If I could go back twenty years to when my husband and I stood on the precipice of ministry in that tiny four-corner village, what would I say my young and naïve heart?
To that small-town pastor’s wife,
You feel unsure. The big fish in your little pond have loud voices. Stay strong, sweet sister. There’s hope in the hardship. Sins committed against you within that country church might break your heart. But the truly devastating sins will be the ones you commit against others in the name of self-preservation. God will reveal shocking roots of pride, selfishness, and a fear of man. He will call you to humble repentance.
It will be years before some scars heal, decades for others. But if you seek the Lord more than you seek validation, acceptance, or getting your way, you will learn contentment. Days wasted on your strength, your wisdom, and forging your way will be redeemed. You’ll learn the strange lesson that improved circumstances, higher attendance, or filled offering plates do not bring contentment. Contentment isn’t a feeling; it is a choice. It is a choice to rejoice in the goodness of God because your joy is found in Him, not circumstances.
You’ll trust your heart to untrustworthy people and get hurt. You’ll unintentionally hurt others. You’ll believe the lie that intimate friendships are not possible for the pastor’s wife. You’ll long to be known, but you’ll resist transparency. You’ll take far too long to learn that isolation is not a safe place. When sacrificing friendship and community becomes too costly, you’ll reach out again. But this time, wisdom reminds you that only Jesus loves perfectly. Wisdom prepares you to offer and receive grace.
Dark days will overwhelm you, but you will also be overwhelmed with the privilege of being used by God, overwhelmed by His grace, and overwhelmed by His love. You’ll absorb hits from the enemy, but you’ll get back up because your life is God’s life. Your church is His church. It is His ministry, and you are His daughter to use as He sees fit. The thought will both scare you and comfort you in a strange and intimate dance. You’ll eventually accept that God has used every struggle to sanctify you, stretch you, and solidify your faith. That drives you to your knees in gratitude.
Your black and white world will accept grey in some things but not in others. You’ll come full circle and discover that some things are black and white after all. You’ll learn to pray, wearing God’s armor and waging war against the forces of darkness. You’ll learn that all-in, authentic, humble, and God-centered prayer brings glory to God in a way that periodic, request-based, I-need-God-to-perform prayer cannot. It terrifies the enemy when you finally, fully depend on the Lord to do what only He can do. Jesus is building His church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).
Stay strong, sweet sister.
Join us as we read Stacey Weeks’ book, Glorious Surrender, together on the Facebook Secret Page beginning October 15. You can order Glorious Surrender on Amazon.
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