Today Josh and I had an appointment with a couple whose ministry is to meet with pastors and their wives to offer guidance and a listening ear.
The challenges of full-time ministry sometimes feel overwhelming. What if ministry takes over our family and deteriorates us from the inside out? I sometimes wonder how all this is going to end.
Our counseling time has been gold.
Afterwards, I snuggled up right under Josh’s chin and rested my head on his chest. I’ve been deeply in love with Josh since the start. His scent. His strong shoulders which always seem to bear the load of tough times, his steadfast vision, the way he talks slow and works hard, his compassionate heart and unyielding faith… In the words of Barney Fife, he’s the “only one I ever gave a hoot for.” I’ve always loved him, I just haven’t always known where we are going or if we are making the right call, or what ministry will do to us.
These counseling times have opened our eyes, not to all the bad things that can blow up with ministry, but to the possibility of something absolutely beautiful happening.
After our session, Josh and I gathered the kids and we headed to the hospital to see an elderly couple that Josh and I love dearly. The wife is not doing well.
When we entered the room, the first thing I noticed was the vibrant mural behind her bed. We said our hellos and gave hugs, then I had to say something about the mural.
“Those are beautiful flowers!” I said looking at the wall.
The wife seemed bewildered. She turned slightly but she couldn’t move much and she wasn’t able to easily view the flowers. Her bed faced a blank TV screen and white cabinets.
Her loyal husband stood by her side. I love elderly folk. His jeans were straight-up old school. Creased in the center and hemmed just right. These two have seen many years together. Both absolutely delightful people.
The longer we stayed, the more Josh and I began to realize how dire the situation really was. I began to get emotional realizing she is nearing the end.
This old, incredibly beautiful woman who I could only hope to be like one day, looked at me and said, “I’m in a lot of pain. I don’t know when I’m going to get out and I just don’t know how this is going to end.”
Her husband, who had his loving eyes devotedly fixed on hers the whole time, didn’t miss a moment, and said, “I do… and it’s going to be wonderful.”
He smiled at her the way people who have been married for fifty or so years do. His unending affection for her poured effortlessly from his expression.
At that time, I nearly came undone. I wanted to excuse myself behind that hospital privacy curtain near the door and weep quietly to myself or perhaps tap the nurse call button for a tissue box, stat.
We talked for a while and then I asked the husband what kind of flowers were on the mural. He said, “pretty ones.”
Again, the wife couldn’t really see them, though she tried. The husband was facing them the whole time.
It was then that I realized that sometimes we lose sight of the field of flowers. This woman in bed. She is going home to heaven soon. I can’t imagine the joy that awaits. Maybe she’ll see the streets of gold first or maybe she’ll see a field of flowers. I do know that what her husband said, is true.
It will be wonderful.
In entering full-time ministry with Josh. I haven’t known how this ends. I can’t see it, but today I realized that I don’t have to. I have a Savior who has seen the beginning and the end. What if I trust that this is all going in a marvelous direction? Like this old loving husband said, he didn’t know what kind of flowers they were, just that they were pretty.
I don’t know all the details of how Josh and I will work this out, but it could be beautiful if I trust Josh and Jesus.
I mean, maybe it could be better than pretty and quite wonderful.
You don’t always have to see the field of flowers, just so long as your spouse can see it. At least one of you.
And if you both can’t see the field of flowers, trust the One who called you right to this place, because our Heavenly Father doesn’t call you to places of destruction, but to places of abundance.
If you have to take a break every now and then to cry behind the privacy curtain, or hit the call button for some tissues, you can do that. Just so long as you don’t stop trusting that a grand ending is being written for all those in Christ Jesus.
Friend, wherever He is calling you to go…
You don’t have to know all the details, just trust that it’s going to be wonderful.
“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” -Jesus (John 10:10)
“if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” – Romans 10:9
“But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” – 1 Corinthians 2:9