Updated: Oct 10, 2018
This month is Pastor Appreciation month. My husband is the pastor of our church and our congregation has taken time to bless us. Every year, our church family shows their love and appreciation to our family and they are extremely generous. I can never fully express our gratitude and what this means to us. The cards and kind words, gift certificates to incredible dinners, and movie tickets are all so appreciated! We know we are loved.
When I was a child, I remember thinking how glamorous it must be for the pastoral family. The pastor got to stand up behind the pulpit and speak God’s words. The pastor’s wife seemed somehow holy and just the lovely type of person you would want to get to know. Their children were always the cutest.
Somewhere along the line, we became that family. Somehow, it just didn’t match the childish fantasy.
Ministry is hard. Don’t get me wrong, we do what we do because we are compelled to fulfill the call God has placed on our lives. We love leading people to become followers of Jesus Christ and absolutely live to see them grow and become everything He has for them as His children. Except, ministry is hard. There are days when we are physically weary. Then here are days when we are exhilarated knowing God enabled us to be a help to someone.
I was the reluctant pastor’s wife. I knew first-hand how difficult being a pastor was since I was very close to our minister’s families. I took care of their children and saw what a toll it took on them. I remember telling my husband early on in our dating relationship that if he thought there was the least chance of God calling him into ministry, he could count me out. I look back on that comment and laugh. What God had in store for me was so much more.
We were in youth ministry for many years and I liked that. I always felt the kids kept us young! Then the God directed us to plant a church. This was an exciting time. I had no idea what to expect. 15 years later, I could write a book on what we’ve seen and people wouldn’t believe it. It has truly been the roller coaster ride of a lifetime.
There have been some extremely difficult moments where I thought it may break us. Then, there have been moments where people have told us how they just felt as if they couldn’t take another step. But something we said, a prayer we prayed, or good deed we did, made them feel as if they could. These are the moments that I call “God Winks”. It’s as if God says, “Don’t worry, it’s all gonna be worth it one day. You’ll see.”
Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). He meant something far deeper when He told His disciples to carry their cross. In Jesus’ day, a cross wasn’t just a symbol of pain and suffering; it was mainly a symbol of death. What Jesus was telling them was, they needed to put to death their own plans and desires and then turn their lives over to Him and do His will every day.
You see, Jesus doesn’t simply call us to believe that He existed, or even to believe that He can save us. He calls on us to commit our whole lives to Him. John Piper puts it this way, “Counting the cost of discipleship means realizing that authentic discipleship may pull from you the highest price and the highest price physically, emotionally and relationally.” Jesus showed us that sometimes the path we are to take may be difficult, but it wouldn’t be without it’s joys.
If I could sum up the last 15 years I think it would be this: the ride may have had its ups and downs, but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. Thank you church family. It’s been quite the ride.