I am married to a romantic guy who likes to surprise me for special occasions and holidays throughout the year. His gimmicks range from elaborate to simple and sweet. Some of his more notable accomplishments as a creative gift-giver are the following:
- Cooking up a feast wearing a chef’s hat when he doesn’t cook at all! (He and the boys crushed graham crackers on our dining table to make a cheesecake for me.)
- Hiring artists to paint and draw my portrait.
- Wrapping himself in a large refrigerator box and jumping out holding a stuffed teddy bear.
- Leaving a set of pajamas for me in the mailbox.
I could go on and on but the best gifts he has presented to me are his letters, which he faithfully writes every birthday, anniversary, and mother’s day since we got married. They often make me cry, which is the effect he hopes for!
This is the first time I decided to show the content of one of his letters (with his permission and with the omission of some private parts). I hope it won’t sound like I’m tooting my own horn by posting what he wrote to me. But I thought of how meaningful it is when a husband takes the time to appreciate his wife. (Maybe it will encourage all the husbands out there to do the same. Women like letters that tell us we are appreciated, right, ladies?! And wives, we can do the same for our husbands!)
I felt like I lived two years in 2015. And the one highlight (besides the faithfulness of God and my wonderful kids) has been walking alongside the love of my life, whom I have every intention of growing old with and celebrating every birthday with until the Lord calls me home. Here’s a little peak into his heart and why I feel very blessed and thankful to God that I belong to him…
December 23, 2015
My Dearest Joy,
I want to thank you for being the best wife and mother in the world. I really don’t know what I would do without you in my life. I think of the countless ways you serve me and the children, many times unnoticed, and often even under-appreciated by me because of my selfishness. But I see how you remain faithful anyway, preparing meals even in the wee hours of the night or morning, especially through my crazy (OMITTED) stint, waking up to deal with Catalina’s mood swings, dealing with the kids’ quirks as you homeschool them, addressing the drama that —by God’s grace— was quelled amongst the yayas and the driver, learning to deal with construction workers and electricians and all these people whom I know are not within your comfort zone, especially with what happened to you in the past. You are a faithful wife, my dear.
And I know what you’re probably thinking right now, “I’m not really that faithful. I have so much to improve on.” But you know what? That’s what’s even more amazing, is that through all this, you have a desire to continue to improve. So please, allow me to pay you this compliment without you having to downplay it. Instead, put on the other Joy response, “Oh really? You think I’m faithful? Praise God!” (otherwise known as your “showbiz” response hehe).
Seriously, I recently did a look back at 2015 and this was a tough year. I think this is the year I made the most mistakes in my life. By God’s grace, I can still say this was the best year ever, overall. But really, I committed a LOT of BIG mistakes, in my opinion. But what blesses me is that you have been right by my side, through it all, loving and supporting, rarely condemning (if at all). I love especially how you got my attention to the neglect I was doing towards the kids. If it weren’t for you, I would be spiralling further downward with the (OMITTED) hectic sched. I think about the walks and the talks we have, even as we’re stuck in traffic, and how you listen and laugh with me, and comfort me with promises of prayer, and even practical advice. Thank you, baby.
And as I look at the kids, our wonderful God-send miracles, kids we don’t deserve, I think about how you have been a HUGE factor in their turn-out thus far, by God’s grace. I see your signature JOY infused in all of them, even in our “masungs” Catalina. Even if each one has their quirk —Elijah’s frustration levels, Edan’s OC nature, Titus’ slack, Tiana’s logic lapses, they have a marked JOY. They are such a delight, and have a grounded-ness about them, one that is clearly from a relationship with Jesus, a fragrance of the Holy Spirit, but again, by God’s grace, one that they see in you. Elijah cited it recently, in fact, much to my personal chagrin, “Mom, you are my benchmark for godliness” (or something to that effect…you know my accuracy issues hehe). So it is so true, babes, that our kids have an innate JOY because you are a model of JOY. Praise God!!
I also thank God that this is the year He FINALLY allowed you to launch your book. This is a BIG deal, babes, and one that gives me deep delight, not just as your husband, but as your brother-in-Christ, because I know this is a BIG WIN for Jesus!! This early on, the 4,000 copies or so are being used to spread Christ’s gospel to countless others through the stories and shares and other permutations thereof. Go, go, go wifey Joy!! I am behind you 1000% baby. And don’t let any other person claim that they are your biggest fan, because that slot is reserved for me. Oh, and I am also the financier, coach, (OMITTED), and all the other stuff no one else can claim 😉
My prayer for you my darling wifey, is that God would continue to sustain you, and that you would allow Him to do so. I pray that you would not grow weary, and keep on remaining faithful as a Wife, Mom, and writer (and discipler, though I have not touched on that, and will improve in this area myself come 2016, so you can do the same). I pray that where people will fail you, including myself, you will continue on. Because I know that the devil is stepping-up his game, and wants to destroy the work you are doing for Him in these areas, so He will attack your soft-spots: your external beauty, your pride, your external beauty (did I mention this already?). Be strong and courageous, darling. Strengthen your defenses, by maintaining your spiritual disciplines, and guarding your eyes from the social media and other juju you might expose yourself to, especially in those late nights when you desire to “unwind”.
My continued commitment to you is that I will be right by your side, to love and guide you, and to provide everything you need to keep going, as the Lord provides. Of course, my ultimate prayer is that God would find us both faithful to the very end, holding hands with one set, and serving and doing God’s work with the other, until He literally —Lord-willing— calls us home to Heaven together.
In the meantime, what an amazing ride God has allowed thus far, huh? I love you with all my heart, my darling JOY, the JOY of my life (next to Jesus), the JOY of the kids’ lives (next to Jesus), and a JOY to countless others.
You are a wife I truly do not deserve, but am privileged and blessed to have.
Unto eternity, I remain yours, Edric.
8 thoughts on “The Best Birthday Gift”
Awww I’m so touched by Edric’s letter to you 🙂 Thanks for sharing your life with us through your blog 🙂 I pray that God will bless you in every way. You have always been an inspiration to me. Like what Elijah said, you are my benchmark for godliness too. Haha :p Happiest birthday, Joy!! 🙂
If only men will write those kind of letter to their women, the world will be a better place. God bless you and your family. You’re an inspiration.
Thank you for sharing. God bless you & your family as you are a blessing to others through your blog.
God bless you, too!
God bless you Joy and family! Happy Birthday! Thank you for all your writings!!
You are very welcome! 🙂
It is a treat to read your godly blog entries. I praise God for your life (your lives)! Your relationship as husband and wife mirrors what I believe is God’s ideal for earthly marriages — imperfect-yet-perfect-in-Christ couples mirroring the image of God by His grace and power alone. It inspires us singles to know that such marriage is indeed possible if Christ is made first and last and best…
Just awhile ago, my niece was telling me that she cannot find your book anywhere because she was always told that they had no stocks anymore (one store she looked for was in MOA). Hopefully, they have new stocks by now.
Keep shining for Jesus! You are lighting many other lamps by your faithfulness in your duty as a mother, wife, sister, daughter, etc. Thanks for lighting up mine. God bless you!
Thank you for the encouragement Mari! It’s all by God’s grace! God bless you