A Dowry Much Finer Than Gold

I have wrtten before of my Father-in-law. Regular readers of this blog will know that he was a man of great faith whom I never knew to be less than thankful to God. The goodness of God was doubtless his greatest joy and favorite topic of conversation. He was also a man of great prayer.

I found out early in my married life just how great his prayers were. In the course of a conversation when I questioned how easily he accepted me into the family (I would have been far more hesitant had I been him), he stated very matter-of-factly, “Well, when Beth (my wife) was first born, we began praying for her future spouse. When she brought you home, we trusted God that He knew what He was doing.”

That was that. My presence was accepted as a matter of faith. It also meant, I have come to realize, that my marriage carried a treasure that was beyond comprehension: twenty years of the prayers of a righteous couple for a man (and a boy) whom they would only someday meet. It was a dowry (if you will) much finer than much gold (to use a Biblical expression).

I have come to understand enough about prayer to know that my life had a hand upon it that I would never know until I was blessed enough to marry a young woman whom I met in a prayer group.

I have learned over the years that the dowry was more than 20 years of prayers: it was an on-going gift of prayer and compassion that was my wife’s own gift to our family. Thus it is that 32 years into this life has given us four children that are not only the joy of our life, but who themselves are clearly the beneficiaries of much prayer.

I cannot, on this Mother’s Day, do more than say, “Glory to God for All Things! Glory to God Who blesses beyond our capacity to understand or to comprehend! Glory to God for His goodness!”

Happy Mother’s Day, my dearest.

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a retired Archpriest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present: Christianity in a One-Storey Universe, and Face to Face: Knowing God Beyond Our Shame, as well as the Glory to God podcast series on Ancient Faith Radio.



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8 responses to “A Dowry Much Finer Than Gold”

  1. Margaret Avatar

    Happy Mother’s Day to all!

    Thank you for sharing this, Fr. Stephen! It is so good to read of other parents years of faithful prayer and the wonderful answer!

  2. November In My Soul Avatar


    What a wonderful story. I believe that you and your family are the recipients of more prayers than you can ever imagine since you started this blog. You are a blessing to so many of us through your sharing of your wisdom and insights. I am not alone in praying for your family.

    Father Bless

    Happy Mothers Day to all.

  3. elizabeth Avatar

    Thank you for this post! It is easy at times for me to bypass what I have been given – prayerful Grandparents – etc – and this was a great reminder! It is wonderful to have people to strive to ‘live up to’ as it were.

  4. Karen C Avatar
    Karen C

    Father bless! Many years, Kh. Beth! 🙂 Thank God for praying parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on, and so on . . . What a profound blessing to be a part of the great communion of saints in Christ.

  5. Fr. Philip Rogers Avatar
    Fr. Philip Rogers

    The tradition of praying for the spouse of a child did not end with Mother Beth’s parents. I know she carried on the tradition. As the spouse of her 2nd daughter, I am grateful for her prayers before and her continued prayers. Thanks Momma! May God grant you many years!

  6. fatherstephen Avatar

    Fr. Philip,

    God richly answered our prayers in giving you to our dear daughter!

    I recently found an old family document, dating to 1917, in which someone doing geneology research in my family, found that in the years my family had been in the U.S. (starting around 1750) it had yielded over 50 men to ordained ministry. I am the first of them to be Orthodox – a testament to their prayers 🙂

  7. Fr. James Early Avatar

    “Who can find a virtuous wife?
    For her worth is far above rubies.
    The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
    So he will have no lack of gain.
    She opens her mouth with wisdom,
    And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
    She watches over the ways of her household,
    And does not eat the bread of idleness.
    Her children rise up and call her blessed;
    Her husband also, and he praises her:
    ‘ Many daughters have done well,
    But you excel them all.’”
    (Proverbs 31:10-11, 26-29, NJKV)

    I am similarly blessed. For 18 years, my wife has followed me through two career changes, halfway around the world and back, and has made (and continues to make) great sacrifices for me and our children).

    She has also been a “Sunday widow” for several years and has to dress and get ready three of our children each Sunday. (Fortunately, our oldest is nearly 17 and can get herself ready). She spends an average of half each Divine Liturgy in the “cry room.”

    May the Lord bless you both and grant you many years!

  8. Kelly Cecilia Avatar
    Kelly Cecilia

    How beautiful.
    your posts bring me to tears.

    Thank you.

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