An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. – Proverb 31:10
The first line in a Hebrew acrostic poem about the “excellent” or “virtuous” wife, the above quote seems to me a vast understatement; even on the most literal level, I can’t fathom the notion of trading Melissa for the most precious gem at the 5th Avenue Tiffany’s or Cartier. The message here, I think, is that an excellent wife is worth more than anything in the mere material realm – her value is beyond compare, far exceeding the ability to quantify in numerical fashion. Her magnanimity is so great that it exceeds the ability of language to describe. In a word, she is priceless.
My wife, Melissa Turnbough Mandy, is indeed priceless. She is the reason I get up in the morning and do what I do during the course of my day. She is the basis for virtually all of my decisions, she is the wind that fills my sails as I journey through the seas of life. (And lest you think that metaphor is more than a bit twee, consider that the Bible uses the same metaphor in Hebrews 6. If God provides the current and hope in Christ anchors the soul, then Melissa certainly billows my sails.) When I wake up in the morning the trajectory of my day is irrevocably launched by her. More than merely a friend or helpmate or mother of our children, she is the catalyst of my life, the nucleus of my existence.
Melissa’s worth is certainly boundless, but beyond her worth she is a gift from God. As the verse implies, finding a good wife is extremely difficult – if not impossible – because such a “search” is undertaken on human terms using human faculties. God brings the truly excellent spouse into our lives, often in vividly apocalyptic fashion. I wasn’t looking for a wife and on my own I would have been hopeless. But through His perfect, supernatural divine work He brought us together. I do not deserve Melissa; for me she is a shining example of His mercy and grace. In His manner and in His time we can all have someone excellent, as long as well allow Him to define what “excellent” really means. And His definition of excellent is found in the remaining verses of Proverbs 31.
I won’t go into a lengthy discussion of the specific virtues listed in Proverbs 31, but I will say that Melissa embodies them all to varying degrees. Specifically, she is wise, shrewd, an excellent mother, good with finances, plans ahead for the household, possesses a vision for the family and put a plan in motion to that end. She is highly regarded by her peers and family, and above all she “fears the Lord,” and desires to glorify Him in all she does. It is impossible to reach a higher pinnacle of excellence than that.
In the past 2 years Melissa has been tested by the Refiner’s fire, and proven to be of exceeding worth. In that span she has had two children, the first of whom was a very poor sleeper. Melissa was repeatedly sick and exhausted in the first 7-8 months of Liam’s life, and just when things started to improve, we found out – to our great shock – that she was pregnant again. After a physically trying pregnancy she had a long, arduous labor. Throw in my Achilles’ heel injury that left me virtually immobile for a month, the usuay daily difficulties and illnesses that come along, five moves, two job changes for me, and a spattering of financial difficulties (mostly beyond our control), and you begin to understand the trials she has endured. And now there’s the “great matter” spoken of in my last post – that alone has been as difficult as everything else combined.
Yet here she is, after everything still the same wonderful person, excellent wife, and superb mother. She gets up early in the morning, breastfeeds Sofia, and then gets Liam out of his crib as soon as his eyes snap open and he is full chatter mode. She then cares for them, which includes trying to coax Liam into eating something – anything – and taking care of 7 month old Sofia. She balances their naps – which usually do not coincide – all while taking care of the normal chores around the house, along with anything else that comes up during the course of the day. You moms know how difficult all this can be, yet despite being exhausted at the end of the day, Liam and Sofia are the last thoughts on her mind, as she checks on them both before going to bed. Over the past 3 months she has had to do all this without my help other than on the weekends, which is obviously a draining experience for her. Yet she loves her job as a wife and mother, and performs both with effortless sublimity.
The fact of the matter is that I am deeply in love with her, and always will be. Melissa is my best friend – the one person I confide in and the one person I absolutely have to talk to on a daily basis. Life without her is truly unfathomable. She is a blessing, and one that I absolutely have not earned and do not deserve. I fall short as a husband on a consistent basis, but my aim is to enrich her life only a fraction of the extent to which she enriches not only my life, but all those around her. You are my jewel, Melissa: you make the world more beautiful every day.
M. MANDY SCRIPSIT