Recently I performed a wedding service for the daughter of dear friends. My wife and I made a trip out of it, arriving a few days early, and staying a few days after the big event. That gave us time with our friends ... unscheduled time for conversation and reflection.
During one of our times together as guys, Paul and I talked about several important things, and it nourished our souls to dig down deep and share life together. On one occasion the conversation turned to our wives, and we began thinking about the world they live in, and the job they had done raising our children.
We both agreed we were singularly blessed to have wives - full partners - who cherished the opportunity to bear and raise children, facing the myriad tasks, challenges, and fears that accompany it.
We reflected on the uncommon blessings we both enjoyed. He has four children, and I have three. All seven have been drawn savingly to Jesus Christ, and love the church. Six of the seven are married, each to a devoted and vibrant Christ-follower, while the seventh is engaged to an amazing woman of God.
Our families have not had to deal with teenage rebellion, drug and alcohol abuse, criminal activity, sexual promiscuity or any of the many pains parents endure. And, as an added bonus, our kids all enjoy being with us, and being with one another. It is a great joy indeed!
As we talked about our extended families, and circle of friends and acquaintances, we had to admit our families were unusual. So many folks we know are in anguish over wayward children, fractured marriages, immoral choices, and all kinds of addictions. As we talked, we could think of some things that contributed to the stability and godliness of our families, but we had to admit we were no more deserving of God's favor than those around us. It has been all of grace.
That is not to say there aren't significant reasons - on the human side - for the happiness we have as families. There are many, but one in particular stands out.
Our wives dedicated themselves to live Christ out before our kids. From before conception, they prayed for our children, preparing themselves to serve, instruct, discipline, and love our kids without reservation.
Both our wives have amazing skill sets. They are creative, dynamic, charming, loving, talented, and could easily have been successful in the marketplace. But for them both, motherhood was the highest calling. And while others may think they sacrificed career and acclaim to be a "stay at home" mom, they would tell you their calling was superior to any other.
And, by the way, they would also tell you they did anything but "stay home." They probably put more miles on cars than do most commuters running errands, doing the shopping, and getting the kids to and from practice, youth group, lessons, school, the mall, and hundreds of sleepovers.
And they loved it. They worked hard at it. And most of all, they were great at it.
Today our children understand the singular privilege they enjoy in having a mother that is uncommon, extraordinary, and fully committed to Christ and to their success.
As my friend and I concluded, our wives have trophies that greatly surpass any temporal awards ever given. Their trophies are seven outstanding young men and women, whose hearts are passionate for Christ and his church, and who are now passing the torch of love, virtue, and godliness to the next generation.
King Lemuel said it best: "An excellent wife ... who can find one? She is far more precious than jewels." (Proverbs 31:10).
We both found one, and nothing in this life has brought us more joy. Cherylyn and Chris ... we love you!