“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:10
I am thankful to have several ministry women and ministry wives that follow Cracked Pot Pieces blog. These women hold a special place in my heart and in my life. Lots of people who are called to others things and not to ministry cannot understand the unique position it is to work full time in this area of life. I am a ministry wife. I have been for over twenty years. I am blessed. And I am called upon to make sacrifices. Mostly, I don’t mind these sacrifices. I understand the burdens/blessings of a life in ministry.
I am rejoicing with a ministry wife friend of mine this week. She and her minister husband and their children are moving. Again… burdens/blessings. To pack up all of your worldly possessions and move them and your family to uncertain territory is both a burden and especially in this case, a blessing. My friend is so ready to get away from the people of their current church, she’d walk barefoot over hot coals the many miles to their new appointment.
When I hear her tell of the struggles and hardships her family has endured at the hands of these church people, I want to scream. We are warned that we will suffer for the cause of Christ, but I’m not sure we were properly warned that some of the suffering would come from the hands of those who also profess Him. I want to scream because I have been there. I have watched as my husband, who has given up what this world could provide him, has in the past also endured harsh criticism and mistreatment from those who claimed Jesus.
As ministry wives, we are forced to take a position that does not allow us to run these people over with our cars in the church parking lot. Don’t think that we haven’t thought about it. Don’t think that we haven’t sat behind the wheel and imagined it. We have.That and other tempting retributions involving hot tar and feathers. Ministry wives can be fiercely protective. Instead, we have to smile at the people who throw verbal daggers at our husbands, and go home and cry… or yell at… no one. Who can we yell at?
Often ministry wives have no one with whom they can be completely honest. No one they can vent to. We can talk to our husbands, and we do, but they are already suffering and we try not to add to their frustrations. Instead we love on them and encourage them to remain faithful. To endure. To run their race, however hard it is. To week after week continue to minister and lead the unleadable and teach the unteachable. But often we endure these things alone.
All for what? All for the Kingdom. For what most ministry wives still understand, is that the local church continues to be the hope of the world. It is still the way that the Lord is reaching people. And that even though it often doesn’t look like a blessing, even though lots of times it can appear as a burden, to be called to the ministry of the gospel is a high calling. So we send our spouses out to the front lines again and again. Not for the small monetary reward most get each month, but for the sake of eternity. Because they have been appointed by God to do it, and to do anything else would be like asking an American Idol hopeful not to sing. Okay, some of them really need to stop singing, but you get my point, I hope. Just as a fish must swim, those called of God to ministry, must minister.
There are wonderful church folks out there that recognize the blessings and burdens of a life in ministry. I thank the Lord for those people. They probably don’t know just how much they enhance the lives of those who work diligently to see the Kingdom of God realized here on earth. I am so thankful for the church where my husband now serves. We have been blessed there like never before. I am continually amazed.
If you have a ministry wife crossing your path regularly, remember to pray for her. When you see her, give her a hug. I promise you, she needs it… even if she has a smile on her face. Sometimes we mask the hurt in our hearts with a well-placed smile. You don’t have to be in ministry to know that’s true.
And to my friend, even while you were crying, praying, and imagining the fleas of a thousand camels inhabiting the armpits of those nasty churchgoers, God heard you. And when you thought He wasn’t listening, He was, and now you know just what He was doing for you.
And Stephanie? This song’s for you!