I am always amazed at God's grace and love for me... From the time I was sixteen years old and I gave my heart to Jesus on my bedroom floor. I can look back and see where he has literally picked me up and carried me.
Ministry has been such a huge part of my life. we have been a pastors family going on 16 years now. Each and every year has been a treasure to be hold.
Its not always a cake walk as well. Sometimes the storms that crash our lives make us feel like drowning.
However my life Savior is never far away.
The past two years I have felt like I have been in a battle in the deepest depths of the sea. When real life and ministry collide.
It can be a bit overwhelming. My family has had to learn how to minister in the midst of one of the biggest health crisis, we have ever faced. Sure we have had some real hiccups along the way but nothing like what we have faced even now.
So how do you balance Ministry responsibilities and life responsibilities?
For us this wasn't a simple answer.
We had never been faced with such major emergencies as we we have now.
Honestly I don't have a mentor to turn to ask these questions. Its a learn as you go process for us.
Here is my top five lessons learned!
1- Sometimes your family must became fist. Even over ministry!
This was hard for us! As ashamed as I am to admit it, was often the other way around. We revolved everything around our ministry. When I had knee surgery and aspirated stomach acid into my left lung.I woke up with a heart condition. Unable to breathe normally or walk no more than a few steps. I was wheel chair bound for the most part. this was not how this surgery should have went. I was out of church for a month and a half.on off for longer spans later. One of my daughters had to stay with me around the clock. My sweet hubby had to get someone to fill in for him. We learned right then that things were probably never going to be the same. Then before we knew it I was admitted back into the hospital and to have emergency major heart surgery, 6 months later another major heart and lung surgery.
We had to let ministry take the back burner for a while and focus on our household for awhile. Not only was my life turned upside down, but my husband and kids were as well. We had entered the eye of the storm.
As important as ministry is to us. we knew that we were gonna need a support system to help us out and see us through.
This would prove to be harder than expected.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 ESV
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed
Was a huge comfort during this time... Because what satan means to destroy us with God uses to make us stronger.
We knew that we had to put us first, and it would be okay!
Ministry could be second, After all God is the head of all things for us.
2- Have a support system you can trust to handle what you can not.
I know this sounds like a no brainier... Everyone has this right... Wrong lol! For me this was hard when we arrived to where we are today. I had been extremely hurt by those I thought I could trust right before we left and came here. That left me guarded, and well honestly made it hard for me to be able to delegate things because I needed to be sure I could trust people inside that circle. About the time all of this had taken place my husband and I had really just gotten to the point we had a inner circle of people we knew we could trust to handle some of the responsibilities we did not have to handle. Like teaching Children's ministry , I could handle some of the logistics from my chase where I proceeded to live at the time. He could let others help him with phone calls and visitation. There were times others stepped in and handled things he just needed taken off his plate at the time. We learned during this time it was okay not to have our hands in everything. That it was more than okay to let our brothers and sisters help carry the burden with you. It makes it so much easier when you have help. especially help you can trust. Honestly, we now have in place where all of us have an apprentice that trains under us . everyone except for the pastor of course. That away if there is an emergency that person can step in and handle things just as if we were not out all. At home we learned everything did not have to be perfect. I had to learn to let others handle things in the house, I normally handled. It was hard at first, it got easier as I took my hands off of things... I have learned it does not have to be done by me to be done right.... Others can do just a good job if not better!
Galatians 6:2 CEV
You obey the law of Christ when you offer each other a helping hand.
The Bible is clear about us helping each other! I am glad I heeded to His Word! It has made life so much easier!
3- You do not need to feel guilty if you miss church or your unable to attend or be involved with a ministry at the church, or if your home is not perfect or a good time to visit!
I am a very hands on person. I love to be involved and doing. However after the knee surgery that set off a tailspin of events. My life has been forever changed.
One of the hardest things for me even still today. Is saying no... or not being involved in everyone's ministries the way I once was.
I have even scaled back some of the special events that Children's Church once did.
I felt guilty if I had to miss a ladies meeting or an outreach ministry.
It was hard because as a the Pastors wife you feel obligated to be there. For awhile I tried to make myself. Even when I knew I wasn't up to it. I found myself falling ill. On top of some very complicated health issues. This became a bigger strain on my already stretched to thin hubby. Who was now worrying what this would do to my already fragile lungs.
So I began to pray about how my Daddy in heaven would have me handle this. It was kinda funny right before my knee surgery I had read Lysa TerKeurst book The Best Yes. If you have not read it ! Its a wonderful insightful read! It can be life changing! It has been for me! Because often I have learned my best yes, is really no.
Because My Daddy in heaven showed me that its is okay not to be at everything. It didn't matter what others thought I should be doing.
Its about balance, If I am always sick I will never be at anything. It was better to miss out on the outdoor Christmas gift wrapping service and be at church on Sunday. Than to have pneumonia . Then miss weeks of church.
I have learned I don't have to feel guilty for missing things.
God truly knows what our limits are.
I need to must be able to live life outside of church. I need to be able to serve family and my church. So I must find the balance in both with out feeling overwhelmed or guilty.
I can not be a please people and not care for me!
For our home, we realized its okay to say its not a good time! Before I would have never thought one second to tell some one its not a good day to visit. I would have made it possible and put my own things aside. Now If I am not feeling well or I am over whelmed with what I already have going on. I schedule a time for some one to come back and visit on a later day.
Most everyone understands completely, I warn them before they come I may be in my pj's lol!
4- Its okay if someone does not understand the storm your in.
One of the hardest part of being a pastors wife with the auto immune disease Lupus. Is most people do not know enough about it. That all they can see is the outward appearance. They will make comments such as, "Well you look good" So you must feel good!' That's never the case lol. Its amazing what a little bit of make-up can do.
The key to getting through their miss understanding is prayer.
I had to step away from children's ministry for about 3 months. It actually led to children's ministry, being shut down.
Here is why.... All people could see is an outward appearance. they didn't understand how hard it was on my body.
All they could see was what I looked like on Sundays. That I continued to home school,They didn't see the fact that I wore pjs as a permanent wardrobe, I didn't wear make up, and I would be completely wiped out for a day or two after church, I don't drive, and I take 14 different medicines a day, Just because the last major heart and lung surgery has been a little over a year ago the heart still is not okay.... Neither am I...
People are people.... All they could see is that I had been doing children's church , I should be able to continue on with out extra help. So when we couldn't get the help I needed, I stepped away. I needed a physical break and a spiritual renewing.I honestly felt like I was stuck in hurricane and I was drowning....
During this time some got a little irritated.... they didn't like the thought that children's church had been put on a temporary hold.
Yet I can say this storm taught them all something...
We all need to unify and work together,Just because you cant see the battle someone is fighting doesn't mean its not there, and that we need to be in contact with one another and praying for each other.
Even in our home, this storm had effected us each in a different way... We have made the promise to talk to each other. So we know how to pray for one another!
My storm has became a huge part of my testimony! Since this took place our children's ministry is stronger than it has ever been! We are united and we work well with one another.
Even some have experienced their own health storms. Just because we don't understand or someone else doesn't understand. Doesn't mean we should stop reaching across the bridge to one another. The storm your called to is yours after all. It is ment for you learn from it ...So not everyone will understand it.
Its made my family stronger and closer than ever!
We no longer take each day for granted, we know the value of time with each other.You never know when that time could be cut short.
It has made more sensitive to others lives. Especially outside of ministry. Our home is our first ministry ! It should rank above all.
He made the storm be still,
I know in my heart the storm I have faced, God has spoken too... He has hushed the sea as well let it rage at times. I can say though no matter what it is well with my soul!
5- Find something each day to be thankful for, because everyday is a gift!
Sounds so simple right! I have found there has been some days that it can be really hard to be thankful for pain!
However when I decided to find at least one thing different everyday to be thankful for. It truly changed my out look on how I perceived what I faced the day ahead... Whether it was a productive day and I actually was able to do something. Or a day spent lying around because I am having a flare. Thankfulness leads to being grateful.
Oh I can assure you I am beyond thankful for each and everyday I open my eyes!
This post speaks to my own soul this evening... After I woke up with a fever and congested yesterday and no better today. Landed a improntu visit to the doctor this morning. I am now resting in the bed trying my best to fight this off because! I have a trip planned later next week! I wont be able to attend church tomorrow... For me a small illness can wipe me out for days and sometimes weeks. Prayind this does not last long and is gone by Monday! I so long for long evenings catching up with one of my best friends! Please pray this passes quickly!
I can not say thank you enough for taking time to stop by! I pray something
mentioned here is something that you can use to help make life and ministry easier for you as well! Praying you have a blessed weekend ! ~Shellie