When I met Fred at Union University, he was a communications major with an emphasis in journalism. Shortly after we started dating, he changed his major to Biblical studies. I’ve known for a long time that we would spend our life serving the church in some way. During our college days, while other normal college students were doing college activities, we were taking teenagers to summer church camp. Yes, we were. When we got married, Fred was on staff at a church as a pastor to students. Since that time I’ve never really known any other different life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way…on most days. I can’t lie. There are days where ministry is really hard. There are days where I’ve found myself crying on the floor, wondering why Fred chose this life for us. (Those are my thoughts on bad days, which don’t come very often. I know Fred did not choose this life for me. I know that God chose this life for us, and I willingly entered it with him. I also know that God is in control.) But today, I don’t want to focus on the difficult things.
In a sermon a while back Fred read a quote by Rick Warren. This is it:
Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it’s kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life.
No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on. And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can be thankful for.
You can focus on your answers, or you can focus on your problems.
If you focus on your problems, you’re going into self-centeredness, “which is my problem, my issues, my pain.”
But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto others. We need to ask ourselves; Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity? Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by what my life’s purpose is? What I can BE for others and not just DO?
When things are going really well in your life and you think you have the world at your fingertips, it’s best to remember that there’s something more than likely coming up the other side of the track that will upset you. So, if you stay humble when things are going well, it makes it easier to deal with the problems that will inevitably arise when they aren’t.
Amen, right? His quote changed the way I viewed ministry/our lives. There are always good things and always negative things. I choose (on most days. Grin) to see the positive. So here’s my list of what I love about being the wife of a pastor:
My children have 200 grandparents.
Seriously, Andrew and I took a trip with our senior adults a while back and I thought his head was going to hurt. Every time our senior adults passed him they would pat his head and wink or grin. It was really sweet. In fact, on that same trip he was eating candy at 9:00 am. Because that’s what you do when you are with a bus load of extra grandparents. They remember my children’s birthdays, send Christmas cards, and think of little details to make life special.
One word: Potluck
If you are not Baptist or in the South, you may not know about this phenomenon. A potluck meal is where everyone brings “enough for their family, plus one more”. It is delightful. You cannot imagine the delicious food I have consumed over the years. One lady at our very first church made homemade Stromboli for every potluck. Bless my soul I still have dreams about it. Another lady made the very best lasagna. In fact, it was so good I wrote this blog post about it.
I have friends in all age categories.
Because we are in a multi generational church I have the opportunity to be with people of all ages. Most people only have friends around there own age. I can honestly say I have friends in every age category and it makes me smile. I have people beside me, behind me, and ahead of me. I don’t just know them. I get to do life with them.
You get to celebrate with people in all the exciting events of life.
When someone gets married, has a baby, or anything else exciting, you are there to celebrate with them, and that is so fun. Plus, at weddings, there is always cake. I can tell you, I have partaken in some delicious wedding cake over the years.
You get to witness God’s transforming power in the lives of others.
Nothing thrills us more than seeing God work in someone’s life. It is amazing to walk with someone through a valley and see God work. I love seeing men and women point their families to Christ. I just love it. And the great thing is that you get to follow it through the years…generation after generation. You get to see how God changes people from the inside out.
You have a live in theologian.
Fred has 8 years of seminary under his belt. I’m not saying he knows everything about the Bible, but we can have a really good conversation about it. This really does come in handy. Whenever I’m reading the Bible and I have a question from the Bible, I just stop and ask Fred. It’s awesome.
An entire congregation prays for Fred, me, and our boys.
Who else but someone in the ministry has that many people pleading for them before the throne? Not a week goes by that someone does not send me a text letting me know they are praying for family. It is always just what I need and just at the right time.
Over our years together we have served three different congregations–four if you count the church he served while we were dating in college. I have lifelong friends from each stop of our journey. I’ve learned many life lessons and I’ve been met with grace many times. Sure, there are some days when I wonder why Fred didn’t continue in a career in journalism or law or graphic design. Sure, there are days where my feelings get hurt by someone at church. Sure, there are times where people disappoint me. But, life is a railroad track…there is always good and always bad. I choose to focus on the positive. And, as you can see, there is plenty of that.
Oh, and, at the risk of coming across as self-interested, my great friend, Melanie Redd, wrote a post about loving your pastor and his family. If you need ideas on how to do that, please read this article.
And to those of you in the different places we’ve served, thank you for loving us, for encouraging us and putting up with us. God has used you to make the difficult work of ministry a joy!