24

April 7th, 2014 is the 24th anniversary of the day Luke and I said, “I do.”  It is just ridiculous to believe that many years have passed considering he and I had just started dating as his parents were about to celebrate their own 25th year together.  So basically, they were the age we are now as they planned a party to celebrate what seemed an impossible milestone in a life together.  And yet, here we sit on opposite sofas in a home God gave us enjoying the simplicity of Sunday’s postlude after serving a church that was no where on our radar when we walked the red-carpeted aisle and promised each other our forever’s.

The marriage that began in unchartered waters now has the safety of much exploration.  Because of this there are some things I can now count on as known points on the map.  Our lives are rich with friends but if that were not the case and every person on this earth failed me, this one would not.  Luke is steady.  To some a certain amount of predictability may translate “boring”. To me it spells faithful, trustworthy, and true.  Aside from God, this man is north to me when I feel confused, lost, and vulnerable.  He is an amazing father who teaches me daily what it looks like to be a student of our children and to learn their ways so we can love them and connect best to their unique personalities.  He is a selfless pastor whose mind is on the people he serves day and night.  He is a friend to the friendless and takes the time to see straight into the hearts of people who stopped believing long ago they deserved to have anyone care that deeply.

I am one of those people.

I do not know what I did to merit a love like that.  The more I think of it, my marriage is grace.  God knew what I needed, who I needed, and gave him to me as protector, provider, and friend.  I am humbled for the privilege of being a helpmate to him.

I love you, Luke McKay.  Here’s to 24 more.

(And maybe one of these years we will get to make that trip out Route 66.  Or Jerusalem.  Surprise me.)

 

lukelisa

 

 

 

Ministry Wife Series: God as Your Pastor

**Once upon a time I wrote a series of articles for ministry wives based on common topics of email questions I receive.  These articles were first published at Christian Women Online but I am reposting them here for those of you who may find them helpful.  I would love to hear some fresh conversation on these subjects!**

An anonymous sister asked,

Few people realize the dilemma of a pastor’s wife. Her husband is the ONLY preacher/pastor that she ever has! This is great, if he is a good preacher, but what if he is not that great a preacher?  Is she doomed to  spiritual starvation and boredom as she sits through his sermons each week?”

By asking if she is “doomed to spiritual starvation and boredom,” I am assuming this pastor’s wife is looking for permission to attend another church where she perceives she will be neither spiritually hungry nor bored. I find no biblical support for making this move.

Let’s turn the tables on this one. Let’s say you love to cook and find great joy in preparing meals for your family. Imagine now that your husband informs you that his mother’s cooking is much better than your own and, in order to satisfy his hunger with the best food, he will start eating supper at her home every night.

It’s tempting to respond with, “YES! It’s pizza tonight, kids!”  However, before you do, truly consider what his decision would do to you as a woman. Personally, I would be devastated to think I had really tried and my husband chose the better meatloaf at the expense of my dignity. I believe this is the same concept as leaving your husband’s church for another just to find “a better meal.”

Two phrases stuck out to me in the initial question:  spiritual starvation and boredom. I think there are ways we can avoid either without taking the drastic measure of seeking nourishment outside the family.

1.  Go to church full. Early in Luke’s ministry, he and I served in a church that did not have the greatest of preachers.  He was an excellent pastor, but his teaching skills were lacking.  I remember clearly Luke and I concluding that God was preparing us for servant leadership by getting us used to feeding ourselves instead of expecting someone else to do it for us.  Luke has stated many times over the years that a Christian will never survive on one thirty-minute sermon per week.  The purpose of Sunday worship is to come in to God’s house overflowing with what He has revealed to us through a week’s worth of personal study and prayer.  If we come in starving, we will still leave with a growling belly.

2.  Don’t force your husband into a role he isn’t meant to fill. As much as I love Luke and his teaching, his sermons are not the meat of my Christian walk.  I love to hear him expose a passage for my deeper understanding and discipleship but he is not God to me, nor does he seek to be.  If I seek spiritual fulfillment based only on how effectively he demonstrates his calling, then yes, I will always be disappointed and perhaps even bored.  However, our joy as pastor’s wives should be found in upholding our husbands’ ministries while exercising our personal gifts.

3.  Be honest about your reasons for not following your husband. I read several forums in preparation to write this article and it’s obvious there are many reasons pastor’s wives choose not to attend their husband’s church. The most common scenario is a woman being deeply attached to a congregation where she was a member before her husband was called to minister.  Because of her long history and love for that body, she is hesitant to depart.

To this Scripture only says one thing:  Leave and cleave.  (Genesis 2:24)  Your place  is by your husband.  Period.

Another reason is the wife not believing her husband is truly ‘called’ to ministry and that he is perhaps pursuing it in vain ambition.  Also noted is that she knows that her husband is not the man he proclaims to be in the pulpit and she refuses to reinforce the lie.

These situations are tough at best. The Bible does not call us to submit to ungodliness.  Honestly, I think the answer to this question is as varied as the individual circumstance.  If marital strife, deceit, or heaven forbid, abuse, has you feeling you can’t sit in the same church body as your husband, then my advice is to seek godly Christian counseling to determine the next step.  There are many low-cost or free resources available.  The Parsonage (www.parsonage.org) is a ministry of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family and is a great resource I recommend to find support for the pastor’s family.

I believe with all my heart God’s desire for the minister includes his entire family worshipping in one body.  If you find yourself feeling empty, consider beginning a women’s Bible study group.  You may just find that the measures you take to curb your own spiritual appetite will serve to feed others as well.  That is true ministry and I promise, once embraced it will be the great thrill of your Christian life.  In fact, I’d be willing to bet you’ll forget all about your husband’s lackluster sermons when you are pouring it out into the girls God has entrusted to your care.

Even if the man behind the pulpit happens to be your husband, ultimately, God is your pastor.  I can’t think of another person more supremely qualified to lead you into righteousness than Him!

He’s So Not Cool

One of the most fabulous things about being a minister’s family is the joy of having a front row seat to the important days in the lives of our people when they are at their happiest: the birth of babies, the dedications of the same, the baptisms, the birthday parties, the graduations, and the marriages just to name a few.  (Okay, so maybe we don’t have a front row seat to the birthing of babies but I’m confident you get what I’m sayin’.)  There’s so much about ministry that makes us cry so when we get to smile with our peeps?  Well, it’s the best. Sign us up, please.

Luke and I have had the most fun over the past few weeks spending time with two of our favorite people on this planet from a former pastorate, Josh and Johnna, for what we would like to call pre-marital counseling sessions.  In reality, we’ve just talked a lot of God, married life, and laughed our heads off.  Josh and Johnna are just cool.  That’s all there is to it.  Josh is an avid fisherman and prone to wandering to Montana for the perfect trout.  Johnna is drop-dead gorgeous, doesn’t need one bit of makeup to look that way, and is as stunning in her Teva’s as she is her heels.  They’ve been dating 7 years and have honored God in their relationship.  They give me hope for my own kids that there is still a remnant of that generation whose goal in life is following hard after Christ and glorifying Him through their marriage.  Also, did I mention how cool they are? 

During pre-marital counseling, Luke will at some point address the particulars of the ceremony like The Vows and What The Bride Wants Him to Wear.  You know, the important stuff.  It was in this part of the conversation the other night when Luke asked Josh what color cumberbund he would be wearing.

*Silence*

Now, let me first clarify that I am not cool. Much. However, I knew the cumberbund thing had been out for a good 3 years.  And I would have given cash money to have had a photo of the first looks on Josh and Johnna’s face when Luke asked the question.  The expressions morphed from, “Oh, bless his heart.  Let’s not tell him those went out of style with his mullet..” to hysteria when I suggested I would wear a matching prom dress and we could have the first dance to Chaka Khan or Bryan Adams.  

It was during all the laughing that I looked at Luke and realized Reason #4022 that I love him so much is that is absolutely does not care if he is likened to James Dean or Mr. Rogers.  Sure, it’s nice to be cool but even more attractive when you don’t have to be.  And as for marriage, there is nothing more secure than settling in with a man who is confident, steady, predictable, and who isn’t likely to hit some freak-show mid-life crisis in fear he’s losing his youthful appeal.  So my advice to you darlin’ girls who are still waiting for Mr. Right?  Make sure he’s a dork.  My man is.

(And just maybe his woman is, too?)

But I wouldn’t have him any other way.

(And vice versa, I’m sure.)

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