It was the spring of 1969 and I was riding down the street, with my precious father, in our turquoise blue country squire station wagon with the wood paneling on the sides. He asked me a simple question and my response startled even me!
I was almost 14 years old and I was heading into High School. At that time, there were only two courses of study to choose from. You could pursue business classes or college preparatory classes. My father said, “Verna, what do you want to do?” Without even hesitating, I said, “I want to be a Pastor’s wife.” Where did that come from? What did I know about being a Pastor’s wife? I hadn’t even thought about that or even desired it, at least I thought. But deep down in my heart, God had planted eternity in my heart - a divinely implanted sense of purpose which nothing under the sun, but only God could satisfy. - Ecclesiastes 3:11 (AMP)
From that simple ride in the car with my father, my future began to take shape. I completed the business classes at High School and graduated, along with taking two missions trips, on to Mexico and the other to Venezuela. (I met my future husband, Jonathan, on that mission trip to Mexico when I was 16). I then went to Bible College, got married (one month short of age 21) two weeks after Jonathan graduated and a few weeks later, we entered full time ministry.
This is where my hindsight can become your foresight! Through the years, I have had many occasions to look back and reflect on many things that could have been done differently. One great man of God said, “Days of preparation are never wasted days.” How true that is, but no one seemed to notice how much preparation Jonathan and I really needed! We both grew up in wonderful Christian homes with loving caring families and never lacked anything in that department at all. Our families were very committed to us and still are to this day.
Unfortunately, the church culture we were in, at that time, said, get married young and go straight into ministry as soon as possible. That us all we knew, that that is what we did. We lacked wisdom, common sense, confidence, self-esteem, a servant’s heart and most important of all, spiritual maturity. We were newlyweds with no time to get to know each other, never mind learn how to live together! Add to that no money, the pressures of ministry – everyone’s expectations of you and what you should be doing – sing, play the piano, leas the choir, work with the children, be the perfect hostess and never stop smiling! If they liked your “performance” they voted for you, if they didn’t, you were out. WOW! Did I really sign up for this?! Didn’t anyone notice how desperately we needed to be discipled and trained for ministry? Did anyone really care?
Today, decades later, as I see young couples with the call of God on their lives, my heart is drawn to them as it is to you. I deeply want you to have what we didn’t have – a solid start with a firm foundation and discipleship with a healthy Pastoral covering. I want you to know that we genuinely care about you – not what we can get from you. I want you to know that healthy leadership should have a vision to develop you as a devoted follower of Christ and that the goal should not be about using you to develop their vision. You are the vision!
One of the most important lessons I continue to learn is that time is my friend and not my enemy. We always seem to be in a rush to do this, go there, hurry up, get it done now and do it all before the sun goes down! However, remember that time allows the character of God to be developed in you for in developing the character of God, you will be able to sustain, by His power, what He wants to do through you. What a precious friend time is! What a wonderful gift time is! “To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven…” – Ecclesiastes 3:1 (AMP) “He has made everything beautiful in its time…” – Ecclesiastes 3:11 (AMP)
By His direction, afford yourself the time to establish a firm foundation in your marriage, finances, character development, servanthood and accountability relationships. Things may not seem perfect to you, you may not think you have enough money – everything may not be as “right” as you want it – but you’ll be ahead of most just by being aware that “Except the Lord builds the house (marriage, finances, ministry, etc.) they labor in vain who build it…” – Psalms 127:1
This is what my heart truly desires for you:
- I want you to have people in your life who love you enough to tell you the truth and confront what isn’t right.
- I want you to have godly relationships in your life that mean more to you than anything this world can give you.
- I want you to know the absolute, pure joy of His call upon your life – whatever area He has called you to.
- I want you to be wise enough to know that He will steer your course rightly if you acknowledge Him in all your ways.
- I want you to know that He has done a work in you so that He can do a work through you.
- I want you to know that your uniqueness is important to God. There are people on this earth that are waiting just for you!
- I want you to know that the gift of God in you is just that – a gift! That gift is to be given away and released for the benefit of others.
- I want you to know that every time He asks you to do something and you are positive that you can’t possibly do it, remember that someone’s deliverance is on the other side of you saying “Yes!”
- I want you to know that who you are at home is who you really are!
- I want you to know that your spouse and children need you always.
- I want you to know that you can always get another ministry if necessary, but you can’t get another family like the one you have right now. Give them your love and time.
- I want you to know that your children will grow to love the ministry if you include them in the ministry. Be partners together in touching the world. Make room for them.
- I want you to know that the ministry is tough, grueling and people can be cruel.
- I want you to know that the ministry is wonderful, rewarding and people can be awesome!
- I want you to know that God knew exactly what He was doing when He marked you for His purposes! You are the apple of His eye!
- Days of preparation are never wasted days! Time can be your best friend!
As you step into God’s great plan for your life, focus on those areas that have eternity attached to them. Many opportunities will pass by you – some are meant to pass on by while others will require you to reach out and make the most of every opportunity. Time is not to be wasted but to be valued.
Never lose awe of the fact that the God of the universe, the One who hung the planets in their places, the One who placed the stars in space, the One who knows every times a sparrow falls from a tree and the One who has the hairs on your head numbered – He has chosen you to be part of His great plan here on the earth. He specifically chose you for a divine purpose – a heavenly call. Yes, it is a high calling, a holy calling and a heavenly calling. You have been chosen to be a part of Kingdom business and oh, what a thrill! Never lose the thrill and if you find it waning, get away alone with Him and rehearse and remember His great faithfulness toward you and how patient He has been in developing you for His plan. Run to Him and revel in the power of his presence!