Sunday, June 14, 2015
I May Not Be A Shadow, But I'm Not A Mirror Either!
Many of you know that I have never felt like I fit in the Pastor's wife mold and I have had open rebellion when someone has tried to force me into it. And although I don't see this role that I play as a "position" in the church, I do assume a certain position in the hierarchy of my family and since my husband happens to be a Pastor, I am called the Pastor's wife.
Most of what I do in the church revolves around one of two things, my spiritual gifts or my God given call of helpmate to my husband. My desire has always been to serve the Lord, my husband, my family, and my church family. It has nothing to do with my "position". I rather choose to serve in quiet service and quite frankly I don't give a rip if everyone in the church is happy with me or not. It's not that I don't care, it's just that I have learned that if I tried to fulfill everyone's expectations of what a Pastor's wife should be, I'd be like a dog at the circus jumping through fiery hoops. I don't like fire or hoops and a little bit of circus goes a long, long way!
When we left our denomination, or rather, when they left us, we became affiliated with a Pentecostal group that was similar to what had left us. In order to be ordained, we had to fly to sunny southern California to attend the ordination service. When the minister who was praying for people came to us, he stopped and prophesied over my husband first, and then me. As he spoke, he said some things that really resonated with me and some things that I didn't, at that time understand. After the service, we were given a copy of the prophesies to take home with us. I tucked mine in my Bible for further consideration and prayer.
We are not to spurn personal prophecies or immediately accept them as gospel truth either. Let's face it, there are a lot of false prophesy nuts out there and we must be careful. I've been too often on the end of a wrong prophecy, and thanks be to God, He has always helped me to discern. We are warned in scripture in 1 Thes 5 "Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil" and in 1 Jn 4:1 "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world."
This particular organization was very pro-woman. They believed that women had total equality with men, both in position and function within the Body of Christ. I agree that we are equal in position, in Christ, but it should be obvious to anyone with two eyes that we are created a little bit different then men, so we are different in function. I have no desire to be a man. I want to embrace the grand, beautiful design of womanhood. And if that womanhood means that I am third on the total pole of functionality in the church, Praise God! I would never want to serve outside of God's design for me as a woman because let me tell you ladies, we do not want to try to do spiritual work without the right equipment! It's always a disaster!
Because of this, they also believed that when a man was called to ministry, his wife was called as well. You see this idea still in many churches. The wife preaches and teaches as much as her husband. I'm not against this IF the wife is actually called to these things, but to assume that the wife automatically inherits her husbands gifts and callings doesn't make sense, in fact, I think it is demeaning to women.
The thing that he said to me in the prophecy was "you are not just a shadow of your husband." This was to encourage me to be a minister as well. Funny, I thought I was already doing that. I had at that point in my life, discipled many young women who were all over the world in missions and ministry or being a helpmate to their minister husbands. I was teaching Sunday school and leading the worship team. I was never one to like standing up in front of a group and doing anything, but I thrived in leading in a small group setting. I was raising 3 children in the fear and admonition of the Lord and was about to add one more to that mix. I was taking good care of my husband and "filling in the cracks" at church to make sure that everything was running smoothly. I wondered, was this just to "tide me over" until I married the man who would dictate my giftings? Certainly not!
Through the years I'd had the "one flesh" verse thrown in my face as they tried to ordain me every year as a minister of their organization. I told them over and over again they could ordain me all they wanted but I was not paying the fee nor would I ever use my ID card to assert myself as in some "position". (Actually I did use it one time when the hospital didn't believe I was a Pastor's wife when trying to get into the emergency room to see an injured church member, but that was merely an act of desperation!) The organization couldn't argue with me using scripture, so they used book excerpts to try to convince me that essentially my gifts before ordination were now expired and now I should operate in the same gifts as my husband. I insisted on scripture but they could provide nothing but the one flesh verse, which essentially, in the context that they used it in would make the sinner spouse of an ordained minister with their organization gifted to preach and teach as well. I could shoot that one down pretty quickly and they could never provide me any other scriptures to support their pleas. I'm stubborn like that. Eventually they quit calling.
I always thought that whole train of thought actually defeated their attempts to validate and elevate women. Essentially it said that women were not complete in their gifts until married to a minister or ordained themselves. I don't believe that the gifts that God had given me as young woman were just "temporary-get-by gifts" until I could step into whatever calling my husband had! I am complete, married or not! I am gifted by God, married or not! I have a place and a purpose and worth in the Kingdom with or without a spouse.
And even though I agree it wouldn't have been good for me to be a shadow, it would have been equally bad for me to be a mirror, which is what this organization seemed to be advocating. I am called to mirror Christ in whatever gifts and callings HE has given me. Those operated in me before my husband even thought about the ministry, while he prepared for ministry and after he entered the ministry. How they manifested in my life might have been different depending on the situation and need, but they remained unchanged and without repentance, as scripture says. I've never bent to the pressure that is put on Pastor's wives to be anything but Godly, as God has called us all to be.
I encourage you today to find the gifts that God has given you and run with them! You are not the second part of a two for one deal. If you are called to preach, preach. If you are called to teach, teach. If you one of the "unseemly gifts", do that with all your might. Don't allow the perceptions of what others think a Pastor's wife to be squeeze you into a mold that was never meant to be yours! I will tell you that it won't feel comfortable and eventually parts of you will pop out due to the shear pressure of the molded life. God created you the way He did with the full knowledge of why He needed you to be that way. It's how He will use you! Let God mold you around that gifts He has given you and you will be able to minister in power, authority and with great success. Don't worry. People will eventually get over the fact that you are not anything like what they expect you to be and will grow to accept and be thankful that you are who you are.