Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Occasionally, in life, we meet an extraordinary person. Quite often they are extraordinary for the wrong reasons.

I know such an extraordinary person who today, reached her seventieth birthday. She is extraordinary for all the right reasons.

Travelling in a bus to Brisbane, I looked into the large mirror which facilitated the driver's supervision of his passengers, I saw this person, whom, at that time, I had no idea was so extraordinary. She saw me looking at her, and with a slight toss of her head, moved out of my sight to another seat.

I had to wait two years before I met that person.

That was one half century ago!

At that time it was my privilege to lead a youth group in a small country district, which had an unusual name. The Risk. A young man and I were visiting homes recruiting other young people to the group.

He suggested we go to the home of his cousin and invite her to join. He knocked on the door of his aunt's house. She appeared at the door, but my eyes were drawn to a person sitting at the kitchen table.

There she was! The person I saw on the bus!

My composure was shattered. I mumbled something, about why we had come, to the figure in the doorway, but my attention was fixed on the vision sitting at the table. Seeing her affected me in exactly the same way as it had two years before.

I really can't remember how it happened, but she agreed to allow me to take her, with the other young people, to our next meeting.

I'm not sure how the meeting went, but I had a fixed intention, that I would ask her out. I carefully planned dropping the others off before taking her home.

I asked, “Would you care to go to the pictures with me on Saturday night?”

The smile said it all! “Yes!”

I think I carried the car home that evening! The following week seemed to be much longer than normal.

Three months later, I was certain that I didn't want to spend my life with anyone else but her. In a most unlikely place, a stony track leading into a State Forest, I looked at the beauty before me, and asked her to marry me.

She blushed, and coyly replied,”Yes!”

Her name was like the soft touch of the hands I still love to hold!

Valerie! She is everything the name means, of Latin origin, it means " healthy and strong" .

In the time I've known her, I've come to know the extraordinary woman, my wife, who bears this name, has far more to her than the name implies.

She is all, and much more, than any man could desire to have as his wife, partner and friend.

The wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon, once said , "If you can find a truly good wife, she is worth more than precious gems! “

I believe that God led me to find that good wife. I truly mean that!

King Solomon said that, “Her husband can trust her, and she will richly satisfy his needs. .She is energetic, a hard worker, and watches for bargains. She works far into the night! She sews for the poor, and generously gives to the needy. . .She is a woman of strength and dignity, and has no fear of old age. When she speaks, her words are wise, and kindness is the rule for everything she says. She watches carefully all that goes on throughout her household, and is never lazy. Her children stand and bless her; so does her husband. He praises her with these words; 'There are many fine women in the world, but you are the best of them all!' .

Many times I have told her those very words, and I say them again, “Valerie! There are many fine women in the world, but you are the best of them all !”

I want to justify my words:

Valerie married an ambitious young farmer, who owned a car, and nothing else, whose ambition blinded him to reality. I had a dream for our future, a picture perfect property, and was prepared to do the hard graft to obtain it.

This extraordinary woman adjusted her life to suit, working alongside me, working as no woman ought to be required to work, whilst raising a family and seeking to meet the requirements of my ambitions, at great cost to herself. All the while maintaining her gentle humility and loving quietness of spirit.

Because of my stupid ambitions which required hard work and long hours I gave myself, I ended up in hospital. Valerie shouldered the full brunt of caring for a young family, milking a herd of cows, feeding pigs and everything else which goes with that.

Most of this time we were involved in seeking to practice our Christian faith, during which time we both sensed that we ought to go into the full time ministry of the church, which we eventually did.

Valerie was recognised as extraordinary by those who came to know and love her. So many told me that they had never known such an accepting, non-judgemental, loving minister's wife. They recognised that she had great gifting in hospitality, and loving people for who they are, without expectations of conforming to some artificial pretense, as is often the case.

During those years it was our misfortune to have some malcontents amongst us who wanted to remove us. All their efforts using legitimate means didn't work, so false accusations were made. Like many of such, there was no way of proving them false, so we left. Our lives were turned upside down. We were shattered.

Two years ensued in which ,I later realised ,I entered into deep depression. I have very little recollection of those two years, but I did fail my wife seriously.

You ought, by now, to be understanding why I call her extraordinary, she stuck by me, and supported me out of the pit I had allowed myself to fall into.

Soon afterwards through a most amazing process, which only our Sovereign God could organise, we met one person after another who wanted to grow in their Christian lives. An independent church was born adhering to the historic Christian Faith.

We had almost ten years of happy memories with those dear folk, until our age and health dictated we leave. My extraordinary wife was again able to function ij the loving, compassionate, caring way which expresses the love of Christ.

We left there with the love and good wishes of those very dear people, whom we still love, who still continue to function as a church.

That was five years ago, when we came to Bribie Island to retire.

Valerie is still the same extraordinary wife she has always been. There is no man, including me, on the face of this earth, who deserves to have her as his wife.

I am so very proud of her! I am the most blessed of all men!


Steven Owen said...

I would like to extend a heart-filled happy birthday to your lovely Valerie. That is a wonderful and touching story. I pray that you and yours continue on enjoying the life God has ordained for you. I just recently celebrated 18 years with my beautiful bride. Praise God for His wonderful mercies and gifts also. Our wives.
Happy Birthday Valerie from a brother in the Lord.
Steven Owen Conway, Arkansas

Aussie John said...


Valerie said to thank you for your gracious comments. It's wonderful to know the certainty of the Father's love through His provision of partners for life, and His support throughout that partnership.

Joel B. said...

I'm awestruck! Such wonderful, humble words, a tribute to the work of the Lord in your precious wife.

Aussie John said...


Thank you for your comment.

Yes! That's my wife!

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