Saturday, September 20, 2014

when your ministry doesnt look like ministry

Ministry looks so so different from what I thought it would.

For one it hurt a lot more.

For two I seemed to be doing a lot less of it than I thought.

As a 16 year old newly converted atheist to Jesus follower I was ready to serve Him and serve Him forever and ever. My dream was youth ministry, a Pastors family. I went on missions trip after missions trip. Visitations, activities, worked at a Christian Camp 2 summers. Met my husband there (who was studying to get his degree in Bible). I was in school studying to help churches, work hard and give everything I got to whatever church God brought us to.

And God did. He brought us to Texas but before that He allowed some things to take place....



Grace. We were right before our 1 year anniversary or right after (i can never remember this type of stuff) when I found out that I was pregnant with Grace. I was so close to getting my degree but I knew that my plans had changed from the moment I looked at those pink lines. We had Gracie and I began the most important job ever of being a mommy. (btw shes been worth it and Id give up a degree all over again for her)

15 months later Toby came. and again my plans were changed forever. Nate was in the process of earning his Masters Degree but with Toby's needs we knew it was now or never. At one point we were told that we needed to rethink serving full time in a church all together. That Toby's birth would make it hard. That I wouldn't be able to lean on my husband. That Id have to be independent with taking care of my kids. (for the record horrible advice. I am a hot mess without my husband by my side helping me along with this stuff. And I think the true model of an amazing Pastor is how he takes care of his family.) Toby needs us, both of us.

So we came to Texas and I dove right in. Ladies Conferences, Teen activities, Missions Trips to New York and Washington DC, plays, counseling, nursery, children's church.  We dragged our kids along where we could and got a babysitter for when we couldn't. My kids were not gonna slow me down!

I desperately tried to keep up. And wanted to. I loved it. I loved being in the work. Being a part of the work. I loved every missions trip. I loved every activity. (ok not true, but for the most part I did)

A few years later after being scared to death that SB would happen again and coming to grips with God's sovereignty we had Milo.  Milo was my sweet angel baby and now my very hyper 5 year old. He adores me. I adore him. It works out well for us.
A couple years after that we had Vander. My lazy snuggle bug. Daddy's boy all the way and one really bad two year old.  But he's super fun.

We were done. DONE DONE.  (yea right)

A couple years AFTER THAT we had Wren. You can read a little about her scary beginning here.

Somewhere between all those babies ministry changed drastically for me. It was a slow change not an overnight one. I stopped making it to every activity. I stopped going on missions trips. I stopped saying yes to everything and pushing myself to be a part of everything.

I felt like a failure. I felt like maybe I had given up. Maybe I wasnt trying hard enough. Maybe my heart wasnt in it. I was wrong somehow. Because it didnt even feel like I was a part of it anymore. The church had moved on without me and I was living a very different life than I had planned.

It has taken me some time, and its still sometimes a struggle to remind myself. But I am doing ministry. My ministry might look different from Nate's, but I'm doing it. I'm doing one of the most important things I could be doing. If I choose to look at it differently I can easily choose to be bitter against my kids, bitter against God for allowing my children to have special needs. The needs and their lives consume me. They are little vacuums that suck about all the energy and life I have.  I minister every day. When I change a diaper, I minister. When I make a meal, I minister. When I discipline, I minister. When I teach them, I minister. and heaven help me even when I do laundry, I minister. 

I miss things in ministry and honestly a lot of times its the fun things. The London trips, the Guatemala trips, The activities, (except for when we were with young families then my kids did the activities with us, it was awesome) I give up what some might view as the "REAL" stuff.  The hardcore ministry. But Im beginning to look at it differently. I'm giving up the really neat fun stuff, the spiritual highs and the great opportunities, for the front battle lines. I'm raising the next generation of ones that follow Jesus. Ones that stand for righteousness. Ones that will fight for their faith. Ones that will share their faith. And honestly with todays news, possibly the ones that will die for their faith. 

I'm IN ministry. The greatest most important ministry that God could have ever given me the responsibility for.

And trust me when I say, I know that this isnt just Pastor's wives that struggle with this. I know there are plenty of wives that are at home right now while their husbands seem to be a part of something bigger, something greater. I hope I can encourage you with, 
If you are doing what God has called you to do than you are doing the greatest, biggest something you could be doing. 
to doubt that would be to doubt God. 



ps  I still love working in the church and I do every chance I get. But I no longer feel the guilt when I say no because I know I'm choosing what God has called me to. He granted me these lives to take care of and he allowed 2 of these lives to need extra care. There is no doubt in my mind I'm doing what's best. And yes I do look forward to a time in my life when I will be able to do even more for the church and "traditional ministry jobs" but I dont pine for it. 

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