Jen Jeffrey Billington: The Dragon Slayer

Tuesday, August 14, 2018 - by Jen Jeffrey Billington
Jason Billington
Jason Billington

In the wee hours of the morning I woke up and began praying for my husband. If I wake hours before it is time to get up, I may fall back asleep while praying and then continue when I wake again or throughout my day. But this morning, I was overwhelmed with such love for him and I stayed awake praying until it was nearly time to get up.

It is very important that I pray for him. Not that I have any power in myself or in my words, but that my heart seeks God’s power and I ask for His protection, love and guidance for my husband’s day. Why is this so important?

My husband is a dragon slayer.

To the rest of the world Jason may seem like a normal man who wakes up and goes to work, cracks a few corny jokes and serves in the community, but my husband is so much more. He understands that it is God who is our provider, but Jason is the willing vessel. Not because he ‘has to’ but he ‘gets to’. It’s a privilege. He knows this. And he shows gratitude for the position is he is given, as husband, as a father, a grandfather, an insurance agent, a board member, a greeter at church.

Sometimes when I look at him, I see the sweet baby he was with those long angelic lashes that curl on the ends. Sometimes I see the sweet boy who is playful and adorable. But mostly, I see the man he is, who is in love with me and who takes care of his family. A family God gave to him.

It wasn’t a “packaged deal” when Jason and I married four years ago, because even though I am very close to my three sons, they are all grown men and there was no need for Jason to be a ‘dad’ to them. But he is. He chooses to be a dad. He never biologically had his own children, but he was definitely meant to be a father and a grandfather.

It is pretty obvious that I love my sons with all my heart, but even they understand God’s design that I am to put my husband first. And I can do that wholeheartedly, because I trust Jason to love my sons as much as I do. Not to take the role away from my sons’ biological father, but Jason does not treat them as someone else’s children. He has taken them into his heart as his own.

This man would not have to do any more than to be kind to them, but he does do more. That’s just who is and, he knows that my strongest desire is for my children to have a chance in this world.

My boys and I didn’t have it easy when they were growing up, so they didn’t get the customary ‘start to life’ and as my twin sons are in their early thirties, they were both at a place in their life where they needed a little help in establishing themselves.

Jason has stepped into the role of mentoring these young men. Helping them in having something to offer their own families in the future. One twin already has two children he has full custody of and who are very much a part of our lives. We have a ranch a mile up the road from where we live and we are remodeling the house there for the twins and grandarlins to live in.

They are team players with us. They are a great help to Jason and I. They do things around the house and at the ranch as we all live together waiting for the ranch house to be complete. And we love it.

Last year “Granddaddy” would take the grandarlins Landon and Kylee to school each morning and I would pick them up. He also assists in coaching their soccer team. He loves his time with them.

Their dad, Jonathan worked at MSU last year and was not able to take his children to school, and this year, he just joined Jason at the agency and is now able to take Landon and Kylee to school himself.

Jason was able to provide a space for Jonathan at the agency and to help him get into the insurance business. Jonathan has been studying for his license to sell insurance and has impressed Jason in taking initiative, in his personality, and in his willingness to serve.

The Murray Insurance Agency began with my husband’s grandfather and uncle and it’s not just another insurance place. It is now a four-generation business, which reaches out to the community. My husband has a heart to give back to others and he has been busy finding ways to incorporate that into his business. I am so proud of him.

Having his childhood friend as his business partner, John Purdom has two lovely daughters, one of whom joined the agency last year, ensuring TMIA to continue to be a family owned business, but Jason was not sure he’d have a family member of his own who would like to keep the Billington side going. Jonathan was a perfect fit and I see good things happening for The Murray Insurance Agency.

Nathan, the younger-by-a-minute twin, moved to Kentucky this year and though he does not wish to make insurance his career, Jason has been supportive and willing to help any way he can as Nathan starts over in a new town. Jason was supportive of my youngest son Andrew, who lived in Kentucky for a while, but moved back to Chattanooga to pursue his career in law enforcement. Jason and I attended his recent graduation and we really could not be more proud of all these young men. Needless to say how much Jason has been a part of my son’s – our son’s lives, but another thing which impressed me when we first started dating is how much he respects and loves his mother.

Peggy Billington is a sweetheart and the best mother in-law I could have asked for. When I saw how he cared for her, it blessed my heart. And the heart is where it all means something.

It isn’t about the financial aspect of what my husband does for others – it’s his heart. Jason has moments of wondering how to meet all of our obligations just as much as the next guy, but because of his giving heart, his concern and love for others, I believe it is why God has provided the opportunities in which Jason has helped others. He has done so much for his 81-year-old mom and she deserves it - she raised a gem of a man.

This article is not to stroke my husband’s ego (in fact, this may embarrass his humble personality a bit) and it is not to brag that I have the best husband. But, if I could describe the feeling I had when I woke up this morning… it was of awe at how the Lord is so good.

The awe you feel when you want to lay on the ground and bury your face and cry out to God in gratitude and tears. What a blessing He has given to me and my family! How good is the Lord to not only give me a husband who loves his family and loves his community – but he really, really loves the Lord. I see him thirsting for more of God.

I see him in Wednesday night bible study, drinking in Brother Ricky’s in-depth teaching. I listen to his heartfelt prayers after we do our devotions every morning to start our day. I see him reading several books to gain more knowledge in becoming a better man and how he best can give of himself that will benefit others. I cry as I write this because I know the treasure I have in him.

When I see my husband thirst for God and desire more of Him, it is sexy to me. I find that so attractive.

Why? Because a man after God’s heart, will care more for mine. I can trust a man like that and lay down my defenses. I am at rest. How many times in my life, did I give of myself and have a man trample my hopes, dreams and my faith? To have a forever husband who loves the Lord like he does – I can trust him to love me. Really love me. Caring for what is most important to me, making me feel loved and beautiful – even when he comes home at lunch and I am still in my pajamas or dirty from being at the ranch, and smelling like a horse.

When I prayed for the man God would have for me, I had been through so much pain in my life that my prayer in what I wanted in a man was simply just “that he truly love me.” I did not care if he was successful or would provide a nice lifestyle, I just wanted that one-of-a-kind love where I was not the only one who gave their whole heart.

God heard my prayer – and then some. I had no idea that I would have all of my dreams met when I gave my heart to Jason, I just wanted to love him. Sure, we are able to have a ranch with horses and animals to love, and he is somehow able to help our families giving what he can financially where it’s needed, but …he is just doing what God has afforded him to do. It is Jason’s heart where he is rich.

For him to be able to love fully and to trust in love – even after being hurt in life… to be ready for adventure, and open to new things, to be willing to live life with me however God leads us – that is where I am most fortunate to love this man!

We recently vacationed in Chattanooga - my home of 30 years and I was not at all surprised how welcoming Jason was with my friends we spent time with, or how they took him into their hearts – they saw what I see in Jason. He is so loving, he’s really funny, and he is brilliant.

He has his master’s in Biochemistry (though he did not pursue becoming a doctor) and he took his beautiful brain toward a different career. As he entered his 50th year of life, he sees the up-and-coming generation and the advances in technology and business are like never before. He doesn’t want to fade into the sunset like a dinosaur. He wants to stay relevant even when he passes the torch.

This morning, Jason began college (again) in this second half of his life. He is attending Murray State University to obtain a master’s in Business. He has a thirst for knowledge and I find that sexy as well! His brain is as beautiful as his brawn.

During one morning prayer after doing devotions together, Jason asked the Lord to help him through his day as he ‘slays dragons’. That phrase stayed with me. It has become my prayer as I see all that my dear husband takes on …for us.

I know what those dragons are. It is jumping financial hurdles, it’s wondering at times if he has what it takes to keep us going, and it is hoping he will find answers in which direction God asks him to go. It is having faith enough to do what God asks. It is keeping good health as he and I have entered our 50s and realizing we aren’t as spry as we used to be. It is thwarting off the enemy when others try to bring him down, or when something threatens our home life.

Dragons come in all sizes and no matter what the day may bring, my husband is faithful to put on his armor every day. Why does he do this?

Because he knows his purpose. He isn’t living for himself. He does it for us. For his wife, his family and his community. He looks into the faces of our grandchildren and he sees the future.

My husband is not building an empire of riches. He is not seeking anything of this world except the building up others. He is Kingdom living. Monetary riches will pass away, but the lives of those he loves is where his heart is enriched.

So when I wake to pray for my knight before he dons his armor, I thank the Lord with all of my being for such a wonderful gift that is my husband. Then I pray for God’s protection over him, I pray for my husband’s thirst for God’s Word, and for guidance in making the decisions he has to make.

So if my knight’s armor doesn’t make it to the clothes hamper at the end of the day, I will not fret. If it seems my daily tasks never end at five o’ clock, but take me well into the night, I am not disheartened. I remind myself of what I asked for – a man to truly love me, and that is a rare find. Our hearts are matched and I will not take that for granted.

No matter what frustrations may come with the daily grind, I remind myself of the bigger picture. God gave me my heart’s desire – a man who loves me. A man who will fight for me – for us. A man who wakes before the sun because it takes time to put on the armor it takes to slay dragons.

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