Many times throughout life, we are called to be still. This call is prevalent throughout the Bible. A very well-known verse, Psalm 46:10, says, “Be still and know that I am God.” I have found this instruction to be one of the most challenging, yet rewarding of the biblical calls; I usually prefer issues to be solved immediately. I find it frustrating and painful to be still, as I would rather not suffer so long. Suffering is overwhelming; prolonged grief, is, at times, almost unbearable. But often, God calls us to inaction during the dark periods. Being still does not imply we stop our daily routine, rather we give our burdens to the Lord, allowing Him to navigate.
During a very stressful time in my life, the Lord impressed a message on my heart. He gave me an image of the two of us on a plane together. Even if you know me, you may not be aware that I did not like to fly. However, my job insists that I fly for 17-36 hours at a time—and often! During this time in my life, I felt so wasted by the stress and filled with such anxiety, the thought of allowing someone else to steer a plane that I must sit on was beyond overwhelming to me.
I became very acquainted with the people next to me on a flight. I had a coping system in place. I would apologize before take-off—letting the person next to me know that certainly during the flight, he or she would be holding my hand (and it may hurt!). I had chest pains; I could not breathe; I could not speak. The terror of that time was overwhelming—indeed, an example of my larger world.
When I received this message from God, I had to laugh—of course He chose an airplane! He has a sense of humor! God revealed this mental image of an airplane to me as a safe place where we could be near one another. In my mind, I needed to find that safe place—to allow my thoughts to rest, and to grieve and heal from the pain. So, God chose a plane.
In my mind, when I crawled into the plane, I was OK, but very weak. All the seats were open; I could choose to sit wherever I wanted. I found myself drawn to a well-worn co-pilot’s seat. I knew the Lord was in the Pilot’s chair. As we flew, God navigated all of the mine fields that appeared in the plane’s path. I sat still, very still, not even able to look over at the Pilot. I knew He was there, that was enough. I was not strong—I was too weak, too worn down by life, and thankful someone was steering. All around the plane, a great battle was underway. Arrows were trying to pierce through the aircraft. We could not see who was fighting off the arrows. God kept flying. I kept sitting—still.
As I sat in my seat, I suffered great pain—yet, God still flew. He was carrying me. He was fighting for me. After what seemed like a long while, I could finally turn my head—and look at my Pilot. That is all I could muster. I continued to be still. He continued to navigate . . . for the navigation we needed was beyond anything I could handle or control. After all, I didn’t know how to fly. I continued to be still. I gave up all control.
The plane—a place that once terrified me became a place for the biggest hand-over I had ever given the Lord. I was at my end, and He took it all for me.
I gave Him myself, my kids, family, others, finances, future, pain, hopes, dreams—and in return, He gave me peace—and the ability to continue to be still. He continues to navigate my joy and pain and carries my burdens as if they are a piece of luggage I can check under the plane. My burdens still exist, but they no longer weigh heavy in my arms. Mind you, I usually pack my luggage to the last ounce!
The verse God gave me through this time:
"I will fight for you; you need only be still." Exodus 14:14, NIV
Eventually, after much healing—we began to have conversations. I was too weak before, when I could only speak in what felt more like groans. I knew He could understand these. Now, after years of healing, we have plenty of chats. You see, we are flying this life together. I make plenty of suggestions. He listens—and even allows me to fly when I want to. I have found it much better to give Him the controls! After all, I want to serve Him.
Through stillness, the Lord works. Through stillness, the Lord heals. Through obedient stillness, the Lord will fight for you. It is as if God says to us, “Sit in that cockpit seat and let Me fly this plane. You can trust me, as I can navigate better than you can. You have an army of angels fighting on your behalf—fending off arrows and flames . . . though you have been—and still are in pain, I am in control.”
Certainly, at times we are called to action—but, sometimes when we hear these calls, they are refined in stillness before the Lord.
Article can be viewed at Her Green Room.
Amy grew up in Lynden, Washington. She attended Calvin College receiving a BA in Biblical Studies and Theology. After finishing college in 1997, she moved to Jerusalem, Israel, to attend Jerusalem University College. While there she pursued her MA at Jerusalem University College. Her area of study was in New Testament Backgrounds/Jewish History of the Second Temple Period. Amy lived in Israel for a total of 6 years, and two of their three children were born while living in Israel. After living in Israel, she moved with her family to Belgium where she taught classes at Continental Theological Seminary. After departing Continental, she moved to Springfield, Missouri, where she now works full time for the Center for Holy Lands Studies as the Director.
Simple Things: Laughter
“A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22, NIV).
Laughter shouldn’t be a secret, yet it seems people have forgotten how to laugh. Grumpy Cat, a celebrity feline, gained fame and an internet presence for her eternal sourpuss face and, while endearing on her, it is not so endearing on the face of those attending “Grumpy Church.”
We can busy ourselves with the work of the Lord yet forget to live—and living involves laughing. One “Grumpy Church” we served in frightened people away with their disgruntled ways. Attendance diminished, and joy was nowhere to be found. For where laughter is, joy is sure to be alongside. Laughter lightens moods and breaks down barriers between people. Laughter invites others to join in. Laughter embraces differences and helps us see ourselves as we are, flaws and all. Laughter can get us through the hard times in life.
As a pastor’s wife, I have learned having a sense of humor is a gift from God. I couldn’t make it through ministry life without it. Laughter reduces stress and burns calories. I would rather spend an hour laughing with a friend than walking on the treadmill (pass the chocolate please). And while laughter produces deep lines on our faces, each one is full of memories and moments to cherish. “I love these frown lines on my forehead,” said no one ever.
Do you remember the last time you laughed out loud? I don’t mean adding an LOL to something funny online, but a real laugh.
Laughter happens daily in my home, many times when I’m the only one in the house. Funny things are everywhere if we take time to notice them.
While reading online reviews for a lice treatment kit, I found one that read, “To get rid of life, you need to see a doctor.” One letter made all the difference, and I laughed.
A classified ad stated a car for sale was in great condition and was “spacey.” I think the writer meant spacious or roomy, but she combined the two and out came spacey.
On a walk with a friend, we passed a house with garbage at the curb. I glanced at it and doubled back to take a picture of a box labeled, Donated Human Tissue. I posted the picture on Facebook with the caption, “What are they doing in that house?” I know it was probably just used to carry something home from work in, but that box made my mind run wild. Are they creating their own human in the basement out of donated parts? What parts were donated? Can I get new thighs there?...read more
Suzanne has been in full-time ministry with her husband Wayne since 1992, pastoring in Pennsylvania and Illinois. She has two grown children and spends most of her days either writing or reading with a cup of tea close by. She enjoys attending auctions and sometimes brings home more stuff than she knows what to do with. She believes life is too short for mediocre food and insists on having good chocolate in the house at all times.
By Amy Rager
Are you, or have you ever been, a youth minister's wife? I have. What about a rural church pastor's wife? I've been there, too. Or an urban church planter's wife? Count me in, also. So many moments in life, I felt like an outlier. Five times at the hands of the elderly widow’s class I received verbal tongue-lashings. Once, I was the oldest female in our congregation. Four times I’ve relocated my family. I’ve served down old country roads; I’ve also served right off of I-65. I've been in ministry through health, pregnancy and illness. I’ve lived below the poverty line, and I’ve lived in the middle class. And in all things, Lord may call us to move again.
Pastors' wives, can you relate to my personal version of Paul's life (found in 2 Corinthians 11)?
Being a pastor’s wife is definitely not characterized by stability or predictability. We serve a Savior who once said, “The wind blows were it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit" (John 3:8).
That’s the God we serve—One who moves as mysteriously as the wind He created.
We often use the phrases "surrendered my life to the ministry" or "gave my life to Christ." This surrendering is not just a one-time giving of ourselves, is it? No, it’s an everyday mentality of "this life is not my own, I will live as Christ sees fit."
Adaptability is a necessity for pastors' wives and is likely a quality you’ve already had to cultivate. Tom Rainer says the average pastor changes churches every three to four years. This adaptability we’ve instilled over the years can be a powerful tool in our ministries. Check out the definition of adaptability...read more
Amy is the wife of church planter, Barry Rager, and the mother of four young, energetic children. She and her family served in established churches for 8 years before relocating to Indianapolis in 2013 to plant New Circle Church. Amy enjoys discipling women and is passionate about planters' wives.
You can connect with her on Twitter @amylrager More from this author.
The phrase, “Don’t let the disappointment in a ‘few’ keep you from loving the ‘many’,” comes from a chapter in my book, 10 Things Every Minister’s Wife Needs to Know. In recent days, I’ve gone through a season of disappointment and I’ve had to remind myself of my own words. And unfortunately, I am pretty sure I will find myself there again in the future. You may say, well, that’s just ministry life. But it’s not. It’s everyone’s life, regardless of the occupation of your husband.
Don’t let the disappointment in a ‘few’ keep you from loving the ‘many’.
As minister’s wives, we can be tempted to withdraw or retreat, become bitter, give up, or be resentful of hurts. But when we do that, we end up lonely, isolated, and we miss the blessings of the “many” God has called us to serve and serve with. We sometimes determine in our hearts we will never allow ourselves to be put in that position again – we determine not to be vulnerable or transparent ever again. We tell ourselves it’s not worth the effort or the hurt. Unfortunately, that gets us nowhere in the eyes of others, or most importantly, with the Lord.
Withdraw and Retreat or Honor and Commend
So how are we to respond when we feel that keen disappointment in others? In my recent season, I deliberately decided to respond exactly opposite of how I felt on the inside. Rather than choosing to withdraw (my natural inclination) and retreat, I chose to take advantage of an opportunity to honor and commend others.
Rather than focusing on my personal disappointment, I asked the Lord to show me how I could be an encouragement to others.
What Godly Women Do
As I started to work on overcoming this season of disappointment, the Lord began to give me an actual list of attributes of the women I serve and serve with. This list included attributes from godly women of all ages and circumstances. My list reminded me I am not alone in this battle, and that others walk beside me in ministry life, also fighting the good fight.
This list included:
3 Actions To Take When You Are Disappointed In Others
So what do we do when people disappoint us? This certainly is a reality I would not and cannot deny. I’ve been there too many times as a pastor’s wife and I’m sure I will return there again.
1. Pour out your heart to the Lord.
Above all, I pour out my heart to the Lord. I ask Him to help me not give up. I ask him to help me forgive. I sometimes ask a very trusted friend to pray for me. I seek His Word for help because I know He has the answers better than anyone else.
2. Do something tangible.
In this particular season of disappointment, I did something tangible. I determined to turn my focus from my own personal hurt to honoring and acknowledging some extraordinary women God has placed in my life! Disappointment in others can be very depleting of our energies.Honoring others is refreshing and renews us.
3. Trust God and His Word.
My final words to you who may be going thru a season of hurt or disappointment come from His Word. Trust God and His Word, like these words from Philippians 1:9-11, “This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have more knowledge and understanding with your love; that you will see the difference between what is important and what is not and choose what is important; that you will be pure and blameless for the coming of Christ; that your life will be full of the many good works that are produced by Jesus Christ to bring glory and praise to God.” (ERV)
Refuse to become so disappointed in people that it rocks your faith or commitment to Christ. Keep your eyes on Jesus. God will see you through.
Where do you go to learn about being a minister's wife?
It is our desire here at Refresh to see that each woman has a positive experience in partnership with their husband in ministry.
Bloom wants to provide guidance, support, connection, and encouragement to wives new to ministry through a connection with a seasoned and trained minister's wife using a Connect group created specifically for you. We'll use books to guide us in our conversations about the challenges, issues, benefits, and rewards of being a minister's wife.
We believe when women are strengthen, our families and churches are strengthened, and the ministry of the gospel is strengthened.
Interested in joining a Bloom Group?
Let us hear from you. Next group starting April 2018.