Thursday, November 17, 2011

New thoughts for the day

I know it has been a really long time since I have added anything to this blog but I had something on my heart to share and just wanted to place it here hoping if I share a little of my story then perhaps it will help other that are planting new churches.
I also wanted to encourage you to check out the Church Planter Wives Network page of Facebook and like the page so you also can become involved in sharing and encouraging other wives around the country who are planting churches alongside their husbands.

Planter Wives Network
Wives of church planters are faced with many roles as they serve beside their husbands. Here is an example of the roles they seek to fill at any given time in early church planting ministry. Keeper and organizer of the home, Children’s church coordinator, hospitality coordinator, financial organizer of home and sometimes of church, helper in music ministry, outreach ministry organizer and or helper, women’s’ ministry provider, and the list could go on and on depending on the ministry context of each place and the ministries each plant seeks to provide to their communities.

Some may say, there is no way one person can do all that, well, in the early stages of planting a planter wife may very well wear all those hats at any given moment and on a given Sunday may do at least 3 of those things. Many of the hats are worn throughout the week as she seeks to serve alongside her husband.
I remember in our early planting years, I worked at raising our children, keeping and organizing our home, providing instrumental music during the service, coordinated hospitality, taught children ,ages k-6, worked with ladies bible studies and served wherever needed when mission groups would come in to help. Later in ministry, I continued to homeschool our children, maintain a piano business, work in children’s ministries and conducted Ladies bible studies. This is just a small list of all that was done in early ministry.

The wife of a church planter works very hard to support her husband and the ministry that God has called him to. She will become very lonely because her time is stretched considerably as she tries to balance, home, family and ministry. So how does one continue without breaking down!!

The key areas of help for me were this:
I stayed in God’s word daily for my strength. I read books by authors who encouraged me in ministry. I found that relationships with the ladies in my church that I purposefully chose to disciple helped me to see the eternal value in the work of the ministry. I prayed for mentoring relationships where I could be mentored by someone older than me, one that could walk alongside of me to keep me accountable and then one that I could develop in her walk with the Lord. I saw the Lord provide this in my life in each area I traveled with my husband.

My husband and I would go through what I like to call a “Marriage checkup”. These were times in our marriage where we could tell we were going in opposite directions and we needed to come back together and get on the same page. These talks were always difficult and sometimes hard to do but by clearing the air, discussing areas of the heart openly and honestly with each other and then praying together for God’s direction in our home and family we have kept a wonderful and fulfilled ministry home and family. Mark and I would also find a place we could go without distraction where we could unwind and decompress and just enjoy each other and our family. These times of rest were also important for our home.

I have also chosen to have realistic expectations of ministry. I have often looked at the life of Billie and Ruth Graham as my ministry example. I look at how she worked hard to raise her children to love the Lord while her husband traveled and served all over the world to win people to Christ. I see how even though her family struggled and had problems of their own she never lost sight of supporting her husband and “holding down the fort” if you will to see him be used of God.

As church planter wives, we are the ones God uses to support and enhance the ministries of our husbands and as we keep our relationship with God strong then he will work out the rest in our lives as we remain surrendered and available to be used however God sees fit to use us.