Today is my mother-in-law Debbie’s birthday providing a perfect opportunity to honor her.
I could honor Debbie for the model she is of balancing career and domesticity. Debbie is able to use her gifts of teaching and music in a public classroom setting, while keeping her husband, family, church, and home a priority.
I could honor Debbie for the hard work and excellence she applies to whatever she does. Whether it’s her immaculate home, directing the church choirs, preparing for school, or preparing a meal, Debbie does it as unto the Lord.
I could honor Debbie for raising the man I am privileged to be married to. I benefit from her godly investment and influence on a daily basis, and I am so grateful.
I could honor Debbie for being an outstanding grandmother. She genuinely enjoys my children and makes memories with them whether it be taking them to a jazz concert, or playing Crazy 8’s.
I could honor Debbie for a host of excellent qualities and evidences of the grace of God I see in her life, but this year I want to honor her for something new I have come to love and appreciate about her. It was hard to tell our parents that we were even considering leaving Maryland. I remember the beginning conversations. We all cried every time. But as it started looking more and more likely that this was God’s will for our lives, Debbie became a source of much encouragement and faith. Through her own experiences of moving frequently, Debbie learned that God was always faithful to her and to her children. She was able to confidently say to me many times, “your children are going to be ok. You are going to be ok.” She has shared specific examples of times when God did something profound and somewhat unexpected in her life as a result of relocation.
The last time we visited Maryland, I wanted to look at her old photo albums. (I love seeing my husband at the ages my kids are so I can compare and see who looks like him). In one album there were pictures of the Reyes’ in New York. What stood out to me were the pictures of a group of about 10-15 kids. Debbie explained that they were in her Bible club. Here my mother in law, having just left her mother, sister, and grandmother to come to live in an apartment in New York City took her children door to door to give invitations to be part of a Bible club. Amazing! They didn’t just meet weekly for their club, they took field trips to fun places in the city. In a time marked with hardship and loneliness, Debbie still reached out to minister to those around her.
Now that I have moved I have a whole new respect for what my mother in law did so many times. I hope to be like her and have a vision to focus on others around me, perhaps even the neighborhood children. I am grateful for Debbie’s example in many ways; but this year, it is her wisdom and faith in the midst of this entire process that I want to say thank you for. The longer I know my mother in law, the more I see of gold and silver in her life. I pray God’s continued blessing on her this year and am grateful for so much work He has already done.
Happy Birthday, Debbie.
I love you.