Press On, Sweet SisterBy Stacey Weeks
July 16, 2020
When my husband and I first entered full-time ministry, I was confident I knew how life would play out. But after five short years, we had packed our bags to leave, convinced we were unfit for the calling. Ministry has a funny way of turning our certainties on their heads.
We might both be involved in ministry, but your journey will be distinctive to you. You have brought your own set of expectations and certainties to this adventure. Your relationship with the Lord is uniquely yours, shaped by his sovereign hand to craft you into the image of himself. The edges he sands off of you might be vastly different from my sharp edges. The stretching you endure will be intimately tied to your needs and his will for your life. The only certainty I can claim that we share with 100% confidence is our need to remain before the cross in humble dependence upon God’s mercy, admitting our constant need for him.
When I first promised God that I would follow him anywhere, excitement and fear collided. I had been told that the ministry would be difficult. I knew that God never promised me an easy life. But nothing prepared me for what occurred in my heart while serving the Lord through serving my husband and God’s people. I haven’t walked this road perfectly, and neither will you. If I could go back, I would do some things differently. I would strive to be more teachable, more vulnerable, and less self-assured. Sins committed against me broke my heart, but the truly devastating sins were the ones I committed against others in self-preservation. God revealed in me shocking roots of pride, selfishness, and a fear of man. He called me to humble repentance. He exposed the plank obstructing my vision and painfully removed it because He loves me. Your sins and struggles are likely different from mine, but God will expose them and call you to repentance. It will be painful.
It was years before some of my scars healed, decades for others. Some wounds are still bleeding. But as I sought the Lord more then I sought validation, acceptance, or getting my way, I learned contentment. I learned the strange lesson that improved circumstances, higher attendance, or filled offering plates do not bring peace or security because contentment isn’t a feeling. Contentment is a choice. It is a choice to rejoice in God’s goodness because I find joy in him, not the idol of improved conditions. The idols that tempt you toward independence might be different from the ones that tempt me, but we must smash all idols. Either we break them, or God will break them.
I trusted my heart to untrustworthy people, and they hurt me. I hurt others. I felt misunderstood. I failed to meet expectations. For far too long, I believed the lie that intimate friendships were not possible for the pastor’s wife. I longed to be known, but I resisted transparency, failing to realize that sacrificing friendship and community is too costly. Isolation is not a safe place. I had to learn to reach out while knowing that only Jesus loves perfectly. It will be difficult to offer and receive grace when human relationships fail, but friendships that sharpen, stretch your boundaries and limits, and refuse to scratch itching ears are worth pursuing. Don’t give up on friendship.
I’ve questioned my calling and wondered how long I could keep on. I’ve wept over the burdens I see my husband struggling to carry. I’ve absorbed hits from the enemy, and so will you. But we will finish this race if we make the daily decision to walk the path the Lord has put before us. Keep moving forward. Fix your eyes on Jesus. God is sovereign over everything and everyone you love. The thought both scares and comforts in a strange and intimate dance. Weeping may visit during the darkness of night, but joy comes with the sunrise. Only God can turn our mourning into dancing. You might not dance today, and you might not dance tomorrow, but you will dance again. You will dance clothed with gladness, and as the dawn breaks, your praise and your thanks will rise as a fragrant offering to the Lord. Our journeys are different in many ways, but it is a blessing to belong to a community that has accepted me as I am but also acknowledges that I am not yet all that God desires me to be. Let’s walk this road together. Two are better than one. Press on, sweet sister.
This article was adapted from Stacy’s book, Glorious Surrender. Featured image credit.