Hey, Ministry Chick! Can you relate to this?
When we came to our new church last year, several women’s groups in our church invited me to speak at their events. Can you say nervous? I didn’t even know these ladies yet! Plus it had been years since I had shared in front of a group like that.
Sometimes we ministry wives can be expected to pray and teach just like our husbands do, right? But—if you don’t know the audience well, or you don’t feel comfortable preparing a speech or lesson, there’s always one story you can share with anyone:
Your God story—
your personal testimony of how Jesus Christ
saved you from sin and has been working in your life
ever since to make you more like Himself.
If you know Christ, you have a beautiful story to tell of who you were before you met Jesus, how you gave your life to Him, and who you are after salvation. Maybe your testimony includes dramatic events that led you to repentance. Perhaps, like me, you were raised in church and saved at a young age. Whatever your faith journey looks like, Jesus paid for your salvation with His blood. Your testimony is…
precious to Him … and sharing your God story is a
powerful way to impact other people when you tell them about God’s work in your life.
My husband always encourages our church family to write out their testimonies and practice sharing them with others. Sometimes people misunderstand and just tell the story of their lives, of their childhood, of their career, never explaining how God was quietly weaving the fabric of their lives from the beginning.
But He deserves the glory in our stories!
So, let me share some of my journey to faith and ministry with you—for His glory and for an example of how to prepare your own God story.
My God Story
I was born to a 19-year-old girl in her first year of college and immediately given up for adoption. I’m a child of the 60’s, when unwed teen moms had few options. We think my birth mother was sent away to live with her aunt until I was born. Afterward, my mother returned to her life at school and pretended the pregnancy never happened.
My parents, the couple who adopted me a few weeks later, always told me I was special and I was chosen. However, as an adopted child and the first kid in our family, I must have felt a heavy responsibility to be good, to deserve being chosen. I was a compliant child, very obedient to my parents and teachers so I wouldn’t disappoint them.
This intense desire to be good may be why I gave my life to Christ at age 7—
because I was acutely aware of my sin nature and understood that Jesus in me was the only way I could be good enough to please God.
My parents raised us in a Christian home and school, with church a primary focus of our family life. They taught me from an early age that God had a special plan for my life that began before I was even born, when my birth mother chose to give me up for a chance at a better life. As I grew up and matured in my faith, I began to understand more what it meant to walk with Jesus and trust the Lord’s direction for my life.
When I was 16, our youth pastor encouraged us to make out a list of qualities we wanted in a future spouse. Two years later I met Greg, who met every ideal on that list. After our second date, I told my mother Greg was the one I would marry. All through college he wooed and pursued me. Once again, I felt chosen. We dated all through college and eventually began to dream of a life together. He planned to go to law school, and I wanted to study writing, so I could work from home when children came along.
However, as we got more serious, Greg wondered if God was calling him to preach. This was not good news to me! I insisted that he figure out if he was truly being called to preach or not, and then let me know. I was willing to go to law school with him but not to seminary.
That’s not a very good start for a future pastor’s wife, is it?
You see, he’d grown up in a huge church his entire life and Adrian Rogers was the only pastor he’d known. I doubted Greg had any idea what most churches were like. My family, on the other hand, had experienced church squabbles, pastors who lacked integrity, and dwindling memberships.
Ministry life was definitely NOT part of my plan for “happily ever after!”
Greg finally felt God’s blessing on a legal career, so we got married, made it through law school, and returned home to settle into jobs and start a family. We rejoined Pastor Rogers’ church where we’d met. We taught Sunday school together, and Greg served as a deacon. Professionally, Greg tried cases all over the country. He loved practicing law and excelled as an attorney.
But…every few years…this question about being called to preach would resurface. My response?
“I don’t think so!”
After 6 years as an attorney, Greg heard the Lord say, It’s now time to leave law and preach. After much prayer and soul-searching, I felt God confirm Greg’s call in my heart. We surrendered in obedience, even though we didn’t know what ministry was going to look like for us.
When we counseled with Pastor Rogers about our decision, I confessed my reluctance about being a pastor’s wife. I did not feel called to be in ministry like Greg did. For the first time in my life, I did NOT feel chosen.
What if I couldn’t be a good pastor’s wife?
Wisely and gently, Pastor reminded me I did feel called to be Greg’s wife. He encouraged me to just be the best wife to Greg that I could be. How freeing that was! And in God’s lovingkindness, He put us on staff at our home church for several years. We didn’t have to uproot our kids right away, and I could adjust to being a ministry wife in a way that fit my personality and my gifts.
Over the years, church members have told me I’m not what they’d call a “typical” pastor’s wife.Hopefully, they mean that in a good way!
Being true to who God made me to be releases the pressure of trying to fit another mold or conform to other people’s expectations.
Whenever we start at a new church, I wait for God to show me where and when to plug in. For example, at our first church I taught a women’s Bible study and worked in Bible drill because that’s what our kids were doing at the time. At another church I helped launch children’s church, again with our kids serving alongside me. Now we’re in more of a mentoring stage of life, and Greg and I teach a young couples class.
By serving in ministry areas that use my God-given strengths and fit my unique personality, I can serve with joy instead of resentment.
Following the Lord’s lead (rather than the expectations of the church) helps me bear fruit as a Christian. It feels more natural because my ministry work flows out of God growing me.
My confidence in God’s work in my life gives me confidence in my role as Greg’s wife and as a minister’s wife.
I can love people with graciousness and serve in the church as God leads me, knowing that Jesus and Greg are the only ones I really need to please.
What about your story?
Do you believe God has designed a special plan for you?
Maybe you were not raised in a Christian home or didn’t grow up in church. Maybe you resisted your husband’s call to ministry, like I did. Maybe you felt God calling you to ministry when you were young, but you’re now doubting that call because real life in ministry seems way harder than you expected.
Do you realize how chosen you are, even if you may be floundering in your role as a ministry wife?
Psalm 139 beautifully describes how well God knows each one of us: He knows when you sit down and get up. He understands your thoughts and is acquainted with all your ways. He encircles you behind and in front because He is always with you. He wove you together in your mother’s womb. He has ordained your days, and His hand will guide you and hold you fast. You were fearfully and wonderfully made to fulfill His purpose. If you know Him, God’s Spirit lives in you to accomplish His plan in you.
So, are you ready to share your testimony with someone else?
Here’s a great resource that can help you get started. Click here for 7 Days to Sharing Your Faith. When you sign up for this email challenge from Love Worth Finding, you’ll get an email every day for a week that has tips on how to share your testimony and explain the Gospel. Ask the Lord to help you prepare your God story. Ask Him to give you opportunities to share your story with others.
If you need someone to practice on, write it out and email it to me! I’d love to read what God has done in your life. You can email me at JAddison@lwf.org.
Thanks so much for hanging out with me today, friend. I hope you’re excited about giving Him glory through your story!
And until next time, let’s keep on loving Jesus, loving our husbands, and loving our people!