A Woman of Noble Character
By DANNY MINTON
As Women’s History Month begins, it makes me think of many women of history and today that I admire and respect. Women have made an immense impact on the Christian world, the church, communities, and families over the last two-thousand years. This month I’m going to spend each week sharing the life of an exceptional woman who made a mark in one of these areas.
Proverbs 31:10-31 presents a popular view of the qualities of a noble woman of Christian character. The passage speaks of her integrity, caring for her family, work, and busy life. It ends with the statement, “A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”
Permit me to share the story of a woman who has fulfilled the thoughts of Proverbs. A woman who has blessed the church and those in her life. Someone who blessed her husband, children, and family over the years. A woman to be praised.
She became engaged at the young age of seventeen and was married at eighteen. Her engagement upset her chemistry teacher so profoundly that he stopped class to lecture her about the ills of getting married young and not continuing her education. The young marriage would last past fifty years.
As a young couple, they struggled, with her working full time to allow her husband to attend his college classes, preparing to be a minister. In the meantime, her life in the church was preparing her to be a minister’s wife. She taught classes of different ages and was particularly popular in teaching young pre-teen and teenage girls. She worked in VBS Bible classes and even served as a camp counselor for the young girls who looked up to her.
In the fourth year of their marriage, the young couple found out they could not have children. Devastated at first, they decided to adopt and left it up to God to bless them with children who needed a home. Their first blessing came as a blonde-haired, blue-eyed baby boy. Shortly after he came into their home, they discovered that he had Cerebral Palsy and would probably never develop beyond a year or two in mental capabilities. The opportunity came up to return the baby and wait for another child. The couple discussed the situation and decided they couldn’t give him up if the child had been their natural child. They decided to keep their son, a decision that would change the next four decades of their lives. They thought, “Maybe God didn’t give him to them to be their son, but he gave him to them to be his parents.”
The child never developed beyond what the doctors predicted. For the next forty years, she would be a faithful wife, but more importantly, a loving, dedicated mother to their challenged son and another son who would enter their lives less than two years later. She raised two infants while at the same time being a faithful minister’s wife and continuing teaching and working in the church and community.
The next four decades would pass with nights of little sleep. Each day would bring scores of diaper changes and tube feedings for their oldest son. She would lie on the floor beside him when he was sick and sit up and hold him when he had difficulty breathing. Her ears and thoughts remained tuned to his cries and sounds of discomfort. There were no vacations other than an occasional VBS trip or weekend getaway through all these years. She would become tired and struggle at times. There would be tears and pains as the years passed, but the couple never regretted their decision. The youngest son grew to be a successful father, husband, and provider through all these challenging times.
During all these years, she would still teach. She held a ladies’ Bible study in her home. She took food to those who were sick. She taught young girls crafts in her home, and different ones would come through and bake cookies for holidays. The home was open to guests, especially during the holidays, with hundreds of people enjoying the hospitality, good food, and warm spirit over the years.
Life has not been easy for her, but she has blessed her friends, family, and husband. More importantly, she has blessed people with the love of the Lord. She is a woman who fears the Lord and “a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
You have likely figured out that this woman is my wife, Kathy. She has been my support and helpmate for the past fifty-three-plus years. She gave up much of her life to be a faithful, supportive wife, loving mother, and servant of God.
As I write this, I think of other women, Laura, Martha, and Janet, among others who have served the Lord while supporting their husbands, working, and caring for children with health issues. These are all strong women, the type of women who are an honor to God’s name through their family and kingdom work. They are today’s blessing and tomorrow’s history to be examples to generations to come.
This month, I encourage you to look for women who make a difference in their families, church, and community. “Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise.”
Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ