I am going to attempt to implement Romans 12:10 with this email tribute for my wife Audrey’s birthday – today – April 5th! Audrey is celebrating birthday #37 and we have now “been together” for twenty incredible years (we first went out when Audrey was 17!). I want to bring my wife honor with a few words from my heart. By the way, Romans 12:10 challenges us to “outdo one another in showing honor.”
It is easy to express faith when things are going well. My wife, Audrey, has the incredible Christian quality of expressing faith when life becomes unexpectedly difficult. So here are a few thoughts from my heart to you, Audrey.
Charles Surgeon said, “A little faith will bring your soul to heaven; a great faith will bring heaven to your soul.” Audrey, your faith brings heaven to earth.
Audrey, for your birthday, I want to acknowledge your great faith. I can think of so many different major life moments where your immediate reflex was … faith.
Specifically, I remember the time I told you I should quit Christian Thinkers Society (the year was 2011). I think I was pretty emphatic in my home office. I probably said it more than once. In fact, I know I did. In those moments of my little, weak faith, you spoke big faith into my life. By most outward appearances, Christian Thinkers Society started strong, seemed “successful,” certainly impacted lives for Christ, but I felt so inadequate (and still do). I never felt up for the task, but you reminded me that God began a “good work in me and would bring it to completion” (Phil 1:6). Christian Thinkers Society was about calling and Christian destiny.
Audrey, Christian Thinkers Society, by the grace of God, would not exist today without you speaking faith to me in those early moments.
With our children (I sometimes lose count of how many children we have!), there have been some significant health challenge moments where, again, your immediate reaction was … faith. What better example can I offer than the faith you expressed to honor God in our triplet pregnancy.
Thank you for expressing faith in the difficult moments. Thanks for praying first.
Audrey’s Faithfulness, “let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering; for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23)
As a family on the front lines of ministry, traveling often, even living in foreign countries pursuing our calling, we have not shared the familiar support system of other families. We’ve lived in the UK, Canada, and thankfully now call Texas home. You never complained. To be sure, it has not been easy. In fact, nothing worth having ever comes easy, does it? You have always been faithful. For those who watch your leadership in our home, with our five children (it is five children, right? lol), and the hope you offer so many far and wide through Christian Thinkers Society, I (and others) cannot think of a better descriptor for you than “faithfulness.” Thank you for your faithfulness to our calling, and family, but most importantly, to Jesus, because I know your faithfulness to him energizes and informs your faithfulness to everything else.
Audrey’s Fruitfulness. “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” (Gal 5:22-23)
St. Augustine was significantly impacted by St. Ambrose of Milan. Ambrose was known as a powerful speaker; however, what impacted Augustine was Ambrose’s kindness. Augustine wrote, “To him was I unknowing led by Thee, that by him I might knowingly be led to Thee. That man of God received me as a father, and showed me an Episcopal kindness on my coming. Thenceforth I began to love him….” Augustine was powerfully impacted by the kindness shown him by Ambrose, which made Ambrose’s teaching all the more powerful.
In a time when talent, ability, and achievements are (sometimes) used by influencers as excuses not to be kind and sometimes even to “railroad” others, Audrey, your kindness makes your “other ministries” all the more powerful. Thank you for your kindness.
You also have the gift of encouragement. We were living in Oxford, England. I was pursuing my Ph.D. (as you know!). I was pretty pleased with a section I had written of my thesis, which took me some time to finish (at least, I thought I was finished!). I sent said section to my supervisors and was presently eviscerated. I remember asking you, “maybe I am not cut out for this?” “Are you sure we heard God on this? (or some nonsense like that).” The fruit of the spirit and encouragement through your life kept me going. I look back and cannot believe I thought I wouldn’t succeed, but hindsight is always 20/20. As you know, I published a nearly 96,000-word thesis as an academic monograph, but I remember the days you spoke life into my research. Thank you.
Happy Birthday, Audrey. Thank you for your faith, your faithfulness, and your fruitfulness!
– Jeremiah J. Johnston, Ph.D.