February 12, 2013

He Wants Your Heart: A Word to Church Planting Wives

When God called my husband and I to plant a church, I said yes. My yes to church planting echoed the vow I made on my wedding day, that I would support my husband in any ministry God might give him. As He does with us all, God has not stopped asking for my yes and He has not stopped showering His faithfulness on any willingness I offer Him.
Sisters, I believe this—a willing heart—is the key to our fruitfulness and joy. And yet our hearts are the very things that will be tempted and tried throughout the church planting process. Feelings of loneliness, resentment, discouragement, or exhaustion lure us to wander from Him. The temptations are subtle but real: to turn to others, to turn away from the calling because it’s difficult and demanding, to distance ourselves from our husbands out of resentment, to feed our children a faint distaste for the church and for God, to believe that our successes in church planting belong to us, to live off of our previous sacrifices and refuse to sacrifice more of ourselves to God. The temptation is to self: seeking our own agenda, clamoring to have our needs met, self-promotion, and selfish ambition. As we seek these things, we become a statistic: burned out, isolated, depressed, and—sometimes—resigned.

I speak from experience. My heart has been tested countless times throughout our church planting journey, starting from the moment I unpacked the last moving box in our new home in our new city.

Over the course of the first year and well into the second, nothing came easy, despite our hard work. I struggled to conjure up the faith and excitement I had come to our city with. I longed for God to make things easier and more comfortable for us. I wondered why we weren’t the church planters who experienced explosive growth in a short period of time. How I envied those people.

I began putting undue pressure on my husband Kyle because I was emotionally fragile, uncertain of my role, and lonely. Church planting was proving harder than I had originally expected. “Why did you bring me here?” I’d say to Kyle, my words dripping with resentment. He’d gently remind me that God called me here too, that we were a team, and that I’d felt so certain when we were preparing to plant the church.

I mourned the change and what it required of me: more sacrifice, less of my husband, more uncertainty, less of the familiar routines we had once enjoyed. I grew disillusioned—with ministry, with church planting, and with marriage. I dwelled there, feeding my sinful thoughts. What if we had never moved here? What if Kyle hadn’t gone into ministry? What if we had ignored God’s call to church plant? What if I hadn’t married someone in the ministry? What would it hurt just to give up?

I also aimed my bitter arrows at God. Why can’t You make this easier? I have been obedient and faithful in coming here, and this is what I get?

Please read the full post on the Desiring God blog.

Valentines Day is quickly approaching! I'm collecting love letters from church planters and pastors to their wives to post on Thursday. To participate, guys, post your letter on your blog and send the link to me by February 13. One hubby will win his wife a copy of The Church Planting Wife and this heart necklace from The Vintage Pearl!