Keller Family

The Keller Family

The following is a post by Kelly Keller, also known as KellKell, a moniker that was first coined by her high school students some years back, one which has stuck with her through five children, two cross-country moves, and countless adventures.  Read more about Kelly and her musings at kellkell.com.

My husband is building a wall in our backyard. It wasn’t part of our scheduled projects for this summer; it became a need after our pool project became too complicated and took out half the hill in the backyard. To prevent the new sidewalk from sliding down the hill as its predecessor did, he is building a retaining wall.

He also built a wall at our previous residence. The children helped as much as they could at their young ages. They could carry a brick at a time and tired quickly, preferring instead to play in the dirt. While they pushed their little trowels around in ditches, he patiently chipped away the North Carolina red clay, levelled, adjusted, poured stone dust, leveled some more, and set the brick. Again and again, day after day, he faithfully labored until the final brick was in place. When that wall was finished, we talked about it as a significant family achievement. He proclaimed it to be “The Great Wall of Keller.”

We have five children ranging in ages from 6 to 14, and I homeschool them. As with other families, we experience occasional evenings when Mom Has Had Enough. We sit at dinner wearing our sin and shortcomings all over our faces. The middle children bicker, the teenager sulks, and another child cries about a seemingly minor detail of life. I am too impatient with them; my nerves are stretched thin and taut from the persistence of their sin and mine.

David steps in, chips away at our self-reliance, and levels us out. Time after time, he intervenes when I have nothing left. He will speak calmly to the sulky teenager, hug the crying child and make her laugh, and forge bonds of peace between the arguing ones. The children listen differently to him and yield under his influence.

The longer we are married — we celebrate sixteen years later this summer — the more I realize how counter-cultural it’s becoming to do what my husband does. He goes to work every day, comes home to us each evening, reads aloud to the children, and sleeps here every night. He is present. He is active. He is building a wall around our home as well — one of faithfulness and self-sacrifice.

This past weekend was Father’s Day weekend. It should have been a time to celebrate him. However, David’s weekend was completely consumed with other people. I was on staff at a faith and creativity conference, one that involved early mornings and long days. He made sure I had what I needed for that assignment, because he knows that writing brings me to life in a way other things don’t. While I was juggling my duties there on Saturday, he was helping another family get settled in their new home. He hung blinds, ran errands, and cut down a tree. When he was done there, he came and helped clean up at the conference. Sunday was the same: he was other-focused on a day that was supposed to be about him.

Faithful marriages and solid families are not forged with a day’s effort. I am grateful to be married to a man who puts in the time required, with days upon days and years upon years of faithful labor. He is building a wall, and it is a blessing.

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