Guys, especially like me, can be slow to understand how their wives feel about certain things in life. I have an incredible wife who has always been there for me in all of the different endeavors we have done over the last 39 years. We have experienced the birth of a premature daughter who spent over a year in the neonatal ICU in San Francisco. We also adopted a brother and sister in the middle of doing a church plant in Walnut Creek. We have been part of 5 church plants over the last 25 plus years. I know that one of the most demanding jobs without pay is being a pastor’s wife and a mom who has worked outside of the home. So I want to close out my year of blogging with talking or bragging about my Anne.
I can remember when we were first married and attending Cal Poly SLO town. We both are very competitive when it comes to academics. Anne is actually smarter then me but I’m more focused in following through. (She’s an amazing writer and I just write.) Anne has never argued or mentioned anything about wanting a career or recognition about much of anything. Yet, as we have journeyed together for almost 40 years it has just now struck me how my Anne needs to have something in life that is totally hers and not associated with me. It isn’t easy for me to let her rock the world in her own way. She has always been in my shadow and at times I know feels as if she isn’t needed. (Little does she really understand that my ego and success is so much dependent upon her.)
I can remember when we were doing a church plant in Walnut Creek that she was willing to babysit a transcription account of an Orthopedic Doctor for a friend who was having a baby. This two-month job turned into a 5-year job that my Anne learned the basics of doing computer work; this was when PC clones were just starting to happen and became a medical expert. (I’m the one with the Biochem degree not her.) There was nothing glamorous about this job but she was able to do it in the cracks of life. (I seldom acknowledged that I forced my Anne to burn the candle from both ends.)
Now flash forward from 1989 to 2012 almost 2013. My Anne has put up with doing transcription work for lousy pay most of her adult life. She is down sized at the company she had worked for 13 years and gets a temp job that paid really well but came to an end. As she is job hunting she sees a few notices for Chaplains and I tell her to check it out. She discovers that it is actually a lengthy process to get trained and approved to do this type of work. Yet, I tell her to pursue it. She actually applies for one program, which is 6-month training and 400 hours of clinical experience. After talking with the admin lady she realizes that all of the 6 spaces are full but the lady encourages her to look at the other Banner Hospitals.
A week later the admin lady calls Anne back up to inform her that someone had dropped out of the program just before it started and that she can have the spot if she wants. Decision time; does she take this opportunity which means work almost full time without any pay or? I tell her to go for it and now looking back this is one of the best moves my Anne has ever made. After being involved for around 4 weeks the supervisor now invites Anne to become a resident Chaplain in the fall. (This was an incredible stroke for Anne’s ego because only 2 are selected.) Now I’m humbled as I listen to the people both young and old that my Anne has helped in the last 2 months at Good Sam.
It was exciting to listen to my Anne do the chapel service for the second time in a month. I know that I react at times to sermon critics who are quick to slam me or make suggestions on how I can improve. I love being included in helping my Anne exegete a passage and then come up with a simple outline for a 10-minute lesson. I’m impressed with how good Anne is at preaching and communicating. She obviously has grown up and been around preachers her whole life.
I laughed or leaped for joy when Anne told me how much she could make as an on-call Chaplain at one of the local hospitals. I know that this isn’t about money but after working most of your life for so-so salary and now be paid really well is awesome. The real focus is that God is using my Anne in an incredible capacity to help those who are in crisis hear a word of blessing, comfort and hope. This will teach me how to be more able to help those in real crisis.
Anne is such a great example of someone that is a humble servant that has been willing to do anything that ultimately honors God and makes her hubby look good. I am so proud of her and excited about her future, even if it is in our old age! I want to thank my God for giving me such an amazing partner, best friend and ministry consultant.