This week I want to write about a person who is my hero. This person has demonstrated love, faithfulness and integrity throughout the years I have known her. She is selfless, considerate and compassionate. She cares deeply, works hard, and is devoted to her children and grandchild. I am sure you have guessed that it is my wife, Joan.
Joan grew up on a small farm, was the youngest of two sisters, her mum ran the farm, and her dad was a builder. Joan trained as a chef at catering college, and worked part time in a restaurant as a teenager. Her relationship with her dad was not great, he didn’t speak to her from she was the age of 14, it was not her fault nor anything that she did wrong.
I met Joan in 1985 – we were both 16. We met at a dance – we also both were not Christians at the time. Joan has the most amazing eyes, they were the first thing that attracted me to her. She was dancing with another guy and when they finished I asked if she would like to dance with me; thus began our relationship.
Joan grew up in a quiet place, was used to lots of older people coming to their home for tea and visits – her mum was 35 when she had her. Suddenly she was introduced to a much faster pace of life.
We went together for a couple of months and broke up which broke her heart. Nine months later, completely out of the blue, a letter came which was the start of our 34 year relationship.
She got engaged at 18, and became a Christian at 18, married at 19 and moved to a farm which never stopped nor slept – it was a huge transition and culture shock. Joan had her first child, a son at 20, a daughter at 23, another daughter at 25, and her last child, a daughter at 28.
Around this time Joan began to feel unwell and she struggled with her health for a couple of years until finally being diagnosed with Thyroid Gland Failure – it had stopped working completely. Joan has lived on medication ever since for this condition.
In 2002, with her four children and her husband, moved to England and Regents Theological College in Nantwich, Cheshire. For the first time in her married life, her husband was actually present.
She worked part time at the college and made a home in a tiny 3 bed flat. In 2005, we moved to Telford and so began her life as the wife of an Elim Pentecostal Church minister.
In 2006, Joan started working nights as a Care worker in a local nursing home to support the church and her family as we sought to grow the church. In 2007, she started working for Telford & Wrekin as a night time Carer.
Joan has been working nights in a hard and demanding job for almost 15 years. She started working nights so that I could have the car during the daytime for church and work.
Love – her experiences and all that she has faced have not diminished her ability to love others. She is quiet and unassuming, yet really strong and very perceptive. Her love motivates how she relates to others looking for the good in them.
She recognises issues quickly, but does not let that insight cloud her judgement. In our marriage, we are a partnership and compatible. In many of the aspects of running a home and our lives, Joan takes the lead and sorts stuff out.
Faithful – when Joan commits to something, she’s all in. There have been so many times when it would have been easy to complain or to moan to me about what was happening – she chose a different pathway.
As a result, I have never felt diminished or pulled down by Joan. She is my biggest supporter, and stands shoulder to shoulder in everything in life, ministry and marriage. I trust her completely.
Balanced – so many times Joan has quietly said something which is spot on. She is a powerful pray-er, carries the favour of God, and understands who she is in Christ.
She has stepped out in so many ways taking steps of faith, is fearless, and also not afraid to confront or challenge when needed. She is not needy, is self-possessed in a remarkable way, and yet manages to remain vulnerable and compassionate.
Mother and Grandmother – Joan and my mother hit it off from the very start. They formed a formidable partnership and were the best of friends. After the birth of our son, Joan went back to work, but within a couple of hours realised that she couldn’t stay away. Thus, although it had a big impact financially on us – Joan stayed at home, raised her four children, and also was a wonderful aunt to her nephews and nieces.
Joan has an ability, and the patience, to love children, care for them, and make life joyful for them. As a nanna – she is doing exactly what she did with her own children. Her grandson will ask about nanna, before mentioning grandad.
It has been an absolute pleasure for me to write about my hero. When God brought us together before we were Christians, He brought a good woman into my life who I have respected, valued and loved more than words can say.
Together He has showered His grace on us throughout our married lives through good times, much suffering and many challenges, and the everyday burdens of life.
Joan is much better at many things than I am. However, she also has her weaknesses and faults like every other human being. She has known heartbreak, has been stressed by life, and has struggled to keep going at times.
She grew up in The Troubles in Northern Ireland, lived through the fear, known the pain of losing neighbours to terrorism, and had a dad who didn’t cherish her while he was alive.
Joan has grown so much, is always willing to learn new things, and never believes that she is always right. She knows her own weaknesses well, but also is secure and possesses her own soul well.
I thank God for her, and the chance to publically state that she is my hero! I do so giving thanks to God for Joan, and for all she has taught me about life, love and being a better man.