Hi there Immanuel!

Anne-Marie here – I’ve been a member of Immanuel for two years, and you may have noticed me gathering the garbage after Sunday services as that seems to be my Sabbath vocation. J My current day job, however, is located in the Loop where I serve as a Product Manager for Apartments.com. This means that I handle all contracts, email communication, and Microsoft reporting aspects for several of the online products that we offer on our site. At first glance mine appears the consummate desk job – sitting in a cubicle in front of two large monitors helping people with money make more money. But I am thankful that in a small way I can be a part of providing economically-priced housing for people, especially during the current crisis. And I am so grateful that the Lord has used me even behind a desk!

As an English major, I originally envisioned myself working for Tyndale Publishing or Christianity Today. But my desire to form relationships with non-Christians (and for a paycheck!) led me to the corporate world, where God has given me multiple friendships that have humbled me deeply, challenged and encouraged me greatly, and afforded me many opportunities to share my faith! The average age at our company of 1500 is thirty – and that’s because the age of the CEOs drive it up! So I am in daily contact with men and women in periods of great transition, many of whom seem ill-equipped by our consumerist culture to even ask themselves for what purpose they are living. I am thankful that God has opened doors many times over a shared lunch hour and during weekend activities for me to turn the conversation towards spiritual questions. And when words fail and reasoning is insufficient, I have the opportunity to show compassion and support through sitting with my friends in silence. Areas in which I have been especially stretched include: rooting my witness in my personal knowledge and understanding of the Lord, rather than a theological approach; humbly – at least, that’s the idea – accepting rebuke from non-Christians; being faithful in menial tasks and taking pride in my work; and constantly turning to the Lord for my satisfaction instead of seeking comfort in the tangible things that I see my co-workers enjoying.

While I believe that God has me where I am now for his purpose, he is also leading me to prepare for a future vocation. The summers that I turned twenty and twenty-four I spent working as a nurse assistant in nursing homes overseas. There were indeed parts of this job that were difficult; difficult enough to send some people fleeing after the first day of orientation. But these were in many ways the most formative months of my life, and what has inspired me to begin my pre-requisites for nursing school. It was while serving on such a basic level the elderly who could not hide their weakness that I first began to truly understand that to be human is to be dependent upon the Lord. I spent every day among people grappling with the reality that although they had perhaps been successful in many areas of life, there was one in which they would be ultimately defeated. Some were angry; some were depressed. Some were very alone and obviously consumed with regret over past decisions or bitterness over unhealed wounds. Despite all this, I found, too, such real beauty, wisdom that had been gained, and such patience and faithfulness that could only be the result of a long, examined life lived in the reality of human limitation. One ninety-eight-year-old friend said once, “There have been so many times in my life when I have said to God – you mustn’t do this, and you mustn’t do that, for it will result in suffering and tragedy. But then, He does it anyway. And it is so good.” Coming from someone who saw the tapestry of her life woven almost to completion – that carried a lot of weight! When I asked another friend of mine if it was hard to be old, she responded, “Oh, no. It is so good to rest. So good to rest.” I am so amazed at the Lord’s wisdom in building in this period of life. I have seen that it is one of painful and frustrating physical and mental decline. But I have also seen that for many, it is a time when – forced to acknowledge their fundamental weakness – they first understand their need for a Savior. And I also believe that it is for those who know him a time when they may rest in the nearness and constancy of the Lord, and a time when they may see the face of Christ in a way that many of us have not – for Jesus also truly understood that he would die. He told us that the kingdom of heaven belongs to the poor in spirit, and I am so grateful that I have had and will have again the opportunity to exercise compassion and learn humility through serving some of the humblest of his children.

Please keep me in prayer as I continue my pre-reqs for nursing school. Science has never been my gifting! Please also pray for me as I research programs, that I would hear, follow, and be at peace with the Lord’s leading. Thank you so much for reading!

Peace in the Lord,

Anne-Marie