Monday, August 27, 2007

Hard Lessons for the Future Pastor's Wife

So, I go off to church yesterday thinking that it will be just like any other Sunday - a good time of worship and fellowship. It's amazing how God uses times like these to smack me between the eyes with reminders of His truth about who I am and who He is. Here's a little snapshot of "life lessons" I am learning (or He is trying to get through my thick skull.)

1) It is so not about me!
Many of you know how hard it was for me when JM told me that God was calling him to full-time ministry - okay, maybe hard is an understatement, I am talking weeping and gnashing of teeth. God has been faithful to confirm that calling by allowing me to see JM's growth and development as a teacher and leader. God has also used encouragement from the church to help both of us recognize that this is His path for us at this time. So, this week it finally happened. I was made aware of a negative comment that was made about JM's teaching. Many of you who know me can imagine what my initial reaction was. I wanted to send a blistering email or have a huge confrontation so I could "gently persuade" this person as to the error of their ways. I wanted to protect my husband from the harsh words - I wanted to protect myself. Thankfully, God was working in my heart while we were in Sunday School yesterday. He gently reminded me that this is going to happen - everyone is not going to agree with JM all the time or think that his teaching is the best thing ever. And I need to suck it up and get over it - I am not the point, JM is not even the point - God is the point, and His Word will go forth through JM, even in spite of JM! My fixating on it does nothing to encourage JM to continue to pursue the calling that God has for him.

2) God is enough.
Last night we went to the ordination service for Martin, one of JM's friends from seminary. While it was a joyful evening to be able to see the culmination of what Martin had been working toward, it was really hard for me. This call into ministry is serious business. You don't get to half-heartedly say "God I will agree to support JM in what You have for him" while planning your own steps. It is likely that we could end up leaving the church that I have been at for over ten years once JM finishes school. We could very possibly be leaving Birmingham where I have made my home for over ten years and all the friends that I have made and relationships that have been built. It sucks to even think about it. But I was reminded last night that God does not call us to a life of "comfort." For some reason, He does not always design His plans around what I want. That is so hard!! So I am taking baby steps, trying to open my hand to Him and let go of MY plans to follow what He has for me. That is the hardest thing in the world for a control freak like me.
Last night, I cried as we sang "Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken" -

Jesus, I my cross have taken, all to leave and follow thee.
Destitute, despised, forsaken, thou from hence my all shall be.
Perish every fond ambition, all I've sought or hoped or known.
Yet how rich is my condition! God and heaven are still my own.



Julie A. said...

Thanks for the tears.

th77hunter said...

Wow-thanks for encouraging me by sharing what you are learning!!! I can relate to just a little bit of what you said since Todd has been teaching this summer. Thanks Shea!

"Ms. Em" said...

I love you, Shea! I'm so glad God chose you to be my son's wife and a member of our family. You are a blessing!

jessies_gyrl said...

Shea, I found your blog through Julie's. I think we may have met once or twice at a favorite Mexicano restaurante. :-) Congratulations on your baby boy! I'm a new mom myself and can tell you that salvation is the only experience that can change you more than becoming a mother.
Also being a pastor's wife, I was struck with how wise you are to come to terms with the inevitable criticism of your man before he enters into full time service. It always bothered me that the most godly man I knew would suffer scorn, and it was a while before that urge to scratch some eyeballs out went away. It does get easier!
-Michelle Wilson

Anonymous said...

Shea, thank you for those words from your heart. They blessed me!


Beth Buckner said...

Shea - you always can put words on things that smack of a girl that is depespertly wanting Jesus while stuggling and I can totally relate to you and where you are as I have had to process our moving to the lake 45min away from church and my peeps at the same time as AJ leaving for college and doing ministry. Thanks for being transparent (such a "churchy" word but good one no less) and opening your heart! much respect and love!