My wife is an exemplary woman of beauty, grace, mercy, and love.
I realize, of course, that I'm biased. But my bias is based on good reasons, keen observations, and a over forty years of watching a woman give herself completely to others. She's the kind of person that never seeks attention for her work. In fact, the success of her work (she's a Speech and Language Pathologist) can only be seen in others. When her patients do well, she shines. But no one would know it. It's because, by definition, Speech Pathologists pour themselves into the people they're trying to help. And, when those people succeed (and it takes hard work for someone to overcome speech and language disabilities--not only of the one receiving therapy but their entire family of support), everyone celebrates the one who's overcoming their challenges. And while everyone applauds the woman who can swallow again after a catastrophic stroke, or the child who can put a sentence together that everyone can understand, or the adolescent with Asperger's who hugs their mother and says, "I love you" for the first time (while she weeps with joy), their therapist joins the celebration from the sidelines, watching another miracle come true.
I remember her when she was just a teenager, we were falling in love, and it had become quite apparent to both of us that the Lord put us together for a lifetime. Back then, Sheri was a wall flower, always looking upon the world with joy and happiness, eager to help behind the scenes, shying away from any recognition. I had never met a woman of substance--so quiet, so confident--who didn't seek the approval of others but found contentment in her relationship with the Lord. Besides her beautiful appearance, that more than anything drew me to her in ways that are spiritually magnetic. Time after time, place after place, in all of our journey together, no matter where we've lived, whatever "ministry" we were doing at the time, Sheri has always sought out her place of service in the purest sense of the word--in her profession and with me in my work. That kind of support, that kind of heart-felt desire to help others, has taught me more about what it means to follow Christ than anything or anyone.
Last weekend, she hosted a lovely evening where friends and family celebrated with me the release of my latest book, a commentary on Matthew's Gospel. Throughout the night, I kept thinking about how important it is to have people around us who encourage us to do what God has for us to do. And, as we all enjoyed the good food, the hot drinks, and the warm surroundings of a home beautified by Sheri's graceful hospitality, I kept whispering a prayer of thanksgiving to God for my wife.
According to Matthew, Jesus warned us that if we seek the approval of others, we've lost our heavenly reward. Those who have high profile positions are in constant danger of finding our reward in social approval. But, those who work behind the scenes, low profile kind of people, will be rewarded by God. I have no doubts, on the last day, when the Lord calls those from the sidelines who did the work He desired, when the true servants among us are recognized by the One whose approval we all crave--well, on that day, he will call the name, "Sheri," and I will celebrate with great joy the woman I love and admire. In that day of great reversal, you'll find me (along with other "high profile" people) in the back of the room, thanking God for people like my wife.