‘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 have been surrounded by amazing women….
Grandma Rosie was her name, and she was my maternal grandmother. She passed away in 1993, but not before she made significant influence into the life of her children and grandchildren. She was deeply loved by those who knew her. She had a delightful smile and twinkling eyes, and her ability to cook up a storm was legendary. I'm not typically a fan of pumpkin pie, but hers had changed my mind. She also was a world-class knitter. There are still some sweaters and afghans around that bear her creative mark. She lived through the Great Depression and consequently lived a simple life in a modest home in Spokane, WA. She was beautiful and loved her family deeply.
My paternal grandmother passed in 2014. Her health was failing and her memory gone, and she lived to be 97.5. She 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. A while back 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. My grandparents 'adopted' them as their own. My Gramma Erma was full-blooded Swede and was tough as nails, but she loved her family.
Judy’s mom Ramona passed in 2017. Judy’s mom was an incredible treasure. She could make me laugh like no other and her bold witness for Christ was unexcelled. I learned much 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’d find that no one was a stranger to her. Her life had truly been lived for others and her latter days were spent caring for her elderly friends.
My own mom is a rich treasure as well. She raised three headstrong rambunctious boys and lived to tell about it. She and my dad will soon be married 64 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. Her kids, grandkids, and great grandkids are always on the receiving end of her many kindnesses.
I have five amazing daughters. Each one unique and each one gifted in so many ways.
Lydia, our youngest, is now a young married woman. She and Renard have soon been married two years. 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 (She once asked me how the motorcycle riding high-school flunkie got the high-school honor roll cheerleader! To which I still don't know the answer!). Children and adults love her. Her friends 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.
Alexis in my daughter-in-law. She is the best thing to ever happen to my son Nate. Nate and Alexis have been married six years. She is incredibly bright and stunningly beautiful and she is the best mom to her two young daughters. Alexis has a very difficult job of her own as an emergency services dispatcher, but compounded with being the wife of a law enforcement officer she has a quite difficult role. She has a wonderful sense of humor, and is able to keep track of Nate's keys and wallet!
Esther is my third oldest. She and Tim have been married 17 years and they have four beautiful children. Esther is quiet, pensive, bright, very capable, 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 as the day is long. She teaches her children well, is an excellent cook, and always makes sure we are well fed. In fact, her home is often a revolving door of hospitality. She has an amazing flower garden that is the envy of those that see it. We have great conversations, 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. She is tough as nails but tender as well. Hannah and Jim have two beautiful children and they've been married 19 years. Jackson is the family athlete and Bella is Hannah’s ‘mini-me’. Hannah is the diligent student in the family and has several degrees in nursing. Her vegetable garden is a thing of beauty. 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 been married 24 years and have four beautiful children. They are incomparably generous and are always looking for ways to help and serve others. Sarah can make a meal for an army on a moment's notice. 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, quick to overlook a fault, a faithful friend, and is always glad to make sacrifices for others. Our home bears the marks of her love and care, and her flower garden is stunning this year. 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.
Mother's Day 2020