I have to admit that in 1996, I wasn't a huge fan of The Preacher's Wife. Loved the cast, loved the music, but somehow the plot just seemed a bit -- well, cheesy.
This holiday season I've stumbled upon The Preacher's Wife again, and somehow it resonated with me this time. Perhaps it's because of Whitney Houston's death, which has made me extremely nostalgic over anything Whitney. After all, every time I watch Whitney sing a gospel song, I'm a weepy mess all over again. Needless to say, watching her sing "I Love the Lord" ruined me.
Yet, I realized something else touched my heart about the story this time. In 1996, I was the wife of a corporate businessman. Today, in 2012, I am "The Preacher's Wife".
And suddenly I'm relating to the "First Lady" like never before. Here's how:
"I didn't sign up for this"
I've found myself pondering these six words more during the eleven years of full-time ministry than ever before. And a whole lot in the last three.
Now mind you, I was totally on board when my husband Anthony entered pastoral ministry. As a matter of fact, he and I both felt called at the same time.
What I didn't sign up for were the uncertainties, the challenges, and the warfare I experience. Of course I'm sure if God had given me a glimpse of it all, I would have run the other way -- faster than Road Runner escaping the salivating jaws of Wile E. Coyote.
I never expected ministry to be so draining
It's not unusual for a woman to feel like she shares her husband with his job. Most corporations today demand too much from their employees, expecting them to stay "plugged in" twenty-four hours a day.
But it's hard when your husband works for the church. It's hard when his boss is -- well, God. Who do you get angry with? There's no boss whose picture you can throw darts at.
Whitney's character, Julia, could relate. With her husband consumed with the problems and responsibilities of the church, she was lonely and discouraged. Not a good way to begin the Christmas season.
A few weeks ago, I found myself the belle of a major pity party. I was tired, overwhelmed with a huge list of "to do's" and discouraged about the holidays. As I surveyed our Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday calendar, all I saw was ministry, ministry and more ministry. I saw no family outings, no birthday celebrations (Anthony, the kids and I all have birthdays around the holidays) and no R & R. I saw only ministry -- with more to come in the New Year.
I completely melted down.
However, after some time with God and after saying "no" to a couple of things, God gently reminded me of a hard truth: "Carla, I love you, and you are vitally important to me. But.. it's not all about you. Not even during the holidays. Not even on your birthday."
It's an ongoing adventure
I don't expect any good-looking angels like Denzel to come knocking on my door any time soon. However, this ministry life continues to be an adventure like none other. My goodness, I'm even leading our children's Christmas program -- like Julia! Next they'll have me belting out solos. Then again, maybe not...
The bottom line is, God has signed me up for an adventure that I don't even feel worthy of. I'm totally grateful for His calling, His entrusting me with loving and serving His people.
This Christmas, I choose to be grateful for this gift of ministry.
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