(This piece originally ran on TheIncrease.com in May 2016)
There aren’t enough hours in a day or days in a lifetime to tell you the impact that my wife, Leslee, has had on me. And I can’t begin to describe the impact that she has had on the lives of our four kids either. Ever since I was 18 years old, Leslee has been a huge part of my life — at this point we have been together longer than we were apart. Now, I get to watch her mother our kids, nurturing and teaching them about God, and it’s incredible.
Leslee amazes me daily. In addition to raising our four kids, she is taking online theology classes, learning and growing deeper in her faith constantly. Because of this, she is continually teaching me and our kids more about God and the truth of the Gospel as well. Her dedication to Jesus Christ, pursuing a deeper knowledge and love for Him, really impresses and inspires me to do the same. She really is quite the woman, wife, and mother.
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” — Proverbs 31:10-12
How we raise our kids and view parenthood really starts with our parents. Everyone’s initial example of what a parent is comes from their experience with their own father and/or mother. My wife and I are both blessed with great parents, so we had really good role models growing up. For Leslee and me, it’s been really fun to tackle parenthood together and this has also really strengthened our marriage.
Since Mother’s Day falls during the baseball season, we don’t always get to celebrate Mother’s Day on the day itself, but I like to think that every day is Mother’s Day for Leslee. Our kids love their mother so much and they find so much joy in celebrating her. It’s a blessing for me to be able to take my kids shopping and watch their eyes brighten when they see something they think Leslee would like; they just love to serve and appreciate her.
My childhood was similar to that of my kids. I had an incredible mom who sacrificed a lot for her kids. With my dad often on the road as a baseball coach, my mom was always caring for us, serving, and making sure all her kids were where they needed to be. Her selflessness was a clear picture of her love for us; she has had a huge impact on the lives of my brothers and me.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” — 1 John 3:16
Knowing how much Leslee and I love our four children, it’s amazing to think that our Heavenly Father loves us even more and calls us His children. I know that we can’t fully comprehend the depth of love that the Father has for us, but after having kids of my own, I feel like I at least have a better understanding and appreciation for it. This realization really has been life-changing for me.
My prayer is that Leslee and I can pass down to our kids what our parents have passed down to us. I see Leslee daily displaying the love of Christ to our kids, and for me, there is no greater blessing than that.
—Matt Holliday, seven-time MLB All-Star
The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit TheIncrease.com for more stories and videos.