On Sundays I will usually post something about the most important person in my life, Jesus. If it is not about Him or His Father or His Spirit then it is often that I write about the greatest gift He has ever given me – the gift of life though His sacrifice on the cross. I love to write about my King because I have, through unexpected grace and mercy, been made to know Him. Today is March 8th, however, so I have the rare chance on a Sunday to focus on the second greatest gift that He has ever given me. Her name is Amy. I am highly and happily privileged to call this lady my wife.
I met Amy in 1996 at church. She was connected via marriage to a family of a pastor for whom I occasionally preached. I was serving already on staff at Meadow in a bi-vocational capacity and she came to the College & Career class I happened to be teaching one Sunday. We developed a quick friendship and I eventually worked up the courage to ask her out on a date. I pulled out all the stops and shot for the moon as I asked her to be my date and accompany me and another young couple to – watch this – Captain Billy’s Fish House in downtown Lawrenceville. Yeah, I knew how to impress a woman. So between the fried cod, tartar sauce and hushpuppies, a romance was birthed. She agreed to a second date and the rest is history.
Just about a year to the date we met, Amy became my wife and I received the privilege of being her husband. Many people told us (primarily her) not to marry one another. They said we would not make it because we are so different. We ignored their counsel and went on to cultivate and enjoy one of the strongest and happiest marriages I personally know of. Our differences in personality have never been large enough to undermine our binding element: Jesus’ love for us and our desire to live in that together as one. Amy prefers a behind the scenes life and doesn’t revel in the up-front action of life and ministry. She is highly skilled and deeply nurturing in small settings – one on one, or with a handful of other women. An auto collision in 2011 nearly stripped me and our children of her. She endured more than a dozen surgeries, a month in the hospital, another few months immobilized at home, several months of physical therapy and the loss of her full mobility (which we still petition God to return to her and believe that He will someday). Her best friend who was her mom left this world as a result of that collision and Amy misses her most deeply on Amy’s birthday, March 8th…today. She lives with constant physical pain because of her injuries and days like today add a layer of emotional hurt that very few of you will be able to note. Amy doesn’t make it all about her. My lady is strong. She is stronger than me in so many ways. She loves people and is tender but can live with the reality that she is often misunderstood. She and I committed to the Lord that she would first serve our family and then her church family. Meadow has been wise to see this as God’s will for every Christian wife and mom and has never pressured her to break that template simply because she is married to me. As her husband I find every earthly thing I need in this one solitary human being. She takes substantial care of me, her happy man, in every way a wife can care for her husband. My kids are beginning to understand what a treasure they have in their mom as they hear their peers tell of their own home lives which do not always contain the element of a mother who says No to so many things so that she can live out a Yes for her children. Amy taught me the reality of consecrated motherhood and I am so deeply pleased to be an observer of it as she consistently lives it out in our home.
My wife is a Spirit-filled Christian. I live with her and see her consecration to Jesus every day. She is gifted by the Holy spirit in ways that never make it onto the stage on Sundays and I am enriched by her walk with Jesus. With each new season the depth of her commitment to Christ grows before my eyes. She worships at home. She worships at church. She drives our children around the church we serve and prays as the Spirit leads while driving circles on the three levels of the parking lot. Just driving and praying, praying and driving. She has called out some of your names as she does this. She will stand on the platform and sing to her Shepherd today. The metal in her right leg will ache but the vast majority of people who watch her will never think she is in pain. The plates and screws and rods in her leg and hands hold the cold temperature during the winter and cause her to throb. Her response? Stand up there and lead worship with the others on the team because Jesus’ love for Amy is more potent than the pain within Amy. She models perseverance for us and I am often struck by it because, as a pastor, I have seen better-enabled people commit far less with far more resources. If anyone could have quit on God or her church it might have been a woman who lost her mother, her mobility and her momentum at the hands of a distracted driver who crossed the center line. She has done nothing but model very powerful grace as she presses through all of the bad to discover the glorious goodness of the Savior who remains her greatest treasure. Amy is a woman of God, my best friend, a source of kindness to anyone who will allow her and a model of grace for any woman who wants to press more deeply into Jesus. She will not flaunt it, never force it and is a confident enough woman not to allow for anyone to seek to manipulate her because of who she is married to. She’s not trying to impress anybody. She’s seeking to finish her race well. Her identity is rooted firmly in Jesus, not Jeff.
Happy 40th birthday to the prettiest, kindest, most consistent person I know. I don’t mind posting it publicly that I am in love with you and that I could not imagine doing this crazy life with anyone else by my side. I will hold your hand and help you over curbs forever. I will remain behind you as you have to take your time down stairs. We will skip escalators and ridge elevators the rest of our days together. I will push you in wheelchair and give you your showers all over again if it ever came to that. I won’t have to think twice. I will seek to grow in ways that make our son a man of integrity and purpose and to offer our sweet daughter every chance to become like her mother because I do not know of a single person I would rather that she emulate. I love you far more than when I did at our wedding. I like you more now than I did back then too. On your birthday I want the whole world to know that I am married to a winner and, as you are stepping more fully into your God-imparted capacity, I am your biggest fan.
Happy birthday, love. You are my favorite.
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