It was an unfinished conversation with a group of women dear to me that left my heart aching. We were gathered together as wives of leaders, to pray and care for one another as we in turn cared for the members of our church. More than one woman newer to this life of leadership mentioned their internal struggle with fear. Specifically, fear over the idea that their husbands may be called to full-time ministry in the future. They felt that their personalities didn’t match the ministry that their husband may one day have. Would their weaknesses as wives hold them back? How could they step into such roles when they simply desired to remain out of the spotlight? Our conversation was cut short, but my heart went out to these dear ones as I recalled having similar fears early in our marriage as my husband pursued church planting ministry and dreamed of being an overseas missionary.
I remember feeling terrified of these dreams in my husband’s heart because they were so far removed from what I thought my personality could handle or how I felt gifted by God. I had always felt called to ministry, but my husband’s dreams and ideas just seemed too big. I really struggled in our first year of marriage because I was sure that God’s call over my husband’s life meant that I had to give up pieces of myself, my personality, and any personal ministry I felt called to in order to serve alongside my husband. I saw my husband as a kite blowing in the wind of God’s will and myself as hanging on for dear life, my feet leaving tracks in the ground from being dragged carried along.
I had a large view of God’s sovereign plan, but a small view of his love for me.
I didn’t realize that I had a small view of God’s love for me since I had grown up with a loving earthly father and saw God through the lens of my sweet and close relationship with my dad. But I had been so focused on God’s power for so long that I began to see him as a God who would execute his will for his glory at my expense.
As the years went by and my husband’s dreams felt crushed and laid aside by various and difficult circumstances, it seemed as though God was silent about the what, when, and how of any future ministry. What we did not see was that God was busy shaping both of us for those good ministry works he had planned for us to do. The ministry my husband now puts the work of his hands to directly involves the physical abilities and gifts that God has given him; it fits his personality and even the hobbies he enjoys. Even more, while I have grown in my personality and my gifts, my husband’s ministry allows me use my passions, giftings, and abilities without giving up who God has created me to be.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10)
The comfort that I found and that I so longed to share with these wives in ministry is this: When God calls your husband to something, it is not at your expense. There may be sacrifices along the way, but God does not call you to sacrifice who he created you to be. He may stretch you or grow you to expand or better use the gifts and talents he has given you, but his work for your husband will never run you over or demand of you what you are unable to give (outside of the grace of God). He is far more loving and gracious than we can begin to imagine in using our gifts and talents, our personalities, and our weaknesses to accomplish the calling to which he has called us.
We don’t need to fear the future or what he may or may not call us to do. We can trust his good and loving character, that when he says all things are for our good, it is so. The temptation is often to claim that what is for our good is only hard and painful, rather than delightful, fun or even exciting. Once again we diminish who God is when we see him in this light. Through these lenses, he isn’t both sovereign and loving, but rather powerfully carrying out his plans for our lives whether we like it or not. This is not our God. His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Everything about how God created you was created with the good works in mind that he has prepared in advance for you to do! (Eph. 2:10) It was God’s loving providence to create you with a different personality, giftings and weaknesses than your spouse so that as you minister together, you might bring him glory.
Guest contributor, Heidi Brachle is a thirtysomething farm girl making a home in the city with her husband and four children. She has been in ministry for nearly all of her adult years, leading worship, mentoring college students and, most recently, caring for the women of her small groups in her local church. Currently she stays at home to pour into her young children and serves alongside her husband in his ministry, Youth Impact Racing. In her spare time she writes to encourage other women at apaigefromourbook.com.