Anne’s invitation to write a guest post came at a particularly challenging time for me. My husband, Blake, who has been serving as the bishop of our Brooklyn, New York, ward for the last three years, had spent the last month or so away on bishop-related absences (meetings, interviews, new-member visits, a variety of welfare issues, and so on) which had culminated in being away for three [very long] days upstate chaperoning our stake’s youth conference. I was exhausted, and weighed down by the burden of loneliness that comes when you find yourself supporting someone in a calling of this magnitude. I was exhausted from having to fill my role as mother, as well as fill in for all of the time Blake had to be away, and my three young children (ages 6, 4, and 16 months) were driving me absolutely crazy.
So what better time to write about the blessings that come from fulfilling and supporting the call to serve as bishop, right?
Actually, this invitation was a blessing in and of itself because forcing myself to consider the good that has come from this calling has helped to keep me from turning into a bitter bishop’s wife – at least for now. ;)
Sometimes it’s hard to see the blessings amidst the trials – a “can’t see the forest for the trees” sort of thing. At least it’s often that way for me. There is a literal burden placed upon a bishop, and everyone in his family feels it, whether it be from deep concern for a particular welfare case or the lonely hours spent without your husband or father. But despite the difficulty in sometimes seeing them, those blessings are in fact there. And, just as a forest is filled with thousands of trees, they are also abundant.
Blake’s call to serve came as we were nearing the maximum length of time we had originally planned on staying in Brooklyn. Living in New York City had been a wonderful adventure, but it was not without its sometimes insurmountable challenges, including, but not limited to, the high cost of living, the lack of basic amenities (by suburban standards, anyway), and the great difficulty in maneuvering daily life here with small children in tow. But on that fateful spring evening, when our stake president sat down with us in our living room, we realized that the Lord had other ideas about the length of our life here. We had not yet firmly made any other plans, so we accepted the call, but not without the hope that somehow our life here would become a little more comfortable. While the heavens didn’t pour down upon us over night, they did trickle enough for us to never leave us wanting.
Another area in which we have never been left destitute is the availability of the Spirit in our home. It has been there to comfort, to guide, and to answer time and time again. Some of the most tender experiences I’ve had with Heaven have been in the last while Blake has been serving as bishop.
The last blessing I’ll mention here is how this calling has made Blake a better husband, a better father, and overall a better person. Maybe it’s the guilt of having to so often be away from us physically and mentally. Or perhaps it’s the fact that his understanding of the principles of the gospel have increased. But whatever the reason, I’ll take it!
The call to serve as and support a bishop is no cakewalk, but through the trials and challenges we’ve both learned a lot, which is itself another blessing. And as we have been blessed these last 3 ½ years, I know we will continue to be blessed throughout the remaining time of his service and perhaps even beyond.