“For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:12, NASB).
About 18 months ago, my husband felt God’s call to preach. I was thrilled. After all, that was what I had desired; I wanted to be the wife of a man after God’s own heart, a man devoted to the ministry, a man who served the Lord. What I didn’t expect was the fear and questioning that would shortly thereafter grab hold of my heart.
Since that day, I have watched my husband grow in his walk with Jesus. God lit a fire inside of his heart that burns for knowledge of His Word and sharing it with others. I’ve found myself almost envious at times of how easily he shares the Gospel with others. Yes, there is no doubt in my mind that God has called him to preach His message.
So we started college together; he is majoring in religion and I am majoring in psychology with a cognate in Christian counseling. We prayed and felt God leading us to minister together. Although it is challenging to go to school (even online), find time for each other and family, balance church in the mix and work full time, we’ve made it happen.
Then my husband felt God leading him to start a church plant, beginning with a weekly Bible study in our home. Whoa, whoa, wait – so now people will come into our house? Our house is small. Quite small. We have busy schedules, so although our home is tidy, cleaning is not always at the top of the priority list in the midst of everything else. It’s clean … it’s not “company clean.” Great, so now I have to fit that into my schedule. And what do you mean start a church plant? Start a church? Now? You’re not even ordained yet! Nevertheless, we began our weekly study. To be honest, we were the only ones to show. I did my best to encourage him, letting him know that the ones who were meant to be there, were there. We studied Elijah together and it was a wonderful blessing. Secretly, I was glad it was just the two of us.
After some rearranging of bedrooms, he got the idea to make our addition the sanctuary. Okay, that’s better; it has its own bathroom and entrance, so sure, why not? Yet I don’t think I was entirely convinced that this church plant would happen very quickly, so I didn’t share his urgency in getting the room clean and ready. In fact, I didn’t do much of anything to help at all. My prayers did not include one about this church growing, or even forming for that matter. What happened?
I lost sight of God’s vision. Instead of trusting Him for everything involved in this ministry, I began to worry. I worried about my husband and his abilities. I worried about a church board that did not yet exist. I worried about finances if the ministry become full-time. I worried about that (imaginary) lady in the back who complained about what I wore that day. I worried … about me.
One of the first questions my husband asked after feeling God’s call was “Why me?” This was quickly followed with “doesn’t God know my past??” Our pastor’s words to him reflected what I knew to be true: God can use your past to minister to others. That is true for each and every one of us. Read the Bible and it is evident that God uses some pretty messed up people all for HIS glory! Since the day he felt the call, I have encouraged him repeatedly that God would use him, not only in spite of his past, but because of it.
Evidently my philosophy along the way became do as I say, not as I believe about myself. God, don’t You know what I’ve done? How far from you I strayed? Yes, yes, your grace is sufficient to cover my sins, and yes, I want to serve you now, but hello? A pastor’s wife? I’m just not up for that challenge. Life in the fishbowl. Under a microscope. Come on, really?
Something happens when we’re honest with God; He is honest right back. He touched my heart with four little words: this isn’t about you. This is about Him. This is about a ministry to spread His Word, not my words, and not my husband’s words. If this calling was ever, EVER going to take root and grow, I had to get on board. The body of Christ is only effective if every member does its part, and lately, I have been the heel.
I began to pray for God to forgive my disobedient spirit and to bless His ministry through us. Something happened. Something small, yet significant. We got a call from my daughter saying she was coming to our church. This may not seem like a big deal, but this set ministry in motion. We studied God’s Word together, and then we discussed the future of Grace Church. God moved in our hearts; things are going to happen. We know some things will take time – everything in HIS time. However, rather than sitting around doing as little as possible, we’re moving forward. The body of Christ that my husband and I represent is finally working as a whole … because the stubborn little heel finally embraced God’s plan.