Pastor's Wife, Mom, Writer & Imperfect Seeker of Jesus
Pastors' Wives--One Tough Gal
August 31, 2015
Do you even realize how tough you are? I don’t mean that you have huge biceps and come out swinging. I mean deep inside where it counts. You might even feel defeated in this very moment, but I want to remind you of your strength. Every one of us needs that reminder at times.
Where I live in Indiana we get some pretty powerful thunderstorms. Lightning cracks across the sky, illuminating the fury down below as the wind whips through the trees and thunder shakes the very ground below us. I’ve watched trees bending over so low by the force of the wind that I was sure they would break right off. Especially those little guys, the saplings, those that don’t seem like they have very much trunk strength to begin with.
But in the calm of the morning...there they stand. Half their leaves strewn across the ground and maybe looking a little worse for wear, but still standing strong.
That’s me sometimes. Ministry is an incredible experience of blessings, but it can also be a raging storm tossing my life and emotions around. And just like some of those Indiana summer storms that come day after day until you reach the point where you wonder if the sun will ever shine again, Satan uses those storms in ministry to beat me down until I’m almost to the breaking point.
But then the Lord in His mercy reminds me that I AM still standing. Those divine interventions occur.
The first time was when a man from church who I have to look WAY up to caught me off guard. This is a man who is super active in various ministries and leadership roles in our church as well as in his personal family life and career. And he’s a big guy—literally. One day he looked down at me and said, “Tracy, I could never do what you do. Your life alongside Ryan is hard, and I really respect that. I couldn’t do it.” Wow.
Another time, a lady whose husband and herself both are leaders in our church in various ways and who have known us the entire 14 years we have been at our current location told me how often she and her husband discuss how many “needy” demands are placed on Ryan and how she would never be able to “share” her husband like I do with so many. And this is from a woman whose husband is regularly gone from town a third of every month for his own job.
It’s funny how those divine interventions seem to occur at just the times when I feel the most vulnerable and at the breaking point. It’s then that I am reminded that my strength is not from myself. I am nourished by the Word of God. Those in our ministry often hear Ryan and I both talk about how passionate we are for God’s Word. It is truly a connection with the Lord that sustains us and our marriage.
It would really be SO easy to just sit around with other ministry families and gripe about all the difficult and unexpectedly ridiculous situations and expectations we find ourselves in. And while that might feel good for a moment, it surely won’t strengthen us.
“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” (Psalm 3:1-3 NLT)
I want to be that tree whose roots grow deep and tap into the nourishing flow of the Living Water so that in those heartbreaking, difficult times in my life that Jesus promises me I WILL go through (John 16:33), I will bend, but I will NOT break.
Each year after the storms go through, I often come across a massive tree that has broken in two and fallen completely to the ground. A tree that stood majestically just days before, providing comforting shade from the blasting heat, strong branches to swing from and reflecting the awesomeness of God. The leaves are still green lying there on the ground. The bark still secure. But upon closer inspection I almost always discover that the tree was dying inside. It was no longer tapped into its source of nourishment, and it could only maintain its strength alone for so long.
I want to encourage you too, sister pastor’s wives, to stay tapped into the Word on a personal level. Don’t try to power on alone, or Satan’s attacks will eventually dry you from the inside out. Take this from someone who almost let him do it to her. Only then will you find a strength that you never knew was possible.