I’m linking up with Christine over at Grace Covers Me today as she releases her book, The Church Planting Wife: Help and Hope for Her Heart, and collects heart stories from church planting and ministry wives. Join us?
I personally had the opportunity to read this book and it is fantastic. If you love your pastor’s wife you need to buy her this book. Even if you only just sort of like her you should give her this book. If you don’t like your pastor’s wife, then definitely don’t give her this book because your heart might change toward her, and you might end up liking her! Any of the following people would greatly benefit from this book: missionary wives, ministry wives, church planting wives, elder’s wives, and any wife of a man who is obeying God’s call even if it isn’t in a church.
There are a few words to describe how the change occurred in my heart during the year and a half my husband and I began church planting. The first is trials. We went through many trials when choose to obey how God had called us. We had to move in with family close to the town where the church plant was because our house hadn’t sold yet. After 2 months of tense relationships, we realized we had to move out. So with our 3-year-old and 2 week old baby, we moved into a rental house. With all the added stress of a new baby, moving twice in 3 months, not sleeping well at night, financial pressure from paying a mortgage on a house we no longer lived in, and a new church we got to our breaking point many times. The church itself was going through major trials. As we begun to discuss bylaws for the church there was major divisions. The church was full of immature baby Christians and unbelievers, and they far outnumbered the few strong mature Christians in our church. During that first year of church planting my husband had a ridiculous amount of illnesses and pain. He was sick almost weekly. If there was a sickness going around, my husband had it. He suffered intense headaches, and even tooth pain requiring a removal of the tooth because we couldn’t afford a dental crown.
The next word to describe the change: trust. God had called my husband to preach the Word without watering it down and he obeyed because He trusted that God’s word is enough. He began small groups and a men’s discipleship. God had called me to support my husband and love him and to learn what it meant to be a biblical wife. Through a Bible study that he discovered called “True Woman 101: Divine Design” my heart began to break and soften. I learned my purpose as helpmate to my husband and my call to be a spiritual mother. I trusted God at His word.
The last word to describe the change would be purified. Through the trials and trusting God at His word I became a different person. I loved in one of the chapters of “The Church Planting Wife” when Christine Hoover quoted Jenn Atwell saying “Is God really enough?” My husband and I got to that point. When nothing was going as planned, relationships hung on by a string, financial pressures built up, and we jokingly stated “Now our cars are probably going to crap out?” Was God really enough? We got to the end of ourselves and the answer was: Absolutely. God is always enough, He is all we ever really need. Oh how thankful I am for God putting us through all the trials and hardships. My marriage is stronger than ever and focused on Christ, my oldest son accepted Jesus and asked him to “fix his heart”, and my prayer life and study of the Bible has become as necessary to me as eating. So the question of “How has God used church planting to change my heart?” is best answered by saying: He put me through fire to refine and test me. Does fire hurt? It is not only very painful, but it burns. It burns away at the selfishness, pride, disobedience, and distrust. What is left after a fire? A purified life and a changed heart.
Zechariah 13:9: And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested.