Celebrating a special life…
This weekend, we had the wonderful opportunity to celebrate a very special wife and mother. Jody turns 44 years old tomorrow, and while I know some other incredible women, I know no one personally who is like her. Jody is no doubt, one of a kind. There are people who talk about having faith and then there are people who live out their faith. There are people who talk about having a giving spirit and then there are people who show what a giving spirit is all about. There are people who talk about being generous, and then there are those people who are very generous. There are people who talk about what sacrifice is, and then there are those who sacrifice beyond measure for others. To put it plainly, this is my wife – she doesn’t talk about it, she lives it. She doesn’t talk a good game, she puts it on “the field” every day through her life. And, I would be the first to admit, I am who I am today, largely in part because of her faith-filled, giving, sacrificial, generous spirit.
When I think about Jody, Proverbs 31:27-29 frames so much of what her life is today:
27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”
Over our 22 plus years of marriage, I have seen Jody live out the character traits of a Proverbs 31 woman – all the while, embracing a spirit of humility. If it had to be done, she did it. If someone needed help, even in the midst of her hectic life and busy schedule, she was there. Five years ago she went back to work knowing that if we were going to continue to give hope to children who didn’t have any hope and invest our lives in the orphan care initiative, she would have to spend a greater amount of her time outside of the home. She started by working six part time jobs before finding a full time position. We all stepped up to the plate to make this happen and still do today. She didn’t go back to work to build a bigger bank account or to sock money away for retirement. She didn’t do it to send our kids to private school or to live a luxurious life. She didn’t do it to get all of those wants and desires of life. As a matter of fact, our lives have been just the opposite of this. She did it for others…for three little kids and others who needed a home and hope. Even this year, she forfeited all of her vacation to go to China to bring Jackson home. After taking about six weeks off without pay, she then worked the next eight months only having four days off for a family vacation in April – again without pay. There is no doubt, her life is more about others than it is about herself – a rare quality in our culture today.
I am so privileged to call her my wife and our children are privileged to call her their mother. Together, our lives are full beyond measure, not because when we said “I do” so many years ago, we wanted to fill them with the things of this life, because we haven’t and don’t. Our lives are overflowing most days because of the decisions we’ve made over and over again to look beyond ourselves, to make an indelible impression in the lives of others – whether personally or because of our passion to live out the demands of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Today is another special day to recognize and celebrate a wonderful life lived.