Sometimes I look at where I’m at and I wonder, “How did I get here?” Of course, these times of wonderment always call for reflection and a time to reminisce. Let me just say to you, I never planned on being married to a pastor. My wild and free spirit had very big aspirations of being a missionary. From the time I was old enough to remember wanting to be anything, my dream was to be an Amy Carmichael rescuing children from the immoral trade that has been going on for centuries. Or maybe I could follow in the shoes (though never could I hope to fill them) of Gladys Aylward who leaned so heavily on Jesus that his presence in her could silence prison riots just by her moving through the compound. I could never control the goosebumps I’d get reading these stories. Yes, this is what my heart longed to be!
I’ve learned since, that our hearts can desire very good things that aren’t meant to be owned by us because God has a different design. We can bolster, cover in prayer, and support these wonderful things, but not champion them ourselves. These realizations hurt deeply sometimes as it is the giving up of a dream. It wasn’t a dream that I gave up easily. Even in college I enrolled as a journalism major so that I would have a way inside of otherwise inaccessible countries. God changed that direction without warning one afternoon when he made it very clear to me that I was to change my major to psychology and counseling. I didn’t understand, but I obeyed.
Sometimes I still don’t understand but God continues to reveal to me daily a level of hurt in the local church that I never had a clue existed because we’ve been conditioned for decades to cover it up. I wanted to travel overseas to release slaves from their literal chains of bondage. That’s someone else’s high and beautiful calling. God has me here, for such a time as today, to unmask those who are hiding their bondage and to loose the chains of those who have suffered silent oppression for years. It just so happens to be taking place in the chair right next to me; just as it is taking place in numerous countries in different ways.
Several years back I attended a commissioning service for missionaries going all over the globe. I watched as proud but also fear struck parents sat in the audience seeing their kids and their grandkids get commissioned to places that couldn’t even be named because of the dangers they would encounter if their intent was found out. My heart ached as I watched each unique family step forward and I asked God, “why am I not worthy for this call? He didn’t answer right away as is typical for him.
The service was ending as flags from all over the world were brought out. Tears filled my eyes as I knew it was time to let go of what I had chased for most of my life. During the last song the American flag was raised and that’s when I heard his voice, “The people here are worth fighting for too. They’re lost and alone and enslaved and misguided and broken and I’ve called you to them and the battle will not be an easy one.”
I suppose that’s the answer to my wondering. That’s the reason behind my placement. That’s my confession as an unlikely pastor’s wife. I was called to a people I did not desire only to find that we are more broken in this place than most of us even realize.
Not a day goes by that I don’t hear about another person who’s bound by the chains of pornography or shattered by the fallout of rape or sexual misconduct. It’s alarming to me how often people who have spent their whole lives in church are just now hearing for the first time that God’s rules aren’t for the sake of oppression but written from a heart of love that wants so much more for us than the pain that our own choices heap on our lives. I exist for those who are broken and shattered and believe they are unwanted by God and the church.
Rarely does a day go by that a fellow brother or sister doesn’t tell me about the time they were so hopeless, they held a gun to their head but God delivered them. Rarely does a week go by where I don’t get a desperate cry for help at the very edge of a suicide plan. Rarely do I meet a fellow brother or sister who has any inkling of their worth in Christ. And this is my mission field. It’s not glamorous. No one’s mission field is. It’s not rewarding much of the time but I know one day it will be and all glory will go to Jesus for that.
Yes, I am about the most unlikely candidate for a pastor’s wife that there ever was. But you know what, God’s funny like that!