by John Ellis
It’s the rare person who doesn’t fall in love with my wife upon meeting her. Friends old and new frequently marvel at her many talents and give thanks for the myriad ways in which she has encouraged and served them. Meeting Danita inevitably means falling in love with her.
I know the feeling. On July 16, 2004, my eyes fell upon a tall, redheaded, and self-assured beauty carrying boxes into her classroom. I couldn’t help myself but offer to help. From that moment on, my gaze has never left her. My love for her has grown, and it’s the love of a husband who is thankful that his bride is so incredible that his role of metaphoring Jesus in the relationship has been made a joy because of her loveliness. While Christ doesn’t rely on his bride to rise to the occasion, whatever successes I’ve had as a husband (and father) is largely owing to how the partner God has given me makes my role an absolute joy and a walk in the park.
So, yeah, I absolutely get it when almost everyone we know sings her praises. She is praiseworthy without question. I’ve always wanted to write an article detailing her gifts, talents, and accomplishments. As an incredibly successful and highly respected professional in the legal field, she gives of herself to her church family with a depth, robustness, and joy that shouts down the lie that working moms are less able to devote themselves to service within the church. One day, I’d like to write about that.
As a working mom, our kids are devoted to her. And I say this next bit with zero equivocation: Danita navigates the complexities of parenting with a level of skill that I almost never see. You want to take a parenting class? Save your money and sit at her feet and learn. I am so thankful that when I stand before Jesus one day I get to say, “Hey, you made it easy on me. Look at the bride you gave me.” One day, I’d like to write about that.
Discipling and mentoring are seemingly a lost art in contemporary churches. Whether working moms or stay-at-home moms, family life squeezes out corporate commitments. Not so with my bride. Whenever someone needs an empathetic ear or wise counsel, there has never been a moment when she has leaned on the excuse that she is too tired; she always welcomes anyone at any time into our home no matter their need. One day, I’d like to write about that.
There’s more I’d like to write about. Most importantly, her love for Jesus. Then there’s the ways in which she encourages and challenges me to grow in Christ. Her pedagogical skills course through all her activities. Her never-ending willingness to try new things and expand her world by experiencing God’s creation. I love the fact that she refuses to be boxed in by political and man-created “theological” commitments. And I’ll say this (because it’s true) even though it will offend some: even though she works a full-time job and has skyrocketed in her career, Danita is a better “stay-at-home mom” than most of the actual stay-at-home moms I know. There I said it. Maybe I’ll write more about that one day (she may not want me to, though, because she loves others more than she loves herself).
There’s much I could and want to write about Danita. Today, though, I want to highlight a part of her life that many of our friends are aware of, and that’s her quilting. She is a wonderful quilter. Not only have many people commissioned her to quilt for them, but she has introduced, taught, and encouraged several of friends to get into quilting as well. She combines excellent skills with a love for the art in her quilting. The specific reason I want to highlight her quilting is because she has finally created a website to promote and market her skills as a quilter. I am proud of Danita for many things, as evidenced by the short blurbs above. With this article, I want to not only express my pride in her quilting but also encourage people to visit her new website. And I want to encourage people to share her website. While you may not want or be able to purchase a quilt at this time, chances are you know several people who do and can. Help me get the word out. Someone as incredible as Danita shouldn’t be hidden. You can try and say I’m biased if you’d like but there are many friends around the country who’ll echo my sentiments.