Loving Life in Leadership

Anyone who really knows me will most likely tell you that I absolutely love life in the ministry and I especially love being a Pastor’s wife. Since the age of 13, it’s all I have ever wanted to do. It’s what I was created for, it’s what brings me great joy and fulfillment. I love life in the ministry!

It’s not that life has been without challenges. There have been plenty of tough times, dry seasons, no money, discouraging moments, or occasionally wishing I had the luxury of choosing where in this great world I could live. If left to myself, I would definitely have chosen to live on a beach somewhere and my wardrobe would consist of shorts, t-shirts, flip flops, Maui Jim sunglasses and my visor! My choice fragrance would be Sea & Ski - the original scent, not the current imposters. But, when I surrendered my life to Him, it meant where He would lead, I would follow. So, here we have been for the last 36 years - 15 miles north of the great city of Boston. Thankfully, I am in close proximity to some beautiful beaches, which I don’t frequent nearly enough, but at least I know the ocean is near and within reach.

I’m asked quite often by other Pastor’s wives, why I enjoy life in the ministry so much with all of its stress, glass house living, time demands and sometimes, what seems like, a very slow return on endless sowing. That is easy for me to answer - I settled the call when He called me.

I know that seems too simplistic for many of you, however, that’s my answer and i’m sticking to it! I settled the call when He called me. Who am I to argue with an omnipotent God who knows me better than I know myself? The bottom line is that I was created for His pleasure, and wherever He chooses I should be, that’s where I’ll be.

I’m really a very simple person and I’m sure my husband would tell you that I am low maintenance which makes things a lot easier for him. Aside from a few “menopause moments” that caused him to slowly back out of a room in fear for his life, I’m not a drama queen and I’m confident Jonathan would agree. I’m sure I have mellowed with age, but as I look back over the years and reflect, there are some personal core values I have lived by.

Jonathan and Verna in 1981, the year they began International Family Church.

Jonathan and Verna in 1981, the year they began International Family Church.

1. Look to God, not your husband, as your ultimate source.

It’s so important to look to God as your ultimate source, not your husband. God’s supply is unlimited. Your husband’s supply is limited. Share with Him the desires of your heart, the things you dream of, your deepest longings. He is a good Father and He loves to give his children good gifts. Don’t put the pressure on your husband to be your everything. He can’t. Only God can fulfill the deepest desires of your heart. Your church salary is probably not going to do it - but God can and He will! Trust Him. Develop your faith life in Him. He is El Shaddai - not your husband. Your husband has enough problems to deal with - don’t become another one of them by demanding from him what he cannot produce. But God…...

2.  Build a healthy marriage and home life.

Ecc. 5:3 (AMP) “For a dream comes with much business and painful effort…” Every woman has a dream for a peaceful, joyful home but it is going to take much business and sometimes painful effort. Make this your greatest quest - a peaceful, joyful home.

Don’t take each other for granted. Keep things fresh. Remain engaged and excited about life. Put yourselves first - before the children, before the church, before anything or anyone else. When things seem to get stale, and you’ll have seasons of that, jump right back into the daily disciplines that you know work for you and your home.

God spoke to me in the early days of our marriage when things were quite shaky. He said to me, “Verna, the strength of your ministry will come out of the strength of your home.” That was it for me. That has been my endeavor all these years. I have been far from perfect in staying focused, but I just keep getting back up and back on track. It has paid off and I encourage you to invest in your marriage and children by fervent prayer, confession of God’s Word in this area and the association with other strong marriages and families. (Read previous blogs for encouragement in this area)

3. Don’t forget that God values who you are becoming and what you are doing for Him.

Through these many years, I often remind myself that what I do is valuable to God but more important is who I am becoming. I want to make Him proud. I want to represent Him well. I want to love the people as He would. I want to point everyone to Him, not me. I want Him to be able to count on me to accomplish my assignment. He values what I do for Him.

Jonathan and Verna at the surprise celebration for their 40th year of marriage and 40th year in ministry.

Jonathan and Verna at the surprise celebration for their 40th year of marriage and 40th year in ministry.

4. You have a great counsellor in the person of the Holy Spirit.

I’m so very thankful for the Holy Spirit and His help here on the earth. I have unlimited help with Him leading me and guiding me in all the affairs of life. When I don’t know what to do, He leads me. When I don’t know where to go, He guides me. When I don’t know what to say, He speaks through me. When I don’t know how to help someone, He, the Great Helper, helps through me. What a wonderful companion He is.

Nurture your relationship with Him. Acknowledge Him throughout your day, every day. Read God’s Word daily and allow the Counsellor to counsel you. Allow yourself to be fully controlled and led by His Spirit. He will bring you into places of deep fulfillment and joy.

5. Enjoy some great friendships with other women who are going where you want to go.

One of the greatest strengths of my life has been the incredible friendships I have with other precious women of God. Some are Pastor’s wives, some are women in ministry, some are amazing wives and mothers. They all add pure enjoyment to my life. Over the years, we have laughed together, cried together, prayed together, vacationed together, labored together, dreamed together and now we talk about how we will help the upcoming young women who are heading into where we have been. What joy there is in having these friendships.

If you don’t have these kind of friends, ask God for them. He will give you the desires of your heart.

Ladies, there is absolutely no reason for you to go through life isolated and lonely. God has called you to do a great work for Him. Some of you might never stand behind a pulpit or work in the office or ever desire to be in front of people. That is perfectly fine! Take the pressure off! Do what He has called you to do in each and every season of your life.

If you are home with your children - enjoy the season and do it with joy and thanksgiving! You are doing it for Him! If you are serving at the church in various capacities, do it with joy and thanksgiving!  You are doing it for Him! If you are traveling and ministering, do it with joy. You are doing for Him!

Love the life God has called you to. Be real. Be genuine. Be authentic. Be you!