My husband and I have taken quite the step this year by making the decision to pursue our ministry credentials together in our church organization. We have had quite the journey getting to this point and I must say I never expected this to happen. It’s truly amazing what God can accomplish in your life and your relationship when you actually let God work on you and your relationship…specifically your marriage.
It’s hard to believe that almost a year ago our marriage almost came to an end. For being such an involved couple in our church, we were far from involved in our marriage and relationship with each other and with our own family. And that sounds even more bizarre when you take into account that the church we attended and worked in was my PARENT’S church! My dad was the pastor, my sister was the youth pastor, my brother was in the worship band, my husband ran the sound and was on the pastor’s council, and I was the children’s leader…my whole family was involved in the church and in ministry, but at some point the work in ministry took over the true meaning and value of ministry. My husband lost enjoyment in our ministries (if he ever really even had enjoyment begin with.) It turned into a routine…like showing up for a job. We didn’t even get to enjoy being in church together because as soon as we showed up we separated. He went straight to the sound booth and I would either go to my seat for worship service or straight downstairs to lead children’s church. I missed being with him on Sunday mornings, but I can’t say that I really thought a lot about our situation. Like I said, it was routine. My husband, on the other hand, was very much affected by this scenario and apparently thought about it (or began thinking about it) a lot. It took a toll on his mind and spirit. He was miserable and suffering…and sadly I had no idea. We hit a brick wall in our marriage and the time came that we had to renew our relationship not only with each other, but with God.
There was a struggle and certainly a process. Our marriage almost came to an end! This forced me to get serious about what was really important and evaluate my priorities…my family had to come first. First before ministry, first before church, but second after God. I stepped completely out of ministry as did my husband. We left our church, left my parents. We had to find a place where we could just sit back and be a family on a pew. We were open with our new pastor about our struggles and our past and he welcomed us in with open arms and compassion. The kids immediately grounded themselves in the youth group and they were able to honestly and without reserve open up about their own struggles. We allowed ourselves as individuals and as a family to be ministered TO for awhile.
A great opportunity came up for us to take part in a leadership development program. We dove right in not wanting to miss any opportunity of learning more about God’s word and His purpose for our lives. We wanted to take advantage of every chance to soak up more knowledge, inspiration, and guidance. God worked a miracle in our marriage for a reason, and we did not want to give the enemy one inch of wiggle room to wedge a divide between us again. We knew that God had a calling on each of our lives and we finally broke down and handed Him the reigns to start driving us toward those callings. What a relief to hand it over to Him. To stop fighting the idea and trying to run from our callings. My husband and I were, for the first time, running towards our callings. And the best part was that we were doing it as one.
Then that day came when I felt God calling out to me to step back into a ministry role. I heard it, I felt it loud and clear and almost painfully…and yet I still tried to ignore it and turn my head to it. You see, I made a vow when I stepped away from ministry that I would not step back into ministry unless I would be doing it along side my husband. If we were not called together then I was not called by myself. This has been pivotal in our relationship with each other and with God. So when I felt the pull to step back into children’s ministry at our new church I did not make a move! I was not going to be the one to make the decision and take the first step. I knew that if this was truly what God was calling me to then he would call my husband too. So I waited. And of course, I didn’t say a word to my husband about it! He kept asking me though! He would ask if I wanted to do it, or if I felt like I should do it. I just denied it because the truth was I COULDN’T do it. I couldn’t bring myself to it unless I knew we would be doing it together, but I couldn’t suggest that to my husband because I had to know if he made the decision to be involved it would have to be his own decision…or him recognizing that God specifically was speaking to him to do it. And that’s exactly what happened. Point blank, he said “We should do this. You need to do this, and so I need to do this with you.”
We began working in children’s ministry together…as a team…as a couple. We have stirred over the idea of becoming full time children’s pastors if that is what God wants us to do. We are enjoying working together during our Kids Church weeks and worshiping together on our off weeks. We have started looking toward the future in our pursuit of ministry and have begun the process of obtaining our credentials in ministry together. And I believe the next step on this journey together is a step across the border into the missions field. I have already taken that step on my own (having been on 6 missions trips in the last 5 years), but I know that I am not meant to walk it alone. This coming summer all of our kids will have traveled to Mexico with me, so my husband gets the next trip.
I do not believe any part of our journey in ministry is meant to be walked alone. I believe God has called my husband and I together. We may not be called to do the same thing or minister in the same way. We may not even be called to the same areas of ministry, but I know that we are meant to serve together regardless. Even if it means walking along side my husband in his area of ministry so that he can fulfill his call, and my husband walking along my side so that I can fulfill mine…where he serves, I serve…where he goes I go. Likewise, where I serve, he serves…where I go, he goes. We are in this pursuit of ministry TOGETHER!