‘Ain’t no woman like the one I’ve got.’
- The Four Tops, Ain’t No Woman
‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’
- Proverbs 31:29
‘…to lose your life for another, I’ve heard, is a good place to begin.’
- Andrew Peterson, Dancing in the Minefields
Every year at this time there is a pause to reflect upon those women who have had significant impact in our lives. Truth be known, I am surrounded by amazing women…,
My paternal grandmother is still alive. Her health is failing and her memory is gone, but at 96 there is good reason. She has lived an amazing life. Raised in the rough and tumble mining town of Anaconda, Montana, her life was never easy. With the challenge of alcoholic parents at a young age she took care of her even younger siblings and when the authorities found out all of the children were placed in a state orphanage and were kept there until they could fend for themselves. Life was much more difficult then. She married my grandfather and their marriage was always a challenge. Still, she soldiered on until my grandfather’s death in 1996. My grandmother lived a life in service to others. Last week I had a meal with a couple she and my grandfather befriended in the 60’s; the wife had escaped from East Germany and the husband had escaped from Czechoslovakia while both were under communist rule and they had no friends or family in the states.
Both my mom and Judy’s mom are still alive. Judy’s mom is an incredible treasure. She can make me laugh like no other and her bold witness for Christ is unexcelled. I feel like I still have much to yet learn from Ramona. She has raised four children and worked hard as a farmer’s wife. When the Minnesota winters got too cold she faithfully followed her husband to the Pacific Northwest. And when her husband George died in 1984 Ramona only redoubled her efforts at loving and serving her family. Always quick with conversation, you’ll find that no one is a stranger to her. Her life has truly been lived for others and even at 83 her days are spent caring for her elderly friends.
My own mom is a rich treasure as well. She raised three headstrong motorcycle-riding boys and lived to tell about it. She and my dad will soon be married 60 years and in case you’re counting that’s a long time. She is a faithful Christian wife and mother and doesn’t mind speaking up about it. She loves my dad, her church, and Christ, and her kids, grandkids, and great grandkids are always on the receiving end of her many kindnesses. Just tonight she ‘whipped up’ dinner for a bunch of us here at our place working on a little project.
I have four amazing daughters. Each one unique and each one gifted in so many ways. Lydia, our youngest, is sixteen, but headed for twenty-five. She is mature and intelligent and has a sense of humor and wit that runs deep. We can just look at one another and burst out laughing. She has made it much more difficult for me to be serious about anything anymore (Just tonight she asked me how the motorcycle riding high school flunkie got the high school honor roll cheerleader!). Children and adults love her. Her nieces and nephews can’t get enough of her. Her smile lights up any room. Never concerned about herself, her life has been lived serving others as well.
Esther is my third oldest. She and Tim have been married ten years and they have three beautiful children. Esther is quiet, pensive, bright, and opinionated. She loves her family like a mama bear and heaven help the person that tangles with her. She makes friends forever and is as true blue and loyal as the day is long. She teaches her children well, is an excellent cook, and always makes sure we are well fed. We have great conversation; can incessantly tease one another, and we never really take one another too seriously.
Hannah is my second oldest; picture Sandra Bullock’s character in The Blind Side. No one can make Judy laugh like Hannah. She says and does hilarious things that manage to get to the most ticklish spot on our funny bone. Hannah and Jim have two beautiful children. Jackson is the family athlete and ‘bella is Hannah’s ‘mini-me’. Hannah is the diligent student in the family and just this weekend graduated with another degree in nursing. Hannah exudes kindness and everyone loves her as well. If you are discouraged your cares are her cares.
Sarah is my oldest. She is an entrepreneur, a businesswoman, and a tremendous help to her husband. Sarah and Kevin have four beautiful children. They are incomparably generous and are always looking for ways to help and serve others (Kevin and the two oldest boys spent the day here today installing a drip irrigation system for Judy for Mother’s Day). Sarah’s boys work harder than most men I know, and Sarah and Kevin’s work ethic is the envy of the family. Sarah is compassionate, serious-minded, plainspoken, articulate, and committed to her family. She has a way of always getting to the nub of the matter.
Next is my dear wife Judy. The reason our four daughters are the way they are is because of her profound influence upon them. Judy is funny, reflective, smart, hard working, full of mercy, wise beyond words, longsuffering, a faithful friend, and is always glad to make sacrifices for others. Her life has been lived in serving her family and others. She has shown us what it looks like to suffer well and to come through tremendous trials with her faith intact. There is truly none like her.
In each of these women the grace of God is evident. In each of these women I am blessed beyond measure. Their worth is far above the richest treasure.