In our family, the last week of August is full of so many reasons to celebrate. I wrote of these reasons this time last year. During this week, my wife and I celebrate our wedding anniversary (number 32 this year), my ordination as a minister (year two), and her birthday (I dare not say). For those of you who have read my submissions for this column over the past year, I hope that you have gained an understanding of the love I have for my wife. To abbreviate those readings for those who have just come along on this journey – I married up … way, way up.

In the Old Testament, King Lemuel wrote Proverbs 31. A significant portion of the proverb addresses the qualities of a virtuous woman. Knowing how my wife poured her faith into my life; knowing how she loved and lifted me; knowing the sacrifices and trials she endured through it all, I believe King Lemuel was writing centuries ago about my wife.

Proverbs 31:10-12 (ESV) “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.”

Oh I did not make this marriage walk easy for my wife. I lived the first two-thirds of our marriage with a bitter and unforgiving heart. I was depressed. I was bitter. I put on a mask to get through my day outside of our home. And I vented when I arrived home at the end of my day.

And there she was.

She is more precious than jewels. She desired and still desires to do me good all of her days. My wife has put me ahead of herself throughout our marriage. I have really come to appreciate all that she has meant in my life. I have joked with her in recent days that she would push me out of the way to dive on an unexploded grenade to protect me.

She was so thankful and prayerful when I was delivered from my depression ten years ago. To this day, she says the sweetest words she ever heard were the words I spoke on the morning of Feb. 9, 2009 – “I want to live. I want to be alive.”

That being said, she says it has been an adjustment for her as I have come into my own faith walk. She talks about the pressures and burdens that she had to carry all of those years. She no longer had to carry those bricks. Now she had the opportunity to lay much of that down. She speaks of how it was an adjustment for her to not have to do that anymore. Isn’t it interesting how we can become oddly comfortable even in our afflictions.

I love you Terri Lee. I hope you had the happiest of birthdays and the joyous anniversary. As we continue to grow through our ministry, My Brothers’ Crossing, I appreciate your faith, patience, and self-control that you have demonstrated. You truly are a gift to me from our Creator. You are my Proverbs 31 woman.

I know you have been a most excellent example in the lives of our daughters. I know that Jordan, Caitlin and Whitney will benefit in their relationships for the faith that you have modeled in front of each of them.

For my brethren, I encourage you to read Proverbs 31:10 -31. Reflect on these verses. Appreciate and admire the ways that your beloved blesses you and your life. Celebrate the woman in your life. Take her hand and go to church on Sunday. Worship God together. Enjoy a nice picnic in celebration of all she does for you.

Proverbs 31:29-31 (ESV) closes with, “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.

Yes, King Lemuel, I believe you wrote these words for me. “Many women have done excellently, but Terri Lee you surpass them all.”

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