Sunday, January 1, 2012

In the Beginning...

Pastor Anthony and Carla Hendricks, Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas

For weeks I've toiled over what I might share in this first blog post for A Pastor's Wife's Garden. I've thought about sharing the dismal statistics surrounding pastors and their families. I've considered writing a devotional on women leaders in the bible. I've also thought about sharing the story of how and why I began A Pastor's Wife's Garden. (You can actually read that story here.)

But I've decided to start with the beginning of the story.

In 2001, my husband and I packed up all our belongings, including our four-year-old rambunctious redhead Kalin, and moved to Franklin, Tennessee to join the pastoral staff of Strong Tower Bible Church. We had been praying for years that the Lord would direct us into ministry of some sort, and were thrilled to have finally received our "orders."

Although I was excited to walk with my husband in his new calling as a pastor, I also felt anxious and unprepared. What did it mean to be a pastor's wife? What was my role? What were my responsibilities? I had no answers, but lots of questions.

Maybe you felt the same way I did when you became a pastor's wife. Maybe you had a mix of emotions similar to mine. Maybe you worried about doing the wrong thing or saying the wrong thing. Maybe you worried that somehow God got it wrong.

I sure did.

I looked at my husband with his extroverted personality and ready smile, and thought, "Wow God, what a perfect man you chose to minister to your people. I totally get it."

I looked at myself with my introverted personality and downright fear of people and their opinions of me, and thought, "Wow God, You couldn't have chosen a worse candidate as a pastor's wife. I don't get it at all."

I thought a pastor's wife should have it together. I thought I should be uber-confident and spiritual. I thought my adjustment to my new life, new town and new role should be immediate. Unfortunately, all of these things were far from my reality. On the outside I tried my hardest to smile and pretend that things were fine. In reality I was falling apart on the inside.

And this was the condition of my heart when I stepped into the role of pastor's wife.

Today I look back on that period of my life, and I smile. I learned so much in those years about pleasing God first, and not man. I learned how to be comfortable in my own skin. How to be myself and not anyone else. And you know the most interesting thing? I actually started to like myself.

I have grown under the healing balm of God's grace. He continues to speak words of love and acceptance of me. And He's speaking them to you today.

He loves me. He loves you.

He affirms me. He affirms you.

He has called me. He has called you.

And yet our callings may look different. Some of you are musically gifted and lead your churches in worship, while others of you teach bible study. Some of you lead your children's ministry, while others of you manage administrative responsibilities. Some of you co-lead your churches alongside your husbands, even carrying the title of "co-pastor."

I rejoice in the calling God has specifically placed on your life. He didn't just call your husband. He called you too.

The Lord has called me to assist in women's ministry. He has called me to teach in the children's ministry and teach our children interpretive sign language and praise music. And He's called me to a bunch of ministries outside of our local church: serving The CALL foster care/adoption ministry, writing and editing for Christian and mainstream publications, and blogging my heart out throughout the week.

And now He's called me to encourage you, my pastor's wife-sisters, as we stroll through A Pastor's Wife's Garden every week on Mondays. Can you feel the grass of the Garden crunching between your toes? Isn't it amazing?

Love,

Carla

24 comments:

  1. Musical ability isn't a talent, it's a learned skill.

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  2. well said Carla! Over the years I have often looked at my very extroverted pastor-husband and wondered why God would have given him such an introverted wife! lol There is a place for all of us in His church :)

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  3. Great post, Carla...well said! It was not a role I was prepared for either. I thought I needed to know all the answers and that was intimidating. But, as I have grown I realized that no one can have all the answers but Him!

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  4. Anonymous, I agree with you. However, I believe God gives some of us "extra ability" in different areas. A combination of God-given talent and learned skill makes for a Mozart or Beethoven. Thanks for your comment!

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  5. Yes, there is a place for all of us Tara!! Thanks for your comment. Bless you, Sister!

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  6. Alida, I appreciate your comments. You're right. We're blessed in all our roles when we trust Him to be the expert! Blessings to you, Sis!

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  7. I love reading your life-giving words, Carla. I think we can all relate to this in some way. :)

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  8. So glad to see your new blog! We have been in full-time ministry for just over a year and I still find myself teetering between where you were and where you are. So good to know that my space doesn't have to continue to be one of ambiguity. Looking forward to hearing from you each week!

    Leah

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  9. Monique, thanks so much. I hope everyone will find something they can relate to in the Garden, even women without husbands in ministry. Maybe even some of our brothers in Christ will find something here...

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  10. Leah, thanks for coming by the Garden! And thanks for sharing your heart here. Blessings on you and your hubby in the ministry God's called you to.

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  11. I came across your blog on (in)courage. Very beautiful heart and words. I think you're going to touch a lot of lives with this blog:)

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  12. Audry CeCe, welcome to A Pastor's Wife's Garden! So glad to have you here. Thank you for reading and for you beautiful comments. And thanks for joining this site.

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  13. What an interesting life to be a pastor's family. Joy, fatigue, reward, discouragement. I'm glad you're writing about this journey!!! Can't wait to read more.

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  14. Christy, I'm so glad you joined us for the journey!!! You are right. It's a life of great highs and lows. Thank for letting me know you've joined us!

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  15. God calls us in spite of our weaknesses for sure all to give Him glory!!

    love your honesty!!

    God bless 2012!!

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  16. Thanks Mountain Mama! You're right. In our weaknesses, we make Him shine. Blessings to you!

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  17. I am so excited to find this blog for pastor's wives. I am a newbie - just two years now. It has been a thrilling yet tough journey. I thank God that we can connect with each other here and share our heart.

    If there's anything I can do to help you, just let me know!

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  18. Hi Shannon! Guess what? We were all newbies once. And that's what we're focusing on this month -- when we first became pastor's wives. Praying for your "thrilling yet tough journey." So glad you've gotten connected here!

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  19. What a beautiful post! Thanks for sharing. I have been a minister's wife for almost 17 years and I can still say I sometimes struggle with these issues! I look forward to learning and sharing more with you! Feel free to read my story here http://arringtonmom.wordpress.com/

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  20. Ronnie! Thanks for joining us here in the Garden. 17 years and still growing like the rest of us! Can't wait to visit your blog too.

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  21. This is so beautiful. I love your honesty and heart. I feel so blessed that Monique thought to connect me with you and the Garden:} Like the TCK's that we are raising, missionaries are often in no-man's land between lay, pastor and then wild card missionary...so thankful that with blogging and writing, I can really find and belong to a community like this:}

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  22. Abby, I'm so glad you're a part of the Garden now! Can't wait to hear you share your heart too. I can only imagine the loneliness that you must feel as a missionary, but your journey is so much like ours. I'm happy God has connected us.

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  23. Thank you so much for this! I became a pastor's wife just 7 months ago, and I have thought so many of these things! Never, ever in a million years thought I would be a pastor's wife, yet here I am. When I started dating him, I felt that he might be the one, so I prayed that if he was, that I would allow God to mold me into the wife that he needed, but to retain my individuality! He really does equip those that he calls. Right now I feel my biggest gift is to just love the people in his two churches. I also write for the newsletter and sometimes go on visits with my husband. It's so good to read stories like yours.

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  24. Wow, seven months! So you've just joined this "Garden" full of beautiful flowers and also thorns and thickets. God bless you in your journey and for "just loving" people. Thanks for joining us here!

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