I did not get to go to worship today. I have a kid at home who can't seem to stop coughing and may visit the doctor tomorrow much to his chagrin. As I snuggled into the couch this morning with my sickly son and his eerily pale younger brother who no doubt will also be coughing by tomorrow, I thought about you.
Sundays, for me, are tough. If your husband is like mine, he is on call all through the worship service which means you pretty much single-parent it through the entire morning. Our congregation has children's worship hour, of which I am so very thankful because I get to actually participate in the service and hear the sermon. I have been in congregations though with little ones without children's worship, and I know how hard that is, believe me. Regardless of your kid duties on Sunday, it is a busy day for ministering families and unfortunately a work day.
I want you to know that I said a prayer for you this morning. I am blessed to have a lot of friends who are minister's wives, and I tried my best to remember each of you this morning and ask the Father to bless you and your family.
For so long I fought this role of minister's wife. I confess to you, I even resented it. I watched my mother in some rather unhealthy situations as a minister's wife and frankly those memories left some scars and bitterness in me. I'm still working through that. Today, I can tell you that I am glad to be a minister's wife and I love my husband for what he does and who he is. Today, I can't really see myself in any other role. I do wonder occasionally why in the world God chose to put me in these shoes as I really struggle with compassion and I have a huge bubble around me of required personal space. I generally avoid huggers. Nevertheless, God gave me these shoes, and I have decided to wear them with pride and the ever present humility that a ministering life provides.
I want you to know that I am thankful for you. I want you to know that I am not the only one who is thankful for you. You see, you may never hear a thank-you or an I appreciate you, but people do love you and appreciate you. I firmly believe that ministers wives are watched with a certain curiosity and questions of "how does she do it?" I also firmly believe that ministers wives are judged for crazy things that no other female worshiper is judged for. I would be lying if I said that doesn't bother me, but at this point in my life I am capable of leaving those worries behind to some degree.
Here's the thing: It is easy to look at our husbands and think God only called him to work for the church. My friends, some of the best words I ever heard spoken were at a minister's wives conference and the speaker shared in no uncertain terms that we were also called to this role as ministers. There certainly is no greater, or more obvious, call than to be married to the ministry. I mean, you definitely won't find justification in scripture for divorcing a youth minister simply because he is a youth minister, although some of you may have looked. I guess, I've been more like Jonah in running from this ministering life than accepting it. I don't want to run anymore, friends. Frankly, I am afraid of deep water and living in a fish for a few days does not sound so appealing no matter how much I love sushi.
It is time to own it. Do your best in this role in these shoes. Protect your children and raise them to know the Father. Stop trying to fit in with everyone in the congregation, because it just won't ever happen. Be there for people. Be there. Listen. Lead. Stand up for the cause of Christ, and stand up for your husband. Be flexible, and remember you are there to serve not to be served.
I know it can be hard. I know. I know it can be exhausting. There are days when I get selfish and I think when and where do the ministers get ministered? Find a way. Go to a lectureship or a conference. Get filled. Don't catch yourself running on empty. Because your family will pay for your weary heart and, in turn, the congregation you serve will also suffer. Don't grow bitter because you let yourself reach burn-out. You are responsible for your spiritual health, not your husband, not your church family, not your mom. You. You are responsible to commit to a relationship with the Father.
More than anything, I want you to pray. I want you to protect that relationship with the Father. Sometimes it is easy to get so busy with everyone else's faith struggles that we forget our own. I prayed today that your faith will also grow. Please don't sacrifice that. Someday, we'll all be retired from paid positions of church work, but our faith, my friends, never must retire. This relationship with our Father is long term. You may move one hundred times over the next ten years, but your Father is unchanging and won't be moved unless you walk away.
Please know, that it is a wonderful comfort for me to consider that all over the world today I have friends in the same line of work. I have friends singing the same songs of praise and communing together in memory of our Lord today, perhaps right now as I type these words.
I love you and I am so thankful for you and all that you do. Your work does not go unnoticed and the choices you make to live your life today for the creator and for others will have a lasting impact that will reach farther than our imaginations.
God chose you for these shoes. He chose you because you could do it. He chose you for your frailty. He chose you for your giftedness. He chose you.
Be blessed as you bless others.