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Sandy and I sat on a bench in Eden Park overlooking the Ohio River. It was early September and we had only known each other for a couple months. It was at this time I realized she was unlike any other person I had ever met; I was intrigued. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We first met in July of 1998 at Grace Baptist Church in Middletown. She was visiting Grace with a friend and just happened to sit down in the same pew as me. Truly “man looketh on the outward appearance” (1 Sam. 16:7) and I thought she was the prettiest girl I had ever seen. We spoke briefly after church and a little more the following week. The first few months of our relationship the conversations were light-hearted and kept on the surface. I later realized that Sandy doesn’t share her innermost thoughts with just anyone but rather guards her heart and shares bits and pieces of herself with those with whom she develops a trust. So it was at Eden Park that day in September that she guided our conversation more introspectively and I have since discovered that her outward beauty cannot match the beauty of who she is as a person.

Sandy has the keenest intuition of anyone I have ever met; her insight into the behavior and personalities of people is profound. She is not the least bit fake; her sincerity is one of the many qualities I admire in her. She doesn’t try to pretend to be something she’s not and if something bothers her she will not pretend otherwise. She always shows discretion but if the situation requires it then she will address the problem head on with the source itself. She is a loyal and true friend. She boldly defends those she loves when they have been mistreated. She is tenderhearted and very empathetic toward others. She is thoughtful and certainly not flippant in choosing her words. She is playful and adventurous and I can’t imagine my life without her.

“Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised” (Prov. 31:30). More than anything, I am thankful that I have a wife that fears and loves the Lord. She has accompanied me as I preached on the street, wearing a sandwich board sign that read “Jesus Saves” on one side and “Repent or Perish” on the other. I asked her if it embarrassed her to wear it and she responded that nothing could compare to what her Saviour bore on her behalf. I love to preach and it is made all the more sweet the times I catch a glimpse of Sandy in the pew with tear-filled eyes and full of emotion. I have also been moved by the times I have found her kneeling in prayer weeping over the souls of loved ones who do not know Christ as their Saviour. I respect her insight more than any other and as I wrestled with the Lord about the call to Italy I would often seek her input. Her response was a tremendous blessing; she said the decision was between me and the Lord and she would follow wherever the Lord led me. She is a wonderful example of a godly mother and she had the privilege of leading Isaiah to Christ. When she has been failed and disappointed by others, I have seen her find solace in one of her favorite verses, “there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24).

Even though we celebrated her birthday on January 7th, I was reminded what a gift the Lord has given me in my wife.

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” Proverbs 31:10

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