After twenty years

By Marcia Lee Laycock

As I sit here at my computer, trying to think of a slant for this article, my mind is flitting back over almost 20 years of ministry. It flies back to the day my husband, Spence, came in the door of our cabin near Dawson City, Yukon, laughing because our pastor had just predicted that Spence would be in the ministry some day. I didn’t laugh. I also remember the words my brother-in-law spoke the day before I married Spence. He said if I stuck with his brother, I’d never be bored. Both predictions have proven true.

Just two years after the day Spence laughed about going into ministry, we were on our way to Bible College. A few years after that, we arrived at our first (and, so far, only) pastorate in Alberta. I have never been bored.

Over the years, I have heard horror stories about ministry couples – the damage done by their congregations or by themselves – and I thank God that we have had no such traumas to endure. We have struggled from time-to-time, as all people do, as we tried to find our purpose, God’s intent and a balance between the demands of the vocation and the need to guard our energies and family-time. Even in the struggles, we were blessed.

I think back to a re-entry period when we returned from a year’s sabbatical on the mission field. God taught me so much about myself and Himself in that one year; it was difficult to process it all. Then, returning to North American culture and the North American Church almost destroyed my relationship with our church and the people God had given us to lead. But, in the struggle, I was blessed. I arrived on the far side of that mountain knowing that the Church, as dysfunctional and flawed as it is, truly is God’s design. I felt privileged to be a pastor’s wife.

Discovering how desperately I had tried to fit into a very tight mould as the pastor’s wife freed me to break out of it as God showed me it was only His expectations that matter. When the sting of being spurned by people in the church was almost too much, He showed me that it was His love that would never disappoint. When my husband was under attack, God reminded me what He suffered to act as the Reconciler in a world that rejected Him. And when I felt alone, He held my hand.

Looking back on twenty years of ministry, it is tempting to fall into the guilt-trap. I didn’t do enough. I should have . . . should have . . . should have . . . . But with every failure came new understanding, and with every achievement, the acknowledgement that it is God who does it all.

While on the mission field, God taught me that He loves me for just being who I am, not for what I do. So, after 20 years, I am both content and excited to know I will continue, Lord willing, perhaps even for another 20 years, to be a pastor’s wife.


Marcia and her husband left their first pastorate in August 2007 to begin again with a new church plant. Marcia is an award-winning author and speaker. Visit her website at