Hey you,

(FYI, this is a private page: no one can see it but you. I’ll print this out later and delete this page, but I didn’t want to wait to give it to you.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about our conversation last night, and how I possibly could have screwed that up. Still don’t know. My brain’s not all there these days, so I end up saying things I don’t mean on a regular basis. Then I can’t remember what I actually said, so it’s no help.

But after last night, I do want to try to make good on what I meant to say.

I meant to say that I’m worried these days, not that anything permanently bad will happen, but that I am missing some essential thing I should be doing to make things easier for you. I see me, doing my job, and still enjoying my job; and it feels really unfair, because as important as I believe my job is, what you do on a daily basis is just as important, and a way harder job than mine—and that’s not even taking into account how you sacrifice your own translating work so I can be a pastor to this church.

It humbles me almost to embarrassment to see how much weight is on your shoulders (figuratively and literally, since you carry Zadie most of the day), and I know how hard that weight is to bear. I was trying to say last night that I wish I had some kind of miracle solution to take that weight off: to make Z. sleep better, to have more free time and less work for the church, to make the church more mature so that it can carry itself better than it does… I feel guilty for planting the church sometimes, because as much as I believe it’s what God calls us to do wherever we happen to be, and as much as I believe that he put us where he did on purpose, so we could do it here, it puts weight on you that you wouldn’t otherwise have to bear, and deprives you, I’m afraid, of the kind of church community that would be better for you than this one.

I know I could do things better as a husband, and I’m always trying to grow in those things (sorry I don’t grow faster); but there are a lot of things that are hard for you that are out of my hands, and I know you know that. So what I’m left with after thinking about it is a kind of helpless worry. But it’s a worry that’s not founded, I think. God knows what he’s doing in our family, he knows what he’s doing in you.

When I remember that, I can see things a little more clearly, and I’m just grateful—for who you are, for what you do, and for giving our kids a living, breathing example of what the “virtuous woman” in Proverbs 31 looks like (Zadie can’t see it yet, of course, but she will). Thank you for being my kids’ mom, even in these really hard days with no sleep and a very thankless job. I know nothing I can say will make it entirely thankless, but hopefully, I can help make it less so.

I’ve been thinking of that virtuous woman from Proverbs 31 a lot, and I can’t think of any other time in our marriage when this passage has applied to you more than it does now. This industrious, intelligent, very hard-working woman, whose husband trusts in her (and who has no lack of gain because of the trust he puts in her, v. 11). She does him good, and not harm (v. 12). She works for her family, and she works for those outside her family (v. 13-19). “She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy” (v. 20)—including the needy one who wakes her up several times a night and can’t yet do anything for herself. She is strong, and dignified when faced with hard times (v. 25). She is wise, and kindly teaches others, including her kids (v. 26). She works hard to provide for her family and rarely gets the rest she deserves (v. 27).

This is you, to an almost ridiculous extent. I want you to know that I see that, and I pray thanks to God for you, on average, every five minutes.

I can’t wait to see what God does with our family: what fruit will grow over time out of the seeds you’re sowing today, as you rock a crying Zadie, as you change diapers, as you fight to stay awake, as you temporarily put your work aside so I can do mine.

I love you baby… I love the way that you walk. ;)

Praying for you always.

J