|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?