Next month will mark two years since my husband accepted the position of Senior Pastor at our church. Two years that have completely flown by for sure! On the eve of our two year anniversary since being transplanted to the south, I thought I would share a few observations/lessons I have learned.
- We love the people here! Just before moving here we experienced a very hurtful experience in our former church. We loved the people there but were extremely hurt and I, in no uncertain terms, wanted to remain in the ministry. We had been very hurt by those we loved and served and our hearts were wounded. So when my husband told me after receiving some counsel from close Pastor friends and mentors, that he felt God was calling him to the Sr. Pastorate you can be sure I said, “Ummmmm, I don’t think so!” However, God did some work on my heart and over time the Lord showed me this was truly His path. Though the path getting here was quite bumpy and road awfully curvy, I can honestly say I absolutely love where God has planted us. This California girl has zero southern belle in her, but I love these people! I love their sweet spirits, (their sweet tea!!) I love the grace they extend, I love that when people walk through our church doors they feel like they have come home, I love seeing them grow, and I love the influence they have on my kids. I love how everyone here seems to be a good cook, they love to laugh, and we love having them in our home!
2. God has taught me much the last few years about just being real and not afraid to share that I sometimes struggle too. This has not always been okay to admit and I have been told in the past, “Our people do not need to know about your struggle. We don’t want them to think we hired someone who can’t keep it together.” I find this very sad because listen, I may be the Pastor’s wife, but my spiritual life is still a work in progress and I make mistakes! I experience victories and defeats. I have to apologize to my husband and kids, I stress about different things just like other people and am learning to not stress but continually give it over to the Lord. And all of this is okay to admit. Letting people know that our family is real makes us more approachable and help them know we are normal people just like them!
3. The more you pray for people, the more you love and care about them and desire to see God’s best for them! Never have I been so burdened before to pray pray pray for others! Each morning my husband and I pray together for the people in our church by name. We want to see God do a work in this church where the only explanation is “Only God could have done this!” We long to see people desire to be rooted and grounded in God’s Word. We long to see people with a prayer life that is deeper and more real than ever before. The more we pray for them the more we care for them. We want the people in our church to know we love them enough to pray for them by name every day.
4. This was a big one…. I’m almost afraid to admit it. It has been tough for me to learn that when others are not faithful to church, it is not personal towards my husband. I used to feel it was. I thought people didn’t come back on Sunday night or they became hit and miss to church altogether because they didn’t like him, or us, or our family. I know that may sound totally crazy, but I did for awhile struggle with it! One day when I admitted this to my husband he said, “It isn’t personal towards us, it is personal towards God. It’s an issue between them and God, not them and us.” My husband is a very wise man. But, if I’m being honest here, I have to admit this is something God has taught me. Sometimes all we can do for people is love them and pray for them and allow the Holy Spirit to do the work only He was meant to do.
5. It has been exciting to watch God grow our church! He has been doing a great work and answering our prayers! We have prayed every day that God would grow our church spiritually and numerically and He is doing both! Just this coming Sunday we are going to have THREE people get baptized and we could not be more ecstatic! It is thrilling to see God at work! He is growing our Awana program, He has added more young families to our church, He has opened up opportunities for discipleship, there is just no doubt that He is at work and we are THRILLED to get to be a part of it!
These last two years have been wonderful. We have rejoiced with those that rejoiced, we have wept and held others while they grieved. We have seen souls saved and baptized and we have seen God add to His church. These two years have held mountains and valleys, I have seen God draw me closer to Him and when I am closer to Him, no matter what is going on around us, my heart is at peace. Ministry life is not always easy, I oftentimes feel we are on the front-lines of the battlefield, however, it is always rewarding. It is amazing to be able to teach our Cubbies class and see these little ones following along with the story and seeing their attention so captivated as they learn about Jesus! What an amazing opportunity God has given us to share the love of Jesus with the sweet people of our church and community! I love 1 Timothy 1:12, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;“
God is so good, He is so gracious, and we are thankful for another year He has allowed us to serve alongside these wonderful people!