By a trick of the calendar this year Mother’s Day and my wedding anniversary fall on the same day—today, May 8, 2016. Those of you who know me personally understand my utter disdain for “Hallmark” holidays. I boast that I don’t need a “special day” to celebrate the awesomeness that is embodied in the woman I call my wife and the mother of my children. But the reality is that I totally suck at giving her the honor and thanks she is due on both accounts. So in light of the dual-Hallmark holidayness of today, I offer this confession.
I met my wife Theresa in 1988 and really didn’t like her at first. She was smart, opinionated, and every bit my equal in a debate—all things I could not appreciate as a 22 year old hormone-driven idiot. Yet, beyond the physical attraction there was something about her that got under my skin. She was her own person, confident, and had it together. I saw in her the character traits that I longed for in myself.
I pursued a long-distance relationship with her for a time but shortly took myself half way across the country to be with this fascinating and confounding woman. Our early years were tough, mostly because of me, but we persevered and did the best we could.
In 1996 my wife became a Christian and gave her life to Jesus. I did not understand why or what was happening to my wife, but she began to change in ways that were tangible and very attractive to me.
Years later I too came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ and together we have walked, stumbled, crawled, and tumbled the Christian path for more more than 15 years.
This background is important because my wife did not start out in life with great examples of how to conduct a marriage or how to raise children. Yet, despite all of that, she is an incredible wife, mother, mentor, and teacher.
As I reflect on the woman I share my life with, I am struck by a couple of constant and recurring themes. The first theme is faithfulness. And not just in the obvious sense in the context of a marriage, but in the larger—and more important—sense as a follower of Jesus. She is not one to interrogate scripture for the deepest meaning, but instead she listens to the plain exhortations of scripture and acts accordingly. When it says serve, she serves. When it instructs one to forgive, she forgives. Where we are taught to love unconditionally, she does just that. Her faith is deep, wide, and constantly flowing out from her like a river to anyone fortunate enough to be in her path.
The second theme is service. To say she has a servant heart is almost a cliche. Her profession as a teacher is one of constant service for which she is amazingly well-suited. The dedication to teaching and the amount of energy and enthusiasm she exhibits is unparalleled and she counts it as a great privilege to touch the lives of children in such a meaningful way.
Her love for children extends beyond the classroom and was manifested for years in youth ministry where she mentored groups of teenage girls and led the Vacation Bible School program at our church. I have personally witnessed how the seeds she has sown in the lives of scores of young people have grown and born fruit in the lives of many others. Her simple and steadfast dedication to living the Great Commission continues in her newer roles as a Women’s Small Group leader and Biblical Soul Care counsellor where she helps adult women navigate the path of the Christian life.
But the role to which she was first and most importantly called is that of wife and mother. As a mother, I have had a front row seat to decades of love, patience, sacrifice, growing wisdom, brokenness, sorrow, and joy. I have witnessed a woman grow in her love for Jesus and her reliance on His power to get her through circumstances that would have crushed her in the absence of a deep faith. She is constantly giving, serving, praying, and loving our children. And now with the addition of our granddaughter, I am blessed to watch her tackle her new role as grandmother with grace and wisdom.
As parents we have dealt with the full gamut of joy and sorrows. But through it all my wife, standing firm on the foundation of her faith in Jesus, has been my exemplar. Our faith has grown and as a result, the bonds of our marriage have solidified as well. We know that God has used every trial in our lives to His purpose and His glory. And she is always there to remind me when I sometimes still doubt or wonder “why”.
Theresa is my best friend. She is the love of my life. She is the most beautiful and desirable woman in the world to me. She has allowed me to be who I am, and has never tried to change me—although she has prayed daily for God to refine me for sure! She has stood by my side through countless jobs, financial abundance and times of crushing debt, through successes and failures, and held my head as I wept over lost loved ones and friends. There is no one I would rather see each day, and her touch thrills me more today than very first time I held her hand nearly 30 years ago.
So this is my Mother’s Day confession: I am hopelessly and utterly in love with my wife and feel blessed beyond measure that she can still laugh at my stupid jokes.
Love you, Babu.