Her husband can trust her, and she will richly satisfy his needs.
She will not hinder him but help him all her life.
Proverbs 31;10-12 - TLB
I see her holding our grandson, comforting him. I have seen this movie before as I watched her comfort and nurture and care for our children as they were growing up. Though they are no longer 'kids', I often see her offering words of encouragement or support to them; you never stop being a mom. There is a tenderness about her, she has the heart of a loving mother and grandmother.
I see her in the kitchen, preparing homemade soup. It's not about meal preparation, it's about lovingly caring for me. I see the same kindness as she gets into the driver's seat to 'accompany me' on an appointment. We both know this is her way of communicating, 'you're not driving'. No words are spoken but I know this is non-negotiable and so I tell myself, 'just get in on the passenger's side and enjoy the drive'.
It was 44 years ago this month that one of our youth group leaders literally put her hand in mine when we were roller skating, bringing us together. Three years later, we joined hands again as we shared our wedding vows. To have walked hand in hand with her for these past 40+ years as my wife is one of the greatest blessings in my life. Words cannot express all that Janice means to me, her commitment to me, her loyalty, her faithfulness, her sense of understanding me, knowing me and loving me. She has stood beside me through all the ups and downs of our journey. She has been a constant source of encouragement, strength and joy. I thank God for her.
In 1985, Janice made what I think was one of the most difficult choices in her life. She literally uprooted herself from family and friends and our home in Chatham. We moved to Toronto, so that I could finish Bible College and pursue God's calling in my life, in our lives. Every weekday morning, she got up early and headed for downtown Toronto and at night took the subway and bus home. She did that for 3 1/2 years without ever complaining so that I could put all my efforts into my studies and work in the local church. I remember the time she worked all day and sewed at night, making knitting bags for her co-workers, so we would have some extra money around Christmas.
One of the proudest days of my life was my graduation from Central Baptist Bible College, because it meant so much to Janice. I can honestly say it meant more to her than it did to me. In part, because she may have been saying to herself, 'maybe now he'll get a job!' She sacrificed and shared in my joy in a way I will never forget. Friends, she made a similar sacrifice 16 years ago when we followed God's leading to come to the Valley. Her selfless and sacrificial love is the mark of a godly woman. Her name means 'gracious' and truly she is a lady of grace and beauty.
I had not been married to Janice very long when I realized the she is a gift from God. Just to walk with her, to have her beside me, to love her, and to look at that smile that sent me head over heals in love as a 19 year-old kid is a one of God's greatest gifts to me. I love the life we have built together. She is a testimony to God's wisdom when He said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18) She is my helper and friend, a godly wife, mother, grandmother and friend. She is a gift to me, and to the church, for she is the ideal pastor's wife. She serves alongside me with a quiet and gentle spirit, with love and compassion. Her love and kindness has allowed me to do all that God has called me to do, and her strength and joy has made up the difference in a home that sometimes feels the effects of being in ministry.
Her journey has not always been easy. She has endured hardships, challenges, suffering and loss. The last three years have been particularly wearing on her; when your family hurts, you share their pain. Yet in quiet trust and confident faith she reflects the sustaining grace of her Lord.
As we walk into this week, as I face a second surgery in 4 months and weeks of recovery to follow, I don't think I could do this without Janice by my side. I am grateful for your support and understanding, for your thoughts and prayers but would ask you to please continue to be a source of blessing and encouragement to Janice and join me in giving thanks to God for her.