Andy having a full-time job is such a blessing but I knew I was secretly spoiled when he was desperately searching for a job all while leading a church plant. Was it tough? Extremely. I will refrain from going into all the difficult details but even through the pain, there was also a sweet side to it.
If I was having a rough day,no family around to rescue me, I could text Andy and tell him about it. If I was sick from pregnancy or a cold (honestly I think my body waited until he had his current job to t-bone me with The Flu which knocked me out for days) I would call and he would schedule his work around needing to come home to rescue me. We would often eat lunch together as a family because he was just up the road. I loved having the man I loved available when I needed him.
The challenge came when I was having a really rough day and I just wanted help. I’d let him know and he’d want to help but really, I wasn’t respecting his boundaries. Whoops.
Here, let me answer the question that some of you who haven’t experienced ministry in this way have asked “So what does he do, all day?”
Andy is very dedicated to what he does. He will read book after book and bible book after bible book (ha!) and then write out notes, edit them, (like all my nasty English teachers did. Marking them up real good. Purely evil, they were.) start writing the sermon, read it allowed, mark it up real good some more and obviously praying for God’s direction it it all.
During the week he also met with guys to disciple them, he would have meetings once in awhile with other pastors in the area, we would do life with friends in our home, etc. The man had lots of stuff he was doing on top of being a husband and father.
He would also take most of a Sunday to prep for service, which are in the evenings. This includes setting up the children’s room, decor, sound stuff, the slides for music, the bulletins and response cards on the chairs and pre-sermon prep (usually consisting of making any last minute changes he felt God was calling him to, praying over it and re-reading it until he felt comfortable with it).
Why would we want him to get a job to add to all of that, you ask? The reason we wanted him bi-vocational is extremely complicated but the simple and sweet answer is that Ember Church was running out of the funds to pay him.
For over a year, Andy searched for a job and no doors were opening. It was crazy but God had a special plan in it all and set aside an extremely amazing and perfect job for Andy which included a fantastic atmosphere for him to not only thrive and have freedom to grow as a creative individual but to also be a light to those who do not believe. My heart is so full of joy when I sit back and think how good God is in bringing Andy’s new place of employment into our lives.
Anyway, Andy is really loving his job. Being able to support our family while doing what he loves has provided a lot of structure to both his day and mine. Honestly, I would never have guessed that having set hours would be so good for my days at home with the kids.
He showers at 8 am and leaves at 8:30. I see him at 5:30 with a hot and healthy dinner on the table, children waiting at the window all while I wear heels and pearls, give him a hot and heavy kiss and wink at the camera…in.his.dreams. Our life doesn’t allow such glamor ;).
On a good day, dinner is almost ready and we spend time together as a family. The kids go to bed around 7:30 and Andy heads to the office to work on his sermon for the upcoming week. This new schedule is challenging for me because quality time is my first love language (words of affirmation a close second) and although I could not be more thankful that the kids do not miss out on time with him, I miss out on time with him. It’s getting easier and we are both dedicated enough to keep on tweaking it so it works well for our marriage as well as the call on our lives to build into the community through Ember Church.
Another new area for us is his business travel. He (not we) went to Savannah, GA for three full days to shoot some video interviews with people suffering from diabetes but who are also trying to change their way of life. He really loved meeting new people as they shared their stories on the life they lived up until they received their diabetes diagnosis and how they are trying to desperately to change for the better. His favorite part is knowing he gets to tell their stories through his gift of story-telling via video. Pretty cool.
I’m desperately trying to seek the blessing in it all, as I know through struggles and trials we are being molded more into Christ-likeness.