Marriage is a partnership. “For better or worse” you said. (Or maybe you didn’t and should have!) Entering this commitment of a lifetime, you most likely underestimated how big and how hard this choice really is…
When I said, “I do”, I already knew that this man I was choosing had made a commitment to full-time ministry. While I made a clear choice to stick by his side–wherever that might take us, the implications of what my future might look like couldn’t have been more foggy.
Let me clear the air.
Ministry is not an occupation. While it is true that there is a paycheck involved, he will gladly tell you that there are days that wear on you to the point that no amount of recompense could justify getting out of bed (think Monday mornings). But the truth is, most days this is something he would do for free if God called him to do so. The problem often stems from the fact that by definition, this “job”, this ministry, is ministering to people. And people can be messy. Cranky. Needy.
That’s why it’s called ministry.
“But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things.” Romans 10:14-15
Here’s the thing.
He’s my pastor too.
Truth is, I’ve had very few others. And Lord willing, he will be my last. He plans to preach until his last breath, and I’ve promised Him that if the Lord lets me go home first, I’ll see it as an opportunity to go on ahead to help prepare for his homecoming.
This ministry is his–but it involves both of us.
I am not called to ministry in quite the same way, but I am called. I am called to one that affects the other. You might find me “old school”, but I am absolutely convinced that God allowed me to be married to this man so I could minister to Him. To our family. To the next generation. My ministry starts at home.
While He is focusing on the numbers of people that God has placed under his care, I am privileged to serve beside him and with Him. I am the one that he comes home to when he is tired, frustrated or overwhelmed with the sheer quantity of need. We share the joys and the triumphs, the victories and the failed attempts to reach that person who is far from God. Truth is, I can’t even begin to be a “help-mate” if I am not doing my best to support and serve him. What I do as the wife of my pastor affects him. It affects his ministry. I think I can honestly say that I do this willingly most of the time, but in reality, he is human and so am I. Sometimes I might not “feel like it”–or I might just feel like he doesn’t deserve it. (Remember those messy, cranky, needy people I mentioned? Yeah. I can be one too.) But here’s the thing:
What I think and what I might feel does not excuse me from doing the right thing.
Just as you would want your pastor to respond to you in an appropriate manner regardless of whether he feels like it or whether you actually deserve it, my role demands that I respond in a way that is gracious and kind. As pastor puts it, “People are people-ish”. We are all just imperfect people pursuing a perfect God. My job is not to discern the deserving but to love and show grace.
“Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one.” Romans 12:1-3
Marriage is not a fairy-tale. It’s a blending of two imperfect humans who choose, for better or for worse, to commit to a lifetime of loving, serving and growing together. I am privileged that I am married to a man that helps me to grow spiritually as well.
Even when I’m not good at receiving it.
Wives, I’m afraid our culture has convinced us that we don’t have to listen to our husbands. The God-given authority of man has been attacked with the guise of equality. Yes, of course our gender does not determine our worth–but God did design us with different roles. We live in a world that has fought it, denied it, ignored it, and tried to change it, but God has determined it.
“In the same way, wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, even if some disobey the Christian message, they may be won over without a message by the way their wives live when they observe your pure, reverent lives. Your beauty should not consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold ornaments or fine clothes. Instead, it should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes.” 1 Peter 3:1-4
I know that God loves me. He demonstrated it on Calvary–and because of His faithful love, I know that I can trust Him. Wherever He leads.
I know that my husband loves me. We have committed our lives to each other, and because of His faithful love, I know I can trust Him to lead our home and our family–a responsibility that I gladly allow him to carry.
“Husbands, in the same way, live with your wives with an understanding of their weaker nature yet showing them honor as co-heirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” 1 Peter 3:7
I know that there are many who struggle with these passages. I am not one of them. I believe every word of The Bible is true and relevant. God knows what He’s doing, and I can trust that His ways are always good and true and right.
For better or for worse,
I sure do love my pastor!