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On Friday I was fascinated while searching for photos that illustrate waiting. I was overwhelmed by the thousands of pictures in the holdings of the Library of Congress that have the word wait in the title. This one was particularly thought provoking.

Child of farmer sitting in automobile waiting for father
to come out of general store, Jarreau, Louisiana.
Photo by Russell Lee, January 1939.
Courtesy Library of Congress.

I have seen well cared for children with similar expressions when a shopping trip has been particularly long. Perhaps this was the case here. Her face is clean, her dress is frilly, her hair is well trimmed and looks pretty good after traveling in a automobile with the windows down. Still, there is an expression in her eyes that might be revealing a hard life for one so young.

Though I try always to share thoughts that are hopeful and cheerful, I don’t want to miss the opportunity to offer compassion and empathy for you who are struggling. Please know that none of our lives is perfect and that I do care very much about whatever challenges you may have. I know that many of you are married to devoted Christian men who love you deeply and are working hard at being good fathers. I also know that some of you have lost your husband through death or divorce. Some of you are waiting for your husband to grow in his relationship with God and his family. Some of you are trying to play the role of mama and daddy to children who sometimes wait for mostly or completely absent daddies to come to see them or to children who wait for daddies to grow into the father they really need.

Though I titled these thoughts “Waiting for Daddy,” I want to talk about waiting for husbands, too. I found some great photos of women waiting for their husbands. In this first one, women in the Virgin Islands are waiting for their husbands to come back from fishing. Many women throughout history have waited for husbands who work hard for their families in time consuming or even dangerous jobs.

Housewives at the seashore waiting for the fishing boats
to come, Frederiksted, Saint Croix, Virgin Islands.
Photo by Jack Delano, December 1941.
Courtesy Library of Congress.

These next photos show women who are waiting for their husbands to complete their transactions at auctions. Notice their varied demeanors. Notice too that this mama’s little boy is playing with her purse, a timeless distraction for waiting little ones. Our youngest grandson has spent many happy moments rummaging through my purse. He loves to pretend to clip and file his nails.

Farm wife waiting in the car while her husband attends
an auction, Oskaloosa, Kansas. Photo by John Vachon,
October 1938. Courtesy Library of Congress.

I wonder how many times this lady has waited for her husband through the years, and here she is, waiting again.

Farm woman waiting for her husband at an auction
near Tenstrike, Minnesota. Photo by John Vachon, 
September 1939. Courtesy Library of Congress.

One key to a long-lasting marriage is doing things together. Sometimes those will be things that both enjoy doing. At other times, one spouse may enjoy the activity much more than the other one does, but the less interested spouse joins in anyway simply so they can be together, while being grateful to be included.

These women look as if they have waited a tad too long to be happy. I hope they were nice to their husbands anyway on the way home.

Women wait while their husbands bid at the auction
of the farm of Mr. Anthony Yacek, near Derby, Connecticut.
Photo by Jack Delano, September 1940.
Courtesy Library of Congress.

The following are some humble suggestions about helping your husband. Your role as wife and mother is challenging sometimes. His role of husband and father is, too.

As a homeschooling mother, you have many responsibilities. Sometimes it’s easy to give your husband the dregs — you know, what is left over after you’ve given to everyone else all day. Don’t do that today. Give your husband yourself. If you were giving a special present to someone, you might buy pretty wrapping paper and put a fancy bow on top. Wrap yourself up in your prettiest clothes and give your husband a big smile when he sees you today. Look so good that your children will ask you if you’re going somewhere.

He who finds a wife finds a good thing
And obtains favor from the Lord.
Proverbs 18:22

God created each of our husbands to be unique. Think about your husband. What are his specific needs and desires? How could he use your help today? Think about how you can be his suitable helper. Do something today to help him with a specific need.

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone;
I will make him a helper suitable for him.”
Genesis 2:18

Today, be gentle with your husband. Smile gently. Give him a gentle pat every chance you get. Give him gentle hugs and kisses. Speak gently. Enjoy the assurance that this is precious in the sight of God.

[Let your adornment be] the hidden person of the heart,
with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit,
which is precious in the sight of God.
1 Peter 3:4

God knows your needs and He cares about each need, large or small. In 1 Peter He offers this comfort for women who long for their husbands to be godly.

In the same way, you wives,
be submissive to your own husbands
so that even if any of them are disobedient
to the word, they may be won without a word
by the behavior of their wives,
as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.
1 Peter 3:1-2

My friendships with women who have lost their husbands through death have taught me only a little of the deep sorrow they experience. Some lessons we learn fully only when we experience them ourselves. This is true about the great sorrow of divorce, too. God’s message to Judah in Isaiah 1 shows how He wants us to treat children without parents and women who have lost their husbands.

Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight.
Cease to do evil,
Learn to do good;
Seek justice,
Reprove the ruthless,
Defend the orphan,
Plead for the widow.
Isaiah 1:16-17

Psalm 68 tells us how God treats them Himself.

A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.
Psalm 68:5


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