This blog has recorded my personal history over the past five years. It began as an outlet...It gave me a voice when I felt I had no voice. Five years ago I was a pastor's wife, pregnant with our fifth child. Five years ago I went to every pew, every Sunday morning to shake hands, give hugs and welcome. Five years ago, a couple that we were fond of gave me the cold shoulder when I went to reach for their hands. I remember his words, "I told my wife that I was never going to speak to you again." The husband looked down at my belly. "You do know how this happens?"
Five years ago, after the typical/horrible business meeting, the hospitality committee took stock of the covered dish left-overs....They had been sitting out since before Sunday School, hours earlier. The random fly feasting here and there. "Why don't we wrap all this up for the pastor and his family?' Trying to head off another puke fest, I said, "Oh, no thank you. I just went to the store yesterday and the fridge and freezer are full."
"If the preacher's freezer is full we must be doing something wrong," scoffed the chairman as he threw the food into twenty or so doggy bags for us.
Five years ago I began to slip.
The only voices I heard were the scoffers. I was bitter and torn down. These church members, who had supported their previous pastor through his infidelity, were casting stones at us because I was pregnant. My pregnancy was just an excuse though, these were preacher-eaters at their finest. I couldn't see past them and sadly, I didn't even try. One of the biggest regrets in my life is that I didn't look around and notice the cloud of witnesses that surrounded us. There were dear saints, wonderful people who loved our family. They worked so hard to prop us up, to keep us there.
Four years ago, we emerged from that church with just our family intact. Hard to believe that it's been four years, and then again, it feels like a different life ago.
I feel a little guilty conjuring all of this up again. But I have a point, I really do.
The fact is, my short stint as a pastor's wife has had a profound impact on who I am, how I worship...and where I want to go.
It's been a struggle to fit in. We've wrestled with our calling. We've had our hopes dashed and our feelings crushed. And I've felt like a failure because I'm not willing to go back to the same place. Maybe you've picked up on that, in between the lines these past five years.
Back then we sent our kid to school every morning and I chased after the bus in my bathrobe.
We'll start our fifth year of homeschooling in just a few weeks....And even though, it hasn't been all gum drops and lollie pops, I am grateful that my children aren't the only ones who have learned, who have changed, who have grown....I have, by leaps and bounds. There hasn't been any emergency exits...These five kids are mine, all day, everyday... and I wouldn't have it any other way. The growing pains have been real and some days have been inky black. I question my ability to do this only.... everyday.
His strength is made perfect through my weakness.
I'm married to a hard working man who gives to his family sacrificially. I know that being at home and teaching our children is his gift to me. I'm learning to make this place not just his home but his haven. I could have lost him three summers ago....It turned my world upside down to realize how fragile our life together is. I was reminded that our bond goes far beyond man and wife, it's eternal.
My definition of success has changed. Hearing my thirteen year old son read bedtime stories to his little sisters makes me feel pretty successful. I'd rather relationships be my legacy than
to chair a committee or speak into a microphone. I have observed how some pastors walk around with their cell phones strapped to their hip, rushing from one meeting to the next, stressed over this budget and that proposal, and I'm relieved....honestly relieved that this isn't my husband's life anymore.
I want us to be apart of the wonderful. I want the dreams that started us down this ministry path to come true. I want us to be untangled.
It all started because we thought we could make a difference.
Back sixteen years ago, when Michael Silver said, "Please, take me with you."
We always said that someday we would help out. Someday....we'd start a ministry for kids like him.
Someday is today or possibly Friday. When the life we now know smashes into our new one. The feeling that I'm unprepared rattles me. But how do we prepare?
We've have our supporters and I am choosing to hear them over any distractors.... Because the scoffers are wrong! I endured cruelty when I was pregnant with Ruby, not well, but by the grace of God we made it through. I have no doubt that we will be subject to stares, glares and rude observations now that we are opening our home to needy children. We will endure it because this is the work, the difference, we dreamt about all those years ago.
I know my heart will break. Just like with everything else, we can't control the outcome. But it's my prayer that we become stronger and more dependent all at the same time.
This blog is turning the corner. I've reflected enough on being a pastor's wife or my lack there-of. It has been healing for me to type it all out. And I hope, have always hoped, that being honest with my own experiences has been an encouragement to someone else. If only to say, "You are not alone." But I'm excited to shift gears!! We could possibly add two more children to our chaotic quiver by this weekend.
Fostering/Adoption. I'll keep you posted.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9