Today is my wife Hope’s 44th Birthday; & as a part of our families celebration of the gift of her life, love & faith, I am re-posting this blog:


It was one of the proudest moments of my life. It ranks up there with becoming a Christian, championship football seasons, passing the Camp Ridgecrest “Little Chief” test, my wedding day, becoming a father, a few special ministry moments and glorious experiences with the Living God. Some of the neighborhood boys had decided to start a club (6-10 yr olds). So, after extensive planning and intense preliminaries….they set out to build a tree-house …their club-house. After the basic construction from scrap wood and spare nails was done, they put the finishing touches of childhood craftsmanship in place…their stamp of authenticity, -graffiti. There were some splotches and lines of various colors, a few signatures (if you could call it that), a couple of ? symbols, and the crowning achievement…the club-house credo writ large on the exterior wall for all to see. Now, if you are a parent, have been a summer camp counselor, or did a lot of babysitting (say 2nd to 6th graders); then, this is nothing new to you. The list of “club” rules and members is a normal part of learning to both write and relate (I think). And, I must admit that our daughters tend to be much more serious and creative while universally embracing the “no boys, and especially no brothers allowed” doctrine during those early years. However, nothing could have prepared me for the neighborhood boy’s club-house graffiti credo. No, it wasn’t your traditional “No Girls Allowed,” nor a more conventional no sisters or adults clause. It was a new, radically different, undeniably bold and revolutionary statement…..”No Sam’s Mom!!!” WOW! The elementary exclamation of exclusivity, the kid’s key to liberty…the club-house commandment and battle-cry…the castle rampart for protection. Do you get it? This was not a prohibition of all women or parents, but of “1.” Somehow in the infant, imaginative and warrior obsessed minds of these youth; they had focused in on the “1” ultimate opponent they did not want to have to face…“Sam’s Mom,” my wife Hope. They knew (as I do) instinctively and experientially, this “1” woman was there and would get involved if needful. That’s it! Involvement, concern, action was her character; and she had and would serve as a boundary to adolescent whims and attitudes, while providing a voice of wisdom and conscience. How often our souls and our children are threatened spiritually and we need someone to discern, speak up and get involved to stave off the assault. The world’s system, postmodern culture and media constantly promote ideas and images that place children’s lives at risk by making false beliefs and sinful activities appealing and applauded. Worse still, is the corresponding spiritual fascism that labors to erase parents, disdain all authority figures and eliminate the Christian faith and God from “normal” life experience. The biggest lie is humanistic, and proclaims that we may live this life on our own, for selfish pursuits and pleasures, and with no reference to either the Almighty or our want…need of piety or devotion. But not on Hope’s watch. Every neighborhood needs a “Sam’s Mom,” and every family needs an initiator of conversation about values and consequences. Please understand, I in no way am suggesting the oft experienced religious, controlling or condemning parenting; but rather the grace and truth that says, “Have you thought about what that would feel like if it was you? Could we talk and pray about that for a few minutes?” What I’m endorsing is the Pr. 31 “virtuous woman;” the Christian mother whose “kindness brings conviction” and whose “gentleness makes greatness!” Hope, that’s who you are. You are beautiful, holy, awe-inspiring and lovely beyond compare. Solomon saw and said it by Spirit-inspiration, the neighborhood boys experienced it and I know and love it, “Who is this who shines like the dawn; as beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun, awe-inspiring as an army with banners?” She is the “1” coming up out of the wilderness, leaning on her beloved, full of ardent, unrelenting passion (SOS 6:10, 8:5-7). Hope Buhler, I am forever grateful for who you are. As a gift of life, graced with wisdom and beauty, you are uncommon…precious, priceless. Your faithfulness is a pillar in our love and family. Your strong convictions, fierce loyalty and fiery faith anchor me. Your spiritual sensitivity, personal vulnerability and brutal honesty refine me. Your depth of devotion, high aspirations, width of counsel and the length of your sacrificial-love has touched Heaven and reached my soul…marking my life eternally. Words cannot express my gratitude for who you are, what you do….how you live, love, believe and serve. You cared and got involved with me, our children, their friends, our neighbors and the innumerable company of souls that have benefited from you “fearlessly diving in.” I will never forget you watching me, writing me, worshipping next to me, our times of spiritual wrestling and soul-wrenching prayer, waiting in desperation…hoping in the Lord, and wondering together. You have been to me and all who truly know you, God’s goodness and truth. You are tried, trusted and treasured. You are pure joy, and can only create unhappiness by being absent.
With all my heart and sincere thanks, Your Husband, Chip. “Je t’aime plus qu’ hier moins que demain.” I love you more than yesterday, Less than tomorrow! P.S. Hope…Sarah and I have 2 words for you………. “kindness!”