February 14, 2013

Love Letters from Pastors to Their Wives

I forced my husband to write a Valentines Day letter to you.

I imagine you're saying to yourself, "To moi?" like Miss Piggy does to Kermit when he presents her with flowers. Yes, to "Moi", to you! Although I forced him to do it, I think what Kyle says is important because YOU are important to what your husband does and I want you to know that today. If you're not married, it's the same deal: you're just as important to the work of God going on around this world. And sometimes we just need a big, fat thank you. So here's your big, fat thank you. Happy Valentines Day, lovies!

Then, at the end of the post, eavesdrop with me on other church planters and pastors telling their wives what they mean to them and their ministries. Choose your favorite letter and vote in the comment section because that lucky guy will get a copy of my book and a sweet little heart necklace for his love! 

(And, by the way, my husband held this letter hostage and said I could only use it if I kept every last word. So please don't mind the last paragraph.)

Hello, Ladies!  Happy Hallmark Conspiracy Day, or Singles Awareness Day, or what most like to call Valentine’s Day.  As we all know, this is the day to express our love and appreciation to our significant other and get effusive with praise, chocolates, and roses.  While I often tell my wife that every day with me is like Valentine’s Day, to which she always groans, I am writing this letter to you out of love for my wife and desire to remain happily married.  The other reason is to show my appreciation for you (on behalf of your husband).

You, as a church planting or pastor’s wife, have a unique role that often goes underappreciated and undervalued.  You are pulled in every way imaginable and made to sacrifice in extreme ways.  Your life often resembles a tangible picture of Jesus, so I want to spend some time telling you ways your husbands is thankful for you.
Thank you, first off, for not laughing your husband out of the room when he told you he wanted to plant a church or be a pastor.  It takes a woman with a certain skin and backbone density to do what you do with any level of buoyancy.  His call became your call and just as much faith has been required of you as it has been of him.  So thanks for going on this crazy journey with him.

Thanks also in the earliest of days for being a jack-of-all trades (without getting any of the spotlight).  You have likely served as the children’s minister, hospitality coordinator, hostess, encourager, first impressions director, greeter, deaconess, discipleship coordinator, small group leader, women’s minister, playdate organizer, welcome table food caterer, and maybe even worship leader.  My guess is you’ve played many of these roles concurrently.  Yet your husband stands up for a few minutes each Sunday and occasionally gets told how great he is and how much God speaks through him.  While you clean up the kids area.  These do not go unnoticed by God and will not go unrewarded.  There will be no confusion about the gospel work you did—even when you just thought it was having a new person sit by you their first time at church.  Thank you for doing it most often with a gracious and willing heart.

Thank you for constantly encouraging your husband.  Thank you for supporting him and speaking truth into him when he is down and discouraged.  Thanks for giving him truthful encouragement after a sermon that he knows stunk, you know stunk, and everyone in a one mile radius knows stunk.  Your words and actions of encouragement help him grow in all areas of ministry.

Thank you for being his helpmate.  You above all, know how much he needs help.  You know that sometimes his machismo is often a cover for insecurity and indecisions.  Thanks for taking serious your role to speak into situations, think critically, and engage yourself personally.  He likes to act like he has his act all together, but he appreciates more than he carries on how much you help him in times of need.

Thank you for speaking up for your marriage and not letting him go off the grid with the pressure and call he feels to ministry.  The first few years of church planting are crazy, and he feels that in profound ways, but thanks for always reminding him the priority of marriage and family.  Your husband can be distracted and overwhelmed easily, but thank you for your reminder to him that you are more important.  Thanks for telling him that he made a vow to you and not to church planting or ministry.  Thanks for being a good helpmate (see above) in reminding him to stay faithful to his vow. 

So to all the church planting wives and minister’s wives, on behalf of your sometimes obtuse husbands, I say thank you.  What you do you do out of love for Jesus, but also for your husband.  You are invaluable to Him and to all of the Kingdom work happening all around the world.  Don’t be confused about your worth.  God isn’t.

Thank you, Christine Hoover, for being all of these things and more.  You embody Christ in the way you love and serve people.  I love you.  Thanks for making me look ridiculously better than I am, but even more so for all the glory you bring to the Lord.  (Note: As a part of my agreement to do this, I made her comply to me having final editorial say over this post.  Otherwise, I knew she would want me to take out this last part.)

Thanks, Babe! 

Now on to the eavesdropping. Check out what these hubbies had to say to their wives. And the winners of the giveaway are Matt and Beth! Congrats!

1. Matt Chewning's words for his wife, Beth 
The only thing left to do in that moment was to figure out how to get you to be mine.

2. Clint Clifton's love letter for his wife, Jennifer
You possess a rare magic, uncommon among women..

3. Timothy Haupt gives his love to his wife, Ashley
I wake up next to the sunset.

4. Keith Ferguson speaks love to his wife, Julie
Though many women have truly done excellently, in my eyes, you far-and-away surpass them all.

5. Tyler blesses his wife, Mel
I couldn't do what I do and I couldn't be who I am without you.

6. Chris tells his wife, Rosalie, why he loves her.
I couldn't do this on my own.