And to my wife, Hope, whose invisible contribution to the completion of this project is written large in a life of unassuming sacrifice of personal comfort and convenience for the greater good of Christ’s Kingdom among the peoples of Latin America. Her realistic counsel kept the ship on course, and her practical encouragement in taking on more than her share of the load brought it home to port.I honor you for giving up so much to see this happen.


This weekend, when most mothers are being smothered with attention, your mother, as has been her style, has taken second place, again, this time to my graduation. I wanted you to know that without her commitment to this goal it would not have happened. On this Mother’s Day weekend I want to take time to honor your Mother in a special way for who she is and what she does. 

The following poem by Joel and Christa’s pastor was chosen by me to be included in their wedding ceremony, long before he was their pastor. It has since found its way into each of your wedding ceremonies, and it will find its way into Paul’s in some way I’m sure.  What I was trying to say to each of you is that the role of a strong woman in a marriage is a tremendous gift. 

As you read the poem again this Mother’s Day, note the two phrases that I feel particularly characterize your Mother: her fierce fidelity and the velvet steel of her character and approach to life.

Every barb a bud

I used to dream about becoming old,
And leaning on your heart so long I'd fold
It into mine, like that old hickory tree
Along the cottage path, that after three,
Or four, or maybe five decades, has pressed
Itself against the fencing wire with rest
Unceasing, till, without a drop of blood
The pith is pierced, and every barb a bud.
Now barely shy of half a century,
And long since pierced with fierce fidelity,
I dream about becoming older still,
And how someday, beside the Brightwood mill,
Between the watercourse and stream, four sons,
And faithful wives, and all their little ones,
Will rise and bless the velvet steel where I
And they, have leaned, and will until we die.
John Piper. Words on Mother's Day. Future Grace.