So they're not dragons, and he didn't slay them, but don't you just love that smile? Left to right: El Salvadoran, hubby, me, princess
So they’re not dragons, and he didn’t slay them, but don’t you just love that smile? Left to right: El Salvadoran, hubby, me, princess

If you’ve been following my blog long, you know I adore my husband. For so very many reasons! But early in my marriage, I often missed out on his dragon-slaying heroics, not because they weren’t there, but rather, because I was far too focused on the burps and hiccups and casually-tossed dirty laundry. Our marriage changed dramatically when I surrendered fully–my mind, my thoughts, my perceptions–to Christ and began to view my husband through His eyes. (I shared a bit of this in a recent Crosswalk.com article. You can read it here.) Once I began to voice all those accolades God sparked within my heart, a gloriously beautiful and tender thing occurred–those dragon-slaying heroics became more frequent as my husband steadily stepped into his God-given role of provider, leader, and protector.

Today a sweet friend, author of At the Edge of a Dark Forest,(a book I’m reading now and LOVE!!!Connie Almony, talks about her dragon slayer and the impact each of us headshot1have on that hidden hero lurking within each of our spouses. She’s also giving away a copy of her novel, At the Edge of a Dark Forest, to one of you, randomly chosen from the comments left on this post. 🙂

Does Your Man Slay Dragons For You by Connie Almony

Whenever I begin to write a story it always starts as a romance. Of course, my characters take off and do things I’d never have expected when I first “birthed” them (they’re like children that way). But in the beginning, it’s always JUST a romance. With this in mind, I know there will need to be a defining moment where the man must slay a dragon (of some sort) for his lady.

You may think this idea is sexist and old fashioned. “Why can’t the woman slay a dragon for him?” You ask.

Well that’s fine and dandy, and most of my heroines do some slaying too, but if I’m going to fall in love with the man (which is unnecessary for me with the ladies I write) he will need to be willing to take a personal risk to get the heroine what she needs.

In my novella, At the Edge of a Dark Forest, my female protagonist, Carly, explains this idea to her counterpart, Cole, when he teases her about her penchant for reading the genre. He, being a double amputee, wonders if he could measure up as a dragon slayer.

He does!

Why?

dragon-46429-mBecause dragons come in many forms.

Early in my marriage, I’d scheduled one of those free offers to check our heating and air conditioning to clear it for winter service. FREE, I thought, who could pass up FREE? I was a little naïve back then. Of course, after the check, the technician handed me a very long list of repairs we could have done at a “reduced” price by their company if I signed NOW. I was warned, if not done soon, the whole unit would blow, costing me thousands of dollars in the end. My heart pounded. What should I do? I don’t want to miss this opportunity, and I didn’t want to risk the larger expenditure that would surely come.

I called my husband as the technician huffed loudly and tapped his toe in front of me. I could hear the comforting smile in my husband’s voice as he asked to speak to the man. I handed him the phone. They chatted. A few minutes later, the man gave me back the phone and packed his things as my husband told me not to worry. He’d consult a friend who could advise us and potentially do the work for much less than this company. He did, costing a third of what I’d been quoted.

I don’t know why this seemed a big deal to me, but I felt like a dragon had been slayed that day. A dragon in the shape of a scam-artist who’d infiltrated my home and planned to drain me of my life’s blood … or at least some cash. It gave me great peace to know my husband knew how to interrogate this man to get to the truth, to call on resources, and to ensure his family’s home was properly cared for.
My husband slays dragons every day in his office, where he manages employees, ensures goals are met and a salary is gained to feed his family. He is my hero. My knight in shining armor. He is also the biggest encourager in my writing. I am blessed.

I once listened to a woman complain that her husband never thanked her for the work she did in the home. I hear ya lady—it can be a thankless job. But I was stopped cold when she recounted how he asked of her, “When have you thanked me for going to my job every day?”

I wondered, “Had I ever thanked my husband for his provision?” I hadn’t. I try to rectify that now … To thank him for the work he does and most of all delaying HIS dream of being a writer (for which he is very gifted) to provide for his family so I can pursue MY dreams.

Thank you, Rick Almony, for slaying all those dragons!

Have you thanked your dragon-slayer today?

Dark Forest--Final CoverAt the Edge of a Dark Forest:

Cole Harrison, a war veteran, wears his disfigurement like a barrier to those who might love him, shielding them from the ugliness inside. He agrees to try and potentially invest in a prototype prosthetic with the goal of saving a hopeless man’s dreams.

Carly Rose contracts to live with Cole and train him to use his new limbs, only to discover the darkness that wars against the man he could become.

At the Edge of a Dark Forest is a modern-day retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Only it is not her love that will make him whole.

***

Connie Almony is trained as a mental health therapist and likes to mix a little fun with the serious stuff of life. She was a 2012 semi-finalist in the Genesis Contest for Women’s Fiction and was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Winter 2012 WOW Flash Fiction Contest. Her newest release, At the Edge of a Dark Forest, is a modern-day re-telling of Beauty and the Beast about a war-vet, amputee struggling with PTSD.

You can find Connie on the web, writing book reviews for Jesus Freak Hideout, and hosting the following blogs: InfiniteCharacters.com and, LivingtheBodyofChrist.Blogspot.com.
You can also meet her on the following social media outlets: TwitterFacebookPinterest

 

livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this! In what ways does your spouse help you slay dragons? Pause and list them all right now, then thank God for them. It’s easy to lose sight of the heroics in the busyness of life, but they’re there. Let’s take notice! And let’s attempt to respond in kind. 🙂 (using both meanings of the word.)

We all want our spouses to be heros and heroines, but do we also want to be heroic–in our love, encouragement, words, our servanthood, our persaverance, and our commitment to Christ? Because we have no control or say in how our spouses respond. God’s assumed full responsibility for them and their behavior. But we are responsible for our responses–for being our spouse’s helpmate, encourager, and cheerleader. The question is, how are we doing? What are some things you do, each day, to honor the hero in your spouse?

Some ways to show your appreciation:i-love-you-786729-m

1) Tuck a note in his/her lunch or jacket pocket telling him/her what you love most about him/her

2) Send him/her a link to a sappy song, telling him/her it made you think of him/her

3) Buy a card for them and actually send it to them in the mail!

4) Engage in an activity they love (with them, of course!)

5) Buy them their favorite treat and let them know you bought it just for them

6) Send them random texts letting them know you were thinking of them

7) Ask them how you can pray for them then commit to doing that.

Share your thoughts here or at Living by Grace on Facebook.

On Monday during our church’s Vacation Bible School, I taught children the account of the Exodus. We began with Joseph, continuing to the Hebrew’s slavery. After contrasting what life was like for the Hebrews and Egyptians, I asked the children which people group they’d rather be. Seeing only part of the story, they shouted, “The Egyptians!” But once they saw how God rose up in the Israelites’ defense, leading them out of Egypt with a mighty hand, they changed their minds.

Today’s post touches on a similar truth. As humans it’s easy to get caught up in the moment. It’s easy to allow the day-to-day frustrations, concerns, and fears wear us down, but we must always remember, God knows the end of the story–because He wrote it. And He loves us with an incomprehensible love. There’s a phrase in a song I like. It says, “With a strength like no other and a heart of a Father.” God is strong enough to overcome any barrier or difficulty we may face and everything He does is motivated by love. Remembering that makes it easier to move forward in confidence and obedience.

Romans 8:28 by Connie Almony

            Do you ever have those days (or weeks … or years) when everything seems to go wrong and you wonder, “Where is God in all this? Didn’t He hear me praying for things to go well?” Well, we just had one of those days.

            My husband’s shoulder surgery had been scheduled for weeks, and I had planned to be at the hospital with both my kids during the entire process, as the doctor had instructed I be. So when my daughter woke up “tossing her cookies,” I panicked. What was I going to do with my sick child when I was required to be at the hospital? It looked like we’d have to reschedule the surgery, and rearrange our work calendars to satisfy both the surgery and the recovery time.

            My daughter’s penitent gaze grabbed me between pleading phone calls to friends and family to come watch her. “Mom, I’m so sorry I’m sick.” I hugged her and reminded her it wasn’t her fault. It just happened. It was on the tip of my tongue to say this was God’s doing, but I didn’t have the time to explain God’s ways to her between rejections for help from the people I’d been calling all morning long. This seemed to be the one day no one had free.

            My husband, resigned to the fact he’d have to call the surgery center and reschedule, dialed the number. That phone call yielded two important pieces of information. First, I did not actually need to be there for the duration of the surgery, as we were originally told. And, second, when confirming the details, they informed my husband, for the first time, that his surgery had been moved up by two hours … meaning we had to grab our stuff, including a Ziplock container for my daughter—just in case—and run my husband to the hospital and drop him off.

            God is good … even in sickness. I was able to tell my daughter this week that her being sick at that moment turned out to be a blessing. In fact, she felt perfectly fine the rest of the day. But had she not been sick that morning, my husband would never have called the hospital and he’d never have known about the reschedule until it was too late. Just a reminder for me to trust Him in all things.

            … Now if He would only do something about the recovering male body with its arm in a sling that is taking up the living room couch, holding the remote control hostage. Well God?

            Connie Almony’s experience includes working as a Christian Counselor in Columbia, Maryland. She was recently inspired to write a full-length novel by her ten-year old, aspiring-author, daughter.

            Visit Connie at http://livingthebodyofchrist.blogspot.com/ and http://infinitecharacters.com.