My Valentine, Audra
This year, Audra and I aren’t exchanging gifts for Valentine’s Day, so this is my gift to her.
I am thankful for my wife for many reasons. Unfortunately, I’m not the best at articulating them, and I don’t affirm Audra like I ought to, or she needs. But here are just a few reasons why I’m the luckiest guy in the world.
She somehow manages to take care of all five of our children–usually on her own, due to my work schedule. Many days, I leave the house before the family wakes up, and come home after the kids have already been put to bed. Even on the days that I don’t have videos, I usually have a meeting at the church that evening. At least half of the days during the week, she is managing the house/children on her own. And on the days I don’t have to wake up super-early for work, Audra ends up getting all the kids ready for school anyway and lets me get some rest.
With five children, Audra spends most of her day feeding Bethany, putting Bethany down for a nap, putting down Joanna for a nap, giving Sarah a snack, repeat…etc. I would have a mental breakdown after just a few days of doing this, but she does it everyday.
I am amazed at the grace and respect that Audra gives to people she interacts with. She always seems to have the right words with difficult people or situations. I have much to learn from her in this regard. I tend to avoid such people or situations. Or put my foot in my mouth. But not Audra. She seems to know exactly what to say and how to say it, regardless of whom or what is thrown into her path.
Audra has every excuse to say “no” to any request outside the home, having to raise 5 children. Yet, when everyone else at the church says no, Audra is willing to step in and volunteer. Most of the time, this relates to the children’s ministry. If there’s anyone in our church that needs a break from working with children, it’s Audra. Yet, she fills in anytime she is asked. I know that can often be difficult for her, and I wish it were different, but it makes me stand in awe of her.
It’s one thing to volunteer at church, especially when there’s probably some outside pressure to volunteer since she is the pastor’s wife. But she also chooses to volunteer at the Resource Center for Pregnancy and Personal Health in Greeley once a week. I love how even though she can be consumed with the responsibilities of raising a family, she finds a way to not let that be an excuse for helping others who are in serious need.
Audra is also involved in a women’s Bible study during the week. If she’s not putting children down for naps, she’s going through her Bible study while they are sleeping everyday–IF they cooperate and nap. I wonder how many other guys have a wife who finds time to study Scripture when she has downtime. Once again, she amazes me!
When faced with a personal dilemma, I value Audra’s opinion over anyone else’s–including my own. She has a way of simplifying the situation while I seem to just complicate it. I envy this trait in her. But I’m thankful that she has it, since I don’t. She is a very wise person. Most people may not know this about her. Fortunately, I have a front-row seat to this gift of hers.
Being a pastor’s wife (especially of a small, rural church), Audra has accepted a life of relative poverty compared to most other people around. You would think that because my vocation is my own choice, I would more gladly accept it than her, but that’s not how it is. Oftentimes, I complain or can sometimes begrudge the serious challenges that we oftentimes face, but she gracefully and willingly embraces this life and even appreciates the upsides to such a life. (There are upsides, by the way.)
I have seen her grow into this person. When we first got married, she was often fearful, but now I feel like I am the one who fears, and she is the one who more faithfully trusts God! I am glad I have a spouse whom I can lean on during difficult times.
I thought I almost lost Audra when Bethany was born several months ago. That event was a wake-up call to me, and it has made me appreciate her even more. I couldn’t have imagined a more wonderful person with whom to spend my life. Beyond her physical beauty, Audra is a gracious gift from God to me. Together, I pray that God will use us as a blessing to others, and that He will allow us to enjoy each other for many more years to come.