Proverbs 31:28 -
"Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her..."
Yes - this is one of Jason's rare posts! Dawn has gone to bed (Where I should probably be myself, sleeping), but I just finished reading her most recent post, and I have been reminded of how amazing God is and how much we must keep fighting for those we love, how much He has gone "all out" for us, and our response regardless of our circumstances (And sometimes is so hard to do) is to lift our hands and our hearts to God and simply worship and obey Him, and trust Him, even if it's one small step, one day at a time. Thank you Dawn for reminding me. This post is for you.
Our kids have been getting in the "Valentines" mood today. In fact Elizabeth asked at least a few times if it was Valentines Day today! We shouldn't wait until Valentine's Day to say something special, or to say "I Love You" to our wife or husband, so this is my way of being unconventional and taking the opportunity to say "I Love You", just BECAUSE.
These are the things I love about Dawn, and I'm sorry I take them for granted way, way, way too often:
- Dressing the Kids alike for days out - It may seem weird to some, but aside from easily being able to keep our crew together and recognized amongst the crowds, Dawn likes the kids (And usually ALL of us) to match. I've learned this is important to her, and I know at the heart of it she thinks it's just lots of fun! Dawn - THANK YOU for co-ordinating us, and planning out the outfits - I appreciate the care and thought you put into that!
- Teaching our children - Dawn not only is a creative and caring teacher, but she cares so much about what the kids are learning, and I see her preparing with thought and care for their learning. She reads with them as a group, and one-on-one, taking that time. Dawn plans scripture memory verses and passages for the children to learn. She knows the value of treasuring scripture and wants to instill that in our kids. THANK YOU Dawn for teaching our children and putting so much effort into doing this in a way that honors the Lord.
- Reads God Word, and Shares it! - Dawn understands how crucial knowing God's Word is. She takes time apart to read, study and meditate on scripture. She is an inspiration to me and she is dedicated. I am blessed to have a wife who LOVES His WORD! Dawn is a very gifted speaker, and I have lost track of how many people have spoken to her after a message and said how much her words have touched them. God truly uses her as a vehicle to share His love with others. I was also 'blown away' this past Sunday - just a week after hearing our awful and heart-breaking news, Dawn gave messages at two churches. I can barely focus right now, and yet she got up, preached and was so willing to bless OTHERS! Dawn, I LOVE YOU for loving God and His people!
- Adoring our children - I am deeply moved by Dawn's passion for her 'babies'. She has such a special and unique relationship with each one of them - things that are special between just them, even when there are a million things on her mind. It is obvious to everyone that there is nothing more precious and treasured to Dawn than her family. I can see with my own eyes how much our children adore Dawn - the first picture below with Jonathan in his pirate costume captures a very special moment between Dawn and him. She is caught up in a moment of true joy with her child and his expression is so clearly one of love and oneness with his mommy. Our children are truly blessed, and they will surely "...rise up and bless her."
- Making memories & making occasions special - Every time one of the kids has a birthday and adoption day, which is lots every year, Dawn always writes a special "Happy Birthday or Happy Adoption Day" message on an easel, and decorates the table with balloons (Which she usually blows up by herself!!!) and ribbon. At the heart of this is the fact that she wants them to know how special and loved they are. Every Christmas Dawn looks for ways to make the season not only memorable, but keeping CHRIST at the center of everything. She has come up with special traditions that we all treasure, ones I know our kids will take into adulthood. She also makes awesome Sugar Cookies and has the kids decorate them for fun. Dawn, I LOVE YOU for caring so much to CREATE memories for a lifetime for our family. Dawn also has kept a journal since we met, and has taken the time to record her memories and thoughts of our journey together. What an amazing legacy to leave our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
- Grace, forgiveness & depth of character - Dawn is the most grace-giving and forgiving person I know (I should know - I have had to ask her forgiveness over and over!!!). She has shown people such mercy and kindness when it wasn't deserved. She has demonstrated to me how to "Love your enemies". She has a depth of character that is so hard to find today. When we were in Ethiopia to bring Jonathan home, on the first day there she was walking around "Hannah's Hope" and broke her foot! OK - this would have sent me into a frenzy of whining, complaining and sympathy-seeking. Instead, Dawn didn't complain ONCE, even when she had to basically limp on a very bruised and swollen foot. She focused on loving our new little boy, even though he didn't want to be loved by US too much at the time. Not many people are this strong - and I'm proud she's my wife! Dawn - I LOVE YOU for your strength and for being a woman of honor.
- Awesome leader in our camp ministry - No one will ever know how much time, effort and love Dawn puts into the camp's ministry. All I know is that God sees and I know how much He must be pleased with her work. Dawn writes Bible Studies, devotions, training materials, spends hours working on the camp's budget, speaks to groups, leads worship and shares a message to the kids......and all because she's focused on one thing - sharing the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ with each and every child who comes to camp. This camp could not have asked for a more dedicated and caring steward of God's special place. THANK YOU, Dawn, for all you do for the camp. I LOVE YOU for your effort and perseverence and passion.
- She makes me laugh, she's there for me, and she listens to me - Time and time again Dawn gives me what I need. Her laugh is very contagious and I am often moved to laughter because she laughs - what a joy to laugh! THANK YOU Dawn for the giggles and just plain silly moments! When I need to 'sound something out', Dawn listens, pays attention to me and cares about my thoughts and dreams, desires and struggles. I couldn't have been given a greater gift than a BEST FRIEND like Dawn. I am blessed beyond measure!
I have seen how much Dawn has been touched DEEPLY by our brothers and sisters in Christ through these hard days, and I am thankful to you all for just being you! We have both been encouraged and lifted up by your love, and knowing you are praying and are there means so much.
Dawn, I am so glad God gave us to each other. I'm sorry for the times I let you down, criticize you, question you, say dumb and uncaring things, and for being less than God calls me to be. I guess I'm a 'work-in-progress', and with God's leading and grace I know I can be a better husband and father. Thank you for bearing with me and extending patience and grace to me.
Dawn, it is always a joy and privilege to dream with you! We are walking in a tough time right now, but I am so glad we are together. I know that as we walk hand in with each other and with God, that our memory making, dreams, passion for each other, our children, and God's continued calling on our lives, I know that the days ahead of us will be always blessed.
I LOVE YOU SO MUCH.