I never wanted to be a Pastor’s wife. I actually told God that I didn’t want to marry a Pastor. This scenario did not fit into the dreams or plans I had for my life. However, God lovingly transformed my heart and life over the course of several years and I surrendered my will for His perfect will. Since that time, I have never doubted my CALL to ministry, and I have pursued it with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.
In a way that only God could orchestrate, God brought me and my future husband, Sam, together just a few months after I said “yes” to God’s perfect plan for me. Our journey has not always been easy. Quite honestly, it’s been challenging at times, especially during our first few years of marriage. We were navigating through a myriad of complex changes for both of us, and we were learning to knit our lives together into the beautiful picture of “us.”
Ministry is full of both joys and struggles.
Sam and I have celebrated together on the mountaintop and cried together in the deepest of valleys. At times, the journey has been exhilarating and at other times there have been scary twists and turns. There have been times of victory and times of seemingly defeat.
I love doing life and ministry with Sam. There are very few positions where a husband and wife get to serve alongside each other. Ministry knits our hearts and lives together for a greater purpose – a Kingdom purpose. It completes who we each are and fulfills our common purpose on this earth.
Ministry life is somewhat of a paradox.
This is a Kingdom principle that Jesus spoke of. There are both great joy and great struggle in “doing life” with people. Our level of joy and struggle fluctuates just like the seasons. There are times when the weight and burden seem more than we can bear, and times when our life couldn’t seem to get any better. There are seasons that we love like a memorable summer vacation, and seasons where we agonize over the harshness and bitterness of this life called ministry.
We celebrate at marriage ceremonies and grieve when the covenant is broken. We rejoice with the birth of every baby and agonize over a child’s terminal illness. We rejoice when God heals and mourn when someone dies. We celebrate when people receive Christ as Savior and are heartbroken when they walk away from the One who saved them. We rejoice with others when God answers their prayers and are saddened when people are angry toward God for not answering their prayers as they expected. We are fulfilled by watching people grow spiritually and frustrated when they live contrary to God’s Word. We are blessed with the loving kindness of those we serve and hurt when we are wounded by their actions. We are excited to see people come and we hate to see them go, no matter what the reason. We are encouraged when financial provision is abundant and we are stressed when finances are lacking. We can’t get to sleep at night when we are “wired” due to excitement and we awake during the night when we are worried or burdened about ministry-related issues.
Sometimes ministry can seem like a wild roller coaster ride.
It is comforting, however, to know that Jesus experienced everything we have experienced and He has the answer for every single situation. We can say unequivocally that, through all the ups and downs, God is faithful. We can trust Him. He is on our side and intercedes to the Father on our behalf.
Think about it…it’s hard to comprehend that out of the 3.7 billion women in the world, God chose me, and He chose you to be a part of the wonderful sisterhood called – Minister’s Wife. We are privileged to fulfill our piece of His master Kingdom plan. God knows that He can trust us to use our gifts, talents, and abilities to impact His Kingdom and be about the “Father’s business.”
Although there have been times when I have struggled with the demands and unique challenges of ministry life, I wouldn’t exchange my CALL to ministry for anything.
You see…we cannot escape the CALL of God. 2 Thessalonians 2:14 says, ”To this, He called you through our gospel, so you may share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” It is God who calls and it is God who sustains us in that call.
The joys of ministry and marriage far exceed the struggles. The victories far outweigh the defeats. The beauty outshines the ugliness. When we yield our lives in service to the Master, He empowers us for life-transforming ministry. What a call…what a life…what an adventure!
The Wild Ride of the Call is ENTRY FOUR in February's blog series, Marriage + Ministry. What have you found to be the greatest joy in your ministry marriage? Your greatest struggle? Join the conversation by posting below and via our Facebook community this week.
Susan and her husband, Sam, serve at Celebration Church in Roanoke, Virginia, celebrating 16 years pf marriage and ministry together this April. Currently, Susan leads the worship and women’s ministries. Her greatest passion is to minister to women called to ministry. Susan is the founder of Called 2 Ministry. Its mission is to encourage, equip, and empower women in ministry to fulfill God’s call on their lives. She is the author of Healing the Hurts of Ministry: 7 Strategies for Moving Forward – a free eBook that can be obtained at susanbelisle.com. You can connect with Susan on Instagram, Facebook, and join her in the Called 2 Ministry private Facebook community. Outside of ministry, some of Susan’s favorite things include spending time with family, having lunch with friends, drinking herbal tea, bike riding, and traveling both near and far.