Monday, September 28, 2015

the life of a ministry spouse

So I know people write about being a ministry spouse all the time, and I've not ever read one of those posts that I don't agree with at least a majority of their viewpoints and opinions on the matter. The opinions about the loneliness, friendless, and glass house life you live is true. The perspective of the outsider, yet the insider is a perspective few experience, but among those who experience it, all agree that it is not always (not even often) pretty. The blessings you get to see firsthand and the opportunity to pray for others in a way that many don't get the opportunity to ever understand is one of high responsibility and high calling - and one of high blessing! There is a perspective, though, that I've not heard of often - and that is the perspective of the spouses CHOICE in this matter.

People often ask me if I'm "happy" here in Pennsylvania. People often ask me if I'm "happy" being a ministry wife and a SAH (stay at home) mom and homeschooling the boys so that we can have the life that we want to have all while being fully available for "the ministry". Here is the kicker - being "happy" is a CHOICE I have made. When I married Tony, I didn't marry him with stipulations and regulations about how and where our life together had to take us. I married him because I was smitten with his looks, his heart, and who he was together. Life had a way of playing itself out in some not so pretty ways and then in some beautiful ways, and in all those times, I had a CHOICE to make - keep running the race with him, or not. The choice to join in the ministry with Tony was a choice that fell into place with all of the other choices I make daily. The choice to get up in the morning and be "happy" is a responsibility that falls on nobody else but me. Circumstances seem to sometimes dictate whether people are happy or not, and that is a fallacy that has crept into our thinking. I can dislike circumstances and things that have happened, but happiness is a choice of the position in which your heart takes during those times. Happiness is a matter of the heart, not a matter of circumstance.

Today's culture is skewed in the thinking that other people and other things make you happy. I promise you, if that were true, I would be always searching for that - which seems to be what so many other people are doing - searching for happiness. Happiness is a choice we have to clothe ourselves in - just like we pick out our clothes for the day, we must choose what we will clothe our hearts in each day. We are given each breath, each moment to make a choice, and that choice is ours.

So I choose to be happy married to an imperfect man who has made terrible choices and has daily failed me. I choose to be content staying home with two imperfect children who are just as fallen short of the glory of the Lord as I am. I choose to be a spouse of a minister who prays for and is burdened by so many in the walls of the church. I choose to pray for and over those in the church and in ministry because they need a covering. I choose that my heart will daily shout praises to the Lord even while the world around me seems to crumble.

Joshua 24:14-15 says "Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

Happiness and so many other conditions of the heart are a choice! Even Joshua knew that we must choose and that some would not....

"Choose this day whom you will serve... but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

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