She breathes silently as she lays on the bed, sprawled across as though she owns it as usual. Her foot peeks out from the comforter, limp of course from her quiet slumber. There she is, so unlike her exuberant, energetic and anxious self, gently dreaming her birthday morning away.
As she sleeps so gently this morning, I am always humbled and challenged. This is my wife, Elana, who so often embodies full and deep joy and a wistfulness of youth combined with the exotic chaos of a cornered lion. Yes, my wonderful yet powerful wife who has on occasion been compared to unbridled hurricanes. There she is, sleeping gently as she does almost every morning, doing what she is so good at doing: investing fully and intensely into what she is doing at the moment. Work, class, project at church, play, even sleep, she is fully present there and so full of joy.
I am humbled because I must be. She is a force who has blessed my life just out of sheer happening- helping me become a father and experience married life, being the mother of my children, the secretary at my church, the planner and budgeter extraordinaire, etc. You get the picture I’m sure. I am humbled because my life is held by her in so many ways and she is a touch point and foundation of most of it. But there’s more than that.
I am humbled because she is a gift that I too often forget to thank, little appreciate, and too lightly dismiss. You see, I am really a poor husband sometimes. I am humbled because I have at times forgotten to love her the way she deserves, carried resentment, and been filled with fear too much to see her for who she is. And yet, she continues every day with passion, intensity, and hurricane force love to smile, say I love you, drive the kids around, plan dental appointments, and generally do the things that our household needs. That’s humbling.
Elana is very much a Proverbs 31 woman, which is humbling. There isn’t much about proverbs 31 that could not relate to her. She is, in so many ways:
- Clothed with strength and dignity
- Laughs in the face of the future (and worries about it as well!)
- Fearing the Lord with great and pure faith
And in specific Proverbs 31 ways, she humbles me:
- A food arranger
- A planner for the household
- A spinner (always looking for improvements and things for our family)
- An inspector (our children’s bites particularly!)
- Strong willed (except with wine like me!)
- Hands busy making, spinning, planning, arranging, working
- A helper to the needy (willing to give our possessions to support)
- A finder (of clothes for winter and swim diapers for summer)
- Makes our beds
- Works at the market with teens lives and education
- Wise words and lots of research!
- Carefully watches everything in the household (looking for needs, hopes, and ways to make her family happy)
- Burning her lamps late into the night (Pinterest-ing and scheming for the family)
- Her children stand and bless her in love.
Elana humbles me. She humbles me because she is so driven and passionate, but while doing so she acts out a gentle love and consuming loyalty and care to her family and friends. It amazes me and it was what drew me to her in the first place.
She humbles me because in the most important way, she is so passionate out of her own vulnerability. She earns her worth through her passion, intensity, and drive. She seeks the affirmation that she is beautiful because of what she does. (I unfortunately contribute to this all too often.) But she is not loved for those things. There is more than that. She is all those good things.
But I love her, because she is full of dignity.
But I love her, because she is clothed with strength.
But I love her, because she stands strong in her joy.
But I love her, because she is gorgeous and beautiful and always will be.
But I love her, because she is an absolute blessing of love to her children.
But I love her, because she is full of forgiveness and loyalty.
But I love her, because I really believe she is making me better.
But I love her, because she refuses to let me fail and falter and isolate myself.
But I love her, because she is an eager spirit and willing in her soul.
But I love her, because she is worth every moment of love God gives me with her.
But I love her, because I am better with every embrace, every hug, every encouragement, and every kiss.
- But I love her, because she is a gift from God, and I see it as she sleeps so gently.
Happy birthday my dear love whom I never appreciate enough but I love in every deepest nook of me I can find.
Happy birthday my loving hurricane! (Hehe!)