precious man.

Mike and I have always told Lauren, Ryan, and Patrick that if we got to choose our kids all over again from a million kids, we’d choose them again. And if we got to choose our son-in-law all over again from a million sons-in-law, we’d choose Nathan.

Lauren never dated anyone before Nathan, so I always felt that she would recognize who she was looking for when he came along.  And she did.  She told us she had met this guy, but she didn’t describe how good-looking he was, or how intelligent he was, or how athletic, or how driven he was.  Instead, her description of him was that he had just taken a group of inner-city boys on a campout; and, since he couldn’t afford to go to his mom’s for Thanksgiving, he instead had invited a group of international students to his apartment and he was going to make them a traditional Thanksgiving feast.

Lauren and Nathan started dating in January, and by the time he moved to Chicago (for the semester) two or three weeks later, they were committed.  It was such a whirlwind; we didn’t even get to meet him before he left.  But while he was there, they spent really quality time each day on phone calls, emails, and even wrote real live letters to each other.  Lauren read me one of his 16 page letters, and I thought this is the man we want our daughter to marry.

In March, he was able to come back to Dallas to visit. I had spoken to him on the phone, but it was our first chance to spend a weekend with him. This was a very important man to our family, and we did not take it lightly at all.  So the day came.  He walked into our home, sat down at our dining table, and he. . . . . . . . .  tooted!  Welcome to Nathan’s world.

After that, almost every weekend, he made a 7 hour flight down here(with the connections), stayed a day or two, and then had to fly 7 hours back to get to work.  It was such a labor of love, and he went to great lengths to court this young woman.  They spent hours talking, challenging each other, and discovering where they wanted their lives to go.  And all along, as he stayed with us, we got to know him well.  He called me in April, and asked if I would pick him up at the airport at 4:30am because he wanted to surprise Lauren and officially ask her to marry him.

When we got back from the airport, I got him temporarily set up in the kitchen as he composed himself.  As I left him alone, I have the sweetest memory of this godly man reading his Bible, with a single lamp on in the house, memorizing what he wanted to say as he offered his life and his love to our daughter.  I could hear him quietly going up the stairs, walking into Lauren’s dark room where she was sleeping, and thinking about him quoting from the Song of Solomon, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me.”  It was so very meaningful.  (It was, however, temporarily halted when Lauren awoke in the dark and momentarily thought it was her brother Patrick.  But it worked out just fine.)

This is a man who understood at his young age how to be the head of his family, and Lauren wanted to be submissive to him.  It really was the way the Bible describes it if the man is allowing Jesus to lead him first. He did not use control, or demands, or ultimatums.  He used love, logic, strength, support, and prayerful direction, and won the respect and admiration of his bride.  He was the Watchman on the Wall for his family.

I wish you could have seen the look on his face one day when he, Lauren, and I were talking and she told him that she trusted him more than anyone else in the world.  What a blessing on a husband for a wife to tell him that.

They learned very early on how to truly communicate.  I told Lauren that they were blessed in that they never went through early marriage discord.  God just worked on their hearts and gave them the opportunity to not waste time in needless bickering.  In October, when it was Lauren’s birthday, she called me in the afternoon to tell me she thought Nathan had forgotten it.  She wanted me to call him and try to indirectly remind him.  Her only concern was that she did not want him to feel bad if he missed it.  They made the effort to keep their eyes on the important things in a marriage, and they were rewarded for it.

The gifts he gave her were always unique.  I watched as this fisherman, hunter, skier, mountain climber sat on our couch for several days macrameing a necklace for her for their anniversary.  Or, how he set up a camera in downtown Denton when all the Christmas lights were on and took some beautiful photos of the two of them, and then cut out the mat and frame to give her for Christmas.  Or, the day he called to find out how to

make a robe for her, with no pattern, even though he had previously only stapled his badges on his scout uniform.  He knew how to give.

I remember when they first got back from their honeymoon.  They had just started moving their stuff in the apartment that week, so it was a wreck.  While they were gone, Ryan, Patrick and I went over every night and put stuff away and cleaned it really well, set the table, put out the candles and the flowers for them so it would be nice when they walked in.  I’m so glad we did.  As they were leaving our house to drive back to theirs for the first time, I mentioned that they were going to their own little home.  Nathan stopped and thought about it for a minute and said, “I have not had a home of my own since I was 15.”

Then two years later, God blessed them with their very own house.  I walked into our mortgage broker at work, and said, “What are the chances of two 23-year olds with no money, barely a job, barely any credit, getting into a house?”  He said, “Pretty good!”  Thirty days later they moved in, and God gave Nathan and his little family a safe place to lay their heads.

Two months later, Jack was born, and I got the privilege to be there, while Mike and friend Carter waited right outside the door. Nathan was so calming, and supportive.  In fact, there was one point where the midwife asked Lauren if she wanted some drugs, and she said that maybe she did want drugs.  Nathan gently reminded her of their goals, and said, “You don’t want drugs.” Then Lauren repeated, “I don’t want drugs.”  Nathan nor I had ever seen a baby being born(at least from that perspective), and we both stood a little stunned that just as the top of Jack’s head was coming, we silently, but collectively, thought that it did not really look like a wrinkled baby’s scalp.  Nathan was still so calm.  He later told me he thought Jack was being born with an exposed brain, which is better than me, because I thought he looked like a Shar-Pei puppy.  But, nevertheless, Jack came out with gusto.  The only little thing Nathan missed on his timing was 1-2 minutes after Jack was in the world, Nathan excitedly said, “Lauren, that was great! Let’s have seven of them!”

Nathan was the first person to ever put a diaper on Jack, the first person to ever dress him. It took him about 25 minutes, but he did it.  He was so excited about watching Jack do all the boy stuff – in  fact his name, Jack Elijah Taylor, i.e. JET, would look great on the back of his football uniform.  I loved to tease Nathan, so I said it would also look great on the back of his tuxedo during his piano recital.  Nathan just groaned.

There are quite a few of us that felt Nathan sensed he wasn’t going to live too long.  He did tell Lauren when they were engaged that they might not have a long life together, but they would have a full one.  And, he most definitely kept his promise.

One of my favorite quotes has always been the one from Jim Elliot, “Live, to the hilt, every situation you believe to be the will of God.”  Nathan personified this.  He did  not beat people over the head with the Bible – he just read it, understood it, and lived it.

He was a precious husband, a loving father, and a child of God.  As Nathan moved from this life into the next, the picture I have in my head is of Jesus greeting him, with arms open wide, as He says, “Well done, Faithful Servant.”