It's also beautiful and fun and so many other wonderful things. I cannot begin to describe how much I love being in ministry with my husband. It's the purpose I had been waiting for my entire life. It's what God had planned for me before I was born and that's amazing to me.
But it's exhausting at times.
For the sake of being real (and this is hard because I don't know how much I really want to tell the world) I wanted to share some things about ministry that aren't always beautiful and awesome. These things aren't meant as a discouragement but rather an encouragement to recognize that even after all these silly things, God is still doing so many wonderful things that I would never have had the chance to be a part of had He not called me here.
When you're on vacation and your phone wont stop ringing. You know. That one special, cherished week out of the whole year that you get away from everything and all you have to do is be married, and love every minute of it. But then people decide they cannot live without you and have decided to call, text, and email you everyday to let you know just that.
When others disagree with your decisions made about ministry and try to lead instead of follow. Fortunately, I don't have to deal with this as much as my husband and for that I am so grateful. Nathan is so filled with grace and understanding when these situations occur and I am ready to do nothing less than give them a piece of my mind. Hence why I keep my mouth shut and let him handle it. However, don't think Nathan isn't getting an ear full of just exactly what I think about it. Poor guy. I will humbly admit, that is something I am working on, as previously stated in my Proverbs 31 post.
When things don't always go as you had planned. Mind you, this is usually a good thing because it allows for the Lord to work out His plan which always ends up being so much better than ours anyways.
When you know what's best for a student but despite all your advice, they choose the exact opposite anyways.
When the enemy is constantly trying to bring you down, keep you discouraged, and keep you from doing what God has called you to do. But hey, it also means you're doing something right and God has something super awesome planned for your ministry!
When your husband is in school full-time, has a full-time job, is a youth pastor (yes, full-time too) and also takes it upon himself to do many other things in other areas of ministry. Oh and did I mention he has a full-time wife? ;)
With all that said, here's the deal. Last week, Nathan and I had a rough week. Here's the part where you all get to be let in on a secret. we. are. not. perfect. Woah, feels good to say that. I know and believe it, but I wanted to make sure you all did as well. I am not interested in making everything sound amazing but to possibly get the chance to let people in on how God works through our imperfect lives. In fact, one of the reasons I wanted to write this was to hopefully encourage other women in ministry that maybe at one point in their lives have felt this way. To at least say to one person, you aren't alone.
We argued over that fact that he takes on too much but that I am not supportive when he does so. If I am going to be completely honest here, the argument began because of something he said that I then took it and over analyzed it and turned it into an irrational fear. Like I sometimes do. Trust me, I am not proud if this but please be patient I am a work in progress. I told him at times, I feel like I come in 2nd to ministry. Not God, but ministry. Which is weird for me to say, because I love ministry. I love students and their hearts and the fact that God choose me to teach them about Him. I love ministry but I love my husband more. Although Nathan assured me this was not the case, and I believe him, I still felt this way. Perfect example of why we do not live by our feelings. He also was honest with me and told me he feels like I don't support him at times when he feels like everyone and everything else is against him. That he is looking for me to be supportive and help but that a lot of times, I just get angry and want to fix everything. ouch, that hurt. but it's OK. I am so glad he was honest with me. I find comfort in knowing my husband leads me and encourages me to find out what God is wanting me to do in situations instead of acting out of feelings. Even if I sometimes resist because I am hurt or angry, I can count on him to counsel me to do what it is right. I can't tell you how blessed I feel that he truly lives in such a way that it makes me to know and love Jesus even more.
So do you want to know the cool thing about us both loving Jesus and being married and having some issues come up?
We always have the tools we need to fight back against whatever the enemy throws at us. Always. Because God says so and then even shows us how.
We pray. We knew that this wasn't normal for us (to go on fighting for longer than a couple hours) and that clearly the enemy was using this and some other ridiculous things going on that same week to get us discouraged. For me, because of why I let this particular issue bother me longer than it normally would have, I reflected and prayed on this verse: "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
We sit down and let each other know how we feel. We were honest and even if it was hard to hear, we listened to what the other had to say.
And then we committed to doing what was right and necessary to show the other love. And by golly my husband has already showed me in a BIG way with something unique and special to let me know he loves and cares for me and will spend the time to show me.
Wanna see an example of why I can't stay mad at him for longer than a couple minutes? Why we can work together from home and be in ministry together yet still laugh all day at each other?
Here was our surprise date night last night. Equipped with smores, stars (Christmas lights), folding chairs, a sleeping bag, and my favorite tea. He even decided the plan was for us to sit there and talk. to talk. That made my heart so happy. I had been saying how much I miss getting away to go camping with him and he did all this for me. I felt so special.
One more quick note. I originally started this post with the intentions of showing a couple of pictures from our date night and saying something small about ministry. But the Lord had different plans and He put it on my heart to share more and that makes me smile. That He would choose to use me, to share my life, to hopefully encourage others and ultimately lead them to Him.