This year my wife, Judi, and I celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary. I proposed three weeks after we started dating—and they said it wouldn’t last. There really wasn’t a choice for me. I fell hard. I saw into the depth of her soul and I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. Good choice.
I don’t want to pretend for one moment that our life has been a fairy tale. Like any long-term marriage there have been plenty of challenges. There have been times that could easily have led to us going our separate ways. But, what has always kept us together is our love and respect for each other, our faith, and who we know the other person to be. We feel loved by each other in a way that we know not everyone gets to experience.
I claim Judi is a strong beautiful woman because I’ve seen so much evidence of her beauty and strength over the years. The inset picture I used for this post was an impromptu shot I took at our son’s wedding last summer. It captures her beauty and strength. I saw her sitting there waiting for our son to enter. I couldn’t help but take the shot. She was radiant. The background photo is us in Tuscany—it was one of Judi’s life-long dreams.
Her strength is inspiring. Sometimes I really don’t know how she has been able to cope with all she has had to deal with. But if truth be told, I do know how. It’s her faith. She has a deeply rooted faith in God, in Jesus.
A short blog like this can’t possibly provide enough details about her strength. But please allow me to list a few things she’s had to deal with. She was sexually molested as a child. She lost babies during pregnancy as a young bride in her first marriage. She suffered through the hardship of not being able to bear children for a decade, until she adopted. She had her life shattered when her first husband left her and her young teenage son for another woman. She saw her mother die of lung cancer at fifty-nine. She’s had siblings part ways over ugly jealousies. She’s had a sibling she loved dearly unwilling to forgive, even taking bitterness and anger to the grave—that’s heartbreaking—that takes strength to deal with.
She worked her way through a male dominated business for over twenty-five years to become a senior manager and a national director. She understands what sexual harassment is. She understands the strength required to be a woman in the business world.
She is strong. She is beautiful.
I’ve been blessed with good health my entire life. I live a life without pain or ongoing mental anguish. Judi, on the other hand, lives the reverse. She lives a life filled with chronic pain and the torture of ongoing depression that has taken its toll over twenty-five years, including a horrible experience from a series of electroshock therapy. She has back pain from a car accident twenty years ago, and nerve damage in her neck from the same accident; ongoing major arthritis issues in her hips; two knees that are scheduled to be replaced, and the list goes on. The bottom line is that every single day is a struggle. A struggle to sleep, a struggle to get up from bed, a struggle to move, a struggle to simply live life, to enjoy it.
But the amazing thing is, she does struggle.
She does get up.
She does move.
She does enjoy life.
In spite of her pain and ongoing mental health issues she’s able to love life by being an awesome wife, mother, and grandmother. Her family brings her such joy, as she brings to us.
It’s a mystery to me why one person would have to endure so much pain and agony. She’d be the first person to say there are people who are far worse off than she is. Regardless, I see her pain.
Every. Single. Day.
I see it.
She is strong. She is beautiful
She is amazing.
If you haven’t already read the intro blog to the series to know why I’m writing this Strong Beautiful Women series you can do so by clicking here.