“This year, we need a break,” said my wife, Raquel, at the beginning of 2017.
Each year since we’ve gotten married, there’s been some huge stress that has shaken up our lives. I know we all go through those times, but knowing that doesn’t make them any easier — it certainly hasn’t for us.
For example, there was the disruptive epilepsy diagnosis in 2010 that happened a month before we had our first baby. Then there was 2012 when I got a new job, we sold our house, and we moved 250 miles with two needy toddlers (in 2014, we did that all over again). And in 2016, we had another baby and — well, a lot of other stuff happened that I’d rather not get into.
Another Hard Year Strikes
So 2017 was going to be quiet and uneventful — a nice, boring year.
It was not to be.
Before the year was over, Raquel and I would be pushed to the brink by a number of stresses — much of which came from uncontrollable circumstances in my life. But one of the good things that has come from the trials has been the privilege of seeing more and more of Raquel’s strong character emerging in the midst of it all.
Humble, Wise, Full of Faith
Raquel is wise. Early in our marriage, Raquel was too brash with a lot of her feedback, and I was too proud to listen to her anyway. We’ve come a long way — this year in particular. I’ve leaned hard on her, and not just for moral support. I’ve needed her advice in moments where I was too stressed to think clearly. I’ve needed her admonishment when I’ve gotten off course. Her wisdom has made me wiser.
Raquel has been full of faith when I’ve desperately needed it. My generally upbeat disposition started to crumble this year, and there were times when I didn’t have the faith to believe God would come through for me. Raquel did. She kept saying, with unflinching conviction, that God was at work in the pain, and her faith helped me trust Him when I couldn’t figure out how to on my own.
Raquel is humble. Although she’s an ambitious, talented woman, she would like to do a lot more than spend the majority of her time being at home with a baby and two girls. But in 2017, she ended up spending even more time at home alone with them because of the demands of my new job. In the midst of that, she has sought God in the day-to-day like never before, and it is not without reward: “Everyone who seeks, finds” (Matthew 7:8). She is finding God in more profound ways every day, and in the process, she is drawing the rest of her family deeper into the presence of Jesus.
Her Life Speaks Loudly
Raquel will be the first to tell you that she still has a lot of room to grow. She nonetheless deserves recognition for growing into the woman she is today — a woman who is an excellent wife to me, a loving mother to our children, and a faithful daughter of our heavenly Father.
Proverbs 31:28-31 says it better than I can:
Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her:
“There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.