Deep ministry. Profound sacrifice. 

Life in Ministry

 

For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 6:10

Like many of you, as a little girl I would try to envision my future. My favorite childhood spot for this was swinging high on a swing, all the while wondering what might be in store. I would dream of helping others, what my husband might be like, how many kids I might have, and what type of house I would live in.   I know this may sound a tad cynical, but I never envisioned becoming a pastor’s wife. I knew little of what that even entailed. When I thought of a pastor’s wife, or a life in ministry, I would think of a woman that had her entire life perfected by God both on the inside and the outside. A Proverbs 31 woman indeed…then I was called into marriage and kids and then ministry.  I would become a…. shhhhh, pastor’s wife!

Life in ministry. Let’s talk candidly about this.  

God has wired us with deep compassion. To care about the needs of those around us, to see others come to know Christ in a transformative way, to be a voice in the lives of others. We take on tasks, rising to every occasion, all the while ignoring our own deep cries for help.

This, my dear sister, does damage to our very souls. 

When we are burnt out and continue on, we are ignoring our own need to be filled back up, to sit and listen to our Savior and be still once again.

How do we go about this without feeling guilty, as though we might be letting someone down or missing another deadline? As far as I recall, the priorities are as follows: God, husband, kids, church and ministry. Why do we struggle to remember how critical this order is for us to have the most success, both spiritually and ministerially?

Ladies, let’s strive for better boundaries in our lives. 

We need to create them (and I am just as guilty as you) because we love deeply and want to serve well. But when we realize that we have become resentful, tired or disconnected, it’s on us.  It becomes our problem. Let me remind you (as I remind myself) that you and your husband are a team, and a powerful team at that. Not because of anything that we possess but because of Christ in us and through us.

But this authority does not come without sacrifice. We are on the front lines of the battle and we sense it in every way. 

Perhaps our marriage is being tested, or we have a sick or wayward child, or we struggle with finances, or we have another sort of loss. The point is this: none of us get out of the life of ministry unmarred.

Jesus promises this to us, that if we suffer with Him, then we will reign with Him.  

Recently, while my husband and I were leading a trip to Israel, I was reminded of Jesus’ humanity in his crying out to the Father in Gethsemane. Through Christ, God has promised to never leave our side. We would do well to remember this in the times of our deepest weakness.

It is up to us to say, “I cannot be all things to all people.” But we can do what He has for us each day, provided our other priorities are straight.  Most days I count ministry as a blessing and my heart knows I have fulfilled a dream it did not recognize when I was younger. However, this dream comes with tremendous sacrifice. Let’s lean in and attune our ear, and soul, to the One who called us and created us for His purposes.

~Denise

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