Other than the decision of how to respond to Christ’s call to follow Him, no other decision in life is as important as the choice whether/who to marry. Those who choose to marry invite into their lives an effect and influence that is beyond description.
By God’s grace I married a woman who is, herself, grace personified. I know without a doubt that her presence in my life is a major contribution to my salvation. I would tell couples in pre-marital counseling that marriage is a crucible for sanctification; Libby has lovingly encouraged my sanctification as a spouse for, as of now, almost 39 years.
One significant reason this is true of my wife is found in her mother, Mary Nell. Today is Mary Nell’s 80th birthday, and I am blessed to be part of her legacy. Three particular things which Libby has modeled to me –– which come from her mother’s example and nurture –– come to mind. One is her inclination to happiness; she lives life with a smile (and the source is the joy of the Lord). A second is her consistent attitude of seeing the best in a person or situation (which comes from trusting the Lord); she is positive and encouraging instead of negative and demeaning. The third is a kindness –– an empathy –– that seeks another’s good even when it is personally inconvenient to her (a beautiful model that embracing the servanthood of Jesus means serving others).
There are more qualities.... but these three are so dominant and exemplary in today’s world of self-assertiveness and personal gratification that they shine like stars in a dark sky. How could I not be blessed being married to a woman who has constantly encouraged me in these ways? And how am I not doubly blessed for this to be the legacy given from our “Mamaw” Mary Nell? Her children (and spouses and grandchildren and “adopted” children from all over) rise up today and give her honor.
Happy Birthday, Mary Nell Lindsey Vess!