Amy Ellenwood, who came into our lives 18 years ago when she, Mel and their three little children arrived in the Czech Republic to serve with Josiah Venture, is a beautiful 50 years old today!
What joy to be with her on this day to celebrate, and to watch her be celebrated by others in a very special way.
Through the thoughtfulness of her mom and daughter, Hannah, they pulled off an incredible gesture of love for Amy by inviting people from every time period of her life to share words about what she's meant to them through the years.
After several weeks of pulling it all together into a digital book, Hannah (who was up until 2 AM in California finishing it for her mom...way to go Hannah!) called this morning and told her to check her email. And there Amy discovered nearly two hundred letters and photos with life-giving, loving, heartfelt and honoring thoughts and wishes for her on this significant birthday.
I watched her laugh, cry and exclaim in delight as she read letter after letter, overwhelmed by the generosity, kindness and love expressed in them. I know she'll treasure those words for years to come.
As Amy read a few letters out loud throughout the day, I heard a theme come through: this is a woman who loves God and people well. She has laid down her life for the sake of the Gospel and entrusted herself to the One who would sustain and hold her through anything that would come her way. She would be the first one to say that it is the grace of God that has held her and made her who she is today.
And that's what we all love about her.
There is nothing but unselfish love, rich kindness, deep generosity, beautiful servanthood and an utter dependence on God that makes her the woman we all love, treasure and honor today.
"Happiest of all birthdays Amy!! I, along with so many others, love and treasure who you are. I think all of us would say "My life is richer because you are in it!!"
Personally, I am so very thankful for you and love you with all my heart!"