All the appreciation-awareness months stuff is a pretty overwhelming to me. I can rarely keep up with all the different things I am supposed to appreciate and remember each month, and honestly, I don't even really want to try. And yet, when Crossway began an online campaign to make March into Pastor's Wife Appreciation Month, I have to say I was rather interested. I do realize that bringing this month to everyone's attention can seem pretty self-serving, but being aware of Pastor's Wives Appreciation this month has caused me to reflect on and pray for some ladies who I am super thankful for, and who I have learned much from, and I wanted to share them with you. Taking my cue from Daniel Davis, I am going to talk about them in the order in which I met them.
Which means that, first up, there is Joy Davis. I met Joy when Tim and I first moved to Louisville and were invited to dinner by some thoughtful neighbors (turned sweet friends) who were trying to help us meet people (who better to introduce us to than fellow Texans, they reasoned). Tim and I became fast friends with Joy and Daniel, and we ended up part of the same church family, part of the same community group and, eventually, apprenticing under them, preparing to become community group leaders ourselves. We spent many nights at Daniel and Joy's apartment after their kid(s) had gone to bed, laughing, talking, playing Rock Band and, later on, dreaming and praying about church planting. In the nearly nine years since we met them, our lives have changed a lot (the addition of 8 kids between us being one of the not-so-small changes), and yet I am thankful that God has sustained our friendship through all the changes, the ups and downs, and I am exceedingly grateful for all I have learned from Joy.
Joy is a godly woman. She lived out biblical womanhood before my eyes long before I ever read a book about it or listened to a sermon on it. The way she loved her husband and child (and soon children!), the way she delighted in taking care of them, the way she worked so hard to grow in her roles as wife and mom, all of it honestly seemed rather odd to me at the time... and yet it was odd to me in a very attractive sort of way. God used Joy to begin to undo some of the lies I had been believing about being a woman and a wife and (eventually) a mother, simply by the way she lived. I learned just from watching her, and my heart was softened, and I was changed. I am writing in past tense because I am remembering the impact her life made at a time when I didn't really have a category for the way she was living, and yet, all of this is true to this day. Joy loves her husband and children fiercely and very well, and she is continually seeking to grow in the way she cares for them.
Joy is a fun friend. I think there was a time in our friendship when I might have been considered the “fun one.” But I don’t think that is really the case anymore. The challenges and struggles of my life the past few years has sobered me and made me much more serious, to the point that I sometimes forget how important it is to laugh and have fun. I can often focus on all there is to do, on how much is left undone, on the difficult and on the sad, and then I forget to just be and enjoy the moment. Joy faithfully reminds me of the need to have fun, the need to laugh, the need to enjoy being together. It is funny for me to sit here and think about how many times over the years Joy has said to me, “that was so fun,” “it was so good to just laugh” “we need to have some fun,” “let's do something fun.” She has said that so. many. times. And she is so right. Laughter, joy, pleasure, enjoyment is such an important part of our lives as believers- I mean, we have more reasons to laugh and be pleased and to enjoy than anyone else, right? I am thankful for Joy's example and encouragement to have fun and enjoy all that we have been given.
My friend, the range of my experiences shared with you over the years is amazing to me. So much life- major milestones, transitions, additions, losses, gifts, joys, sorrows, easy and hard- all shared with you. We have shared some ridiculous silliness, and we have shared some weighty seriousness. We have laughed, and we have cried. And through it all, the Lord has sustained us and grown us and kept us, as friends and as sisters. I praise God for His grace that is able to use all that we have been through and all that will come to conform us into the image of His Son. And I am so thankful for your willingness to be used by Him in that way, in my life and in the lives of so many others.