Sometimes I’m NOT always right
I admit it. I’m a bit of a perfectionist. Actually, I’m one-third over achiever, one-third spotlight hog, and one-third control freak. That adds up to one heck of a pastor’s wife.
One year ago, my husband, Mark, started his first full-time position as a youth pastor. Due to the church’s struggles and circumstances, he has since taken on the additional roles of worship pastor and associate pastor. With each new position comes more responsibility, more time in front of the congregation, and more worry fluttering around in the lower region of my belly.
The night before Mark’s first sermon, I strained to close my eyes to sleep. When I finally drifted off, Mark started his slow, steady snoring that indicates he’s safely off in dreamland. However, it also indicates that I’m about to be wrenched from my dreamland because no noise—no matter how soft and low—allows me to remain shut-eyed. But tomorrow was Mark’s big morning and he needed all the rest he could get. So I stared at the ceiling for most of the night. I used the time to pray for Mark’s sermon—for his delivery, wit, and general appeal to the congregation. I used the time to pray for his nerves, his ability to eat breakfast, his energy level. I prayed for everything, but one thing God needed me to pray for . . . myself.
When I got out of bed that morning, it felt like a flock of famished seagulls were vying for a piece of bread in the pit of my stomach. When I shook people’s hands at church that morning, they all commented on how cold I was to the touch. As Mark walked up to the podium, I thought my pounding heart was going to burst the seams of my shirt. And then you know what happened? I realized that God was in control.
Mark spoke with an authority I had never seen him speak with before. When he slipped in a funny piece, the congregation laughed—not a little chuckle, but a full-on guffaw. And I realized that in all my worry, I had completely taken the Holy Spirit out of the equation.
That day I saw that my husband truly is a servant of God. Mark prays regularly and soaks up Scripture, but it became clear to me that I was still doubting that Mark’s words and actions were really God-led. As a result, I often tried to re-work Mark’s approach and attempted to “help” him make his words, worship, and events engaging. But Mark is doing just fine and, as his wife, the best assistance I can offer him is simply my unconditional support—not my unconditional critique.
Initially, I needed God’s help to show me how to let go. This is a lesson I’d already failed to learn a few times before. But this time I admitted, before God, that I had to change once and for all, in order to better glorify Him and edify my husband.
And so I’ve discovered that being a pastor’s wife is ultimately humbling. No matter what expectations and suppositions I brought in, it’s really all about trusting your spouse and, most importantly, trusting in God. I’ve realized that God doesn’t need me to pray through all the details. He just needs me to honestly rely on Him and have the faith to believe that He is in control of all things big and small.
But the greatest peace I’ve found is in seeing that God is taking care of my husband. As Mark’s helpmate, I desire the world for him. He is such an incredible blessing to me that I’m always trying to show him how much I love and care for him. The fact that the Creator of the Universe loves my husband with a power I can’t even imagine fills me with unspeakable joy.
I praise God for the hand He has on Mark. I am so thankful that, as Mark’s wife, I get to share in this adventure of pastoring. And I am honoured that the Lord takes the time to gently guide me to be a better wife and a better follower of Christ.
At the time of publication Stephanie Carroll served alongside her husband, Mark, in the youth ministry at Murrayville Community Church in Langley, BC, and was an associate editor at Focus on the Family Canada.