Recently Annette and I celebrated our sixty-fourth wedding anniversary. Since that anniversary date, I have been thinking about these years with my wonderful wife and companion. In previous articles, I have shared my journey in ministry. To be truthful, I would not have been effective in ministry without Annette. In this article I want to share some thoughts about Annette and the way she helped me through these years.
Our meeting and ultimate marriage were interesting. I met her when I went to a church to lead the singing one Sunday. She was the pianist. A year later, she came to East Texas Baptist College (now University) where I attended. We finally made the connection from the previous year. We began dating and were married on June 6, 1958.
We had two wonderful daughters. Jamie, the oldest, is deceased. She died of Covid in 2020. Our other daughter, Kellie, lives close to us and teaches math in a middle school. We have had many ups and downs during our marriage; however, God has been so good to us and provided for our needs through all these years.
I don’t believe it would be possible to say everything in one brief article that I need to say about Annette as a wife and companion. I will highlight some of her major characteristics as a wonderful Christian lady and a great wife.
First, I would say that she is a great prayer warrior. She spends much time in the morning reading God’s Word and praying. She has prayed for me constantly as a staff member, interim pastor, and staff member of the ABSC.
When our children were young, we were attending a conference at Glorieta Baptist Assembly. It was very dry that year and many were praying for rain. Annette told us she had prayed for rain. We got a torrential downpour of hail. The girls asked Annette not to pray for rain anymore.
One morning as I descended the stairs in our house, Annette was standing at the glass door and appeared to be just looking outside. I asked her what she was doing. She replied, “I’m looking at the neighbor’s houses and praying for all of our neighbors.”
Often as I left to go to a speaking engagement, I would say to her, “Pray for me.” She most often would respond, “I have already prayed.” She is truly a prayer warrior.
The second thing I would tell you about Annette is that she has been a great mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. In the early years of our marriage, she had the major role of helping our children. As a staff member in a local church, I often had meetings at night and often on weekends. She taught the girls about Jesus, read stories to them from God’s Word, and gave them great spiritual guidance. She has done the same for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The third characteristic of Annette that I would share is that she was a great helper and supporter of me and the calling I had in my life. When we first married, I was a minister of music and youth in a church. She began playing the piano for the worship time and choir practice time. We served in this kind of teamwork for several years and in several churches.
She has always been a great supporter in my ministry. We moved often when we were young. After we prayed about moves, she would always say, “If you feel this is God’s will, I’m with you.” If she felt any hesitancy about moving, she would share that with me; but she always supported the final decision.
Annette was a great teacher. She taught first-grade children in Sunday School for many years. She even served as a writer for the children’s curriculum (Baptist Sunday School Board at that time). In our later years, I served as interim pastor for several churches. When churches found that she had been a children’s teacher, they would ask her to serve as a teacher.
She also taught in public and private schools as a first-grade teacher. She was able to get a temporary teaching certificate when I entered seminary. Because she had an excellent job teaching, I was able to attend seminary full-time and serve part-time in a church.
Another great characteristic of Annette is that she has a servant/ministry heart. She has baked thousands of cakes for friends, sick people, and those who need an encouraging word and gift from someone. She writes many notes each year to encourage people and wish them well. She loves to minister to people.
I could say much more but let me say in conclusion that Annette and I have been together all these years because we have a desire to serve and honor God. I could not have done what God called me to do without her help and support. Praise be to God for a wonderful wife, companion, and supporter.