Trust me, there is not enough room on this post to fully answer this one! This is just an opportunity to highlight one of the many reasons I count it a gift to be married to my wife and serve with her in ministry. Later today, I will bury a dear older saint in our church after a long, hard fight with cancer. Before I could even share with her why this was going to be a hard funeral she says to me…
“I’m sorry sweetie. I know this is hard. He (the deceased) had cared for you and been there for you from the beginning and had always been supportive.”
In the midst of this man’s passing, my wife knew so many things about me I dare say no one else in our church knew. She knew how hard it was those first years at the church. She knew how many people wanted me to leave in those first years. She watched as many tried to make that happen. Because of this, she knew how much I grew to love and appreciate those long time members who loved me, encouraged me, and cared for me despite my mistakes, young pastor blunders, and the opposition I faced.
By God’s grace, our church is a very different place now. Yet, as I go to bury one of those gifts from God the Lord placed in this church for my care and encouragement throughout those early years, I am saddened in a different way. A sadness that runs deeper than most who know me can identify.
But there is one who not only knew that sadness and could relate to it, she identified it in me before I had even revealed it to her or anyone. I cherish my wife for many reasons, too many to count or put in a blog post. Yet, I was reminded afresh through this man’s death of what a gift she is. She has always been there and not just present, but studying and praying to seek how best to support me and care for me throughout the challenges of pastoral ministry.
It is impossible to measure the value of a pastor’s wife who sees this behind the scene’s role as a significant ministry in itself to her husband and their church. Yet, it is one of the ministries I am most grateful for and that my wife has modeled for a long time. For this reason, and many others, I cherish her.