It’s hard to believe that two years ago, my husband and I were unloading our U-Haul truck and meeting the people of Grace Baptist Church for the first time. They definitely seem like part of my family now. Two years really isn’t a long time when you think of the tenure of a ministry. Yet, when you have invested your life – your heart, your soul, your sweat, your tears – into people it seems like a great length of time.
In some ways, these two years have flown by! My little Leslie turned three the day after we moved in, she will be five now! The photos of our children two years ago reveal dramatic changes in height, hair color and length, teeth missing, and older faces. Our church is different too! We have more people than we did those first few weeks here. We have new faces in the crowd! We have seen some souls saved and even some new ministries added. We have faced some trials, but we face those no matter where we live. My husband and I have drawn closer together in the past two years – something that I hope will happen more each year! 🙂 We have also seen God bless us in other extraordinary ways, for which I am truly thankful.
When my husband took his first pastorate in October of 2005, I made a very important decision. I decided, that whether our parsonage or new city was wonderful or not, I was going to like it. A wife’s outlook is so important on her husband, especially if your husband is in the ministry. Many times, my husband preaches or counsels or gives of himself to people, only to get hurt in return. Many times the various burdens of the ministry press heavily upon him, till he nearly breaks. He tells me he’s tired; he’s ready to quit. Sometimes, I feel the same way, and wonder why he couldn’t have become an electrician? But one of us is always there to say, “No, we can’t quit. Let’s pray. Let’s rest and see how it looks tomorrow.” And when tomorrow comes, we are glad we didn’t let the other one quit. I told Terry upon our arrival in Texas, that I wasn’t going to look for the “easy way out” if things got tough. I told him I wouldn’t encourage him to leave when problems came. (You see, I hadn’t always been this way, I’m sorry to say.) “Terry,” I said one night, “I’m digging my heels into this brown Texas soil, and I’m staying unless God says move.”I didn’t love everything about Texas, but when I saw something I didn’t like, I tried to purposely look for the positive.
Here we are, some two years later, and we’re not in Texas anymore. I’m an Arkansas girl, so naturally, I love Arkansas! But, it’s not perfect. There are things here that I do not like. I’m having to tell myself and my husband, “I’m digging my heels in the rich Arkansas soil and I’m staying!” I’m having to look for the positive. I’m having to take each new trial and each new battle one step, one day at a time. I’m learning to trust my Savior more.
Ministry work is slow work. It takes years to build people, to build trust, and to earn respect. I wish it would happen quicker, but it doesn’t. The oak tree doesn’t grow tall in a year and neither does a ministry. However, just as you see tiny shoots in a garden before you enjoy the fruit of it, so goes the ministry! God allows us to see glimpses of the tiny shoots of a strong ministry springing forth from His foundation. This keeps us going! It often grows in ways that only God can see, but I’m so thankful He lets us have a peek at the results now and then.
Two years isn’t much, but we’ve seen God do great things in just two years. I pray for God’s strength to serve many more years in His work here at Grace. I hope the Lord allows me to be here to see the mighty oak that His church can become.
Happily in His service,