A few days ago, Corey preached from the book of Esther. He commissioned women to step into the leadership roles God has called us toward, and he challenged men to start calling up the women in their lives. As he spoke and shared a bit if our own story, I remembered something I wrote about three years ago. I was struggling to discover the kind of wife, mother, and leader I am. I was struggling to discern my gifts and who God made me to be. This journal entry is a bit of my processing.
I dug this out of the archives to share with you. I hope it gives a little insight to my growth process, and maybe meets you where you’re at as you’re discovering your own leadership and giftedness.
Here is an excerpt from my journal in May 2016:
I came to a very freeing realization today:
I get to make decisions.
Let’s take a step back for a minute.
Last week, Corey and I were making the 10+ hour journey from South Carolina back home to Canton, Ohio. We’re in the process of starting a church, and as a mom of 2 kids under 2 years old, I’m struggling to figure out my role. I’ve got my hands full with our little crazies and I’ve also recently taken over the cheerleading program at our local university.
I’m learning quickly in this process that I’m not the typical pastor’s wife. It seems that everyone has their own idea of what a pastor’s wife does and I don’t fit that mold in the slightest. I’ll summarize by saying that I can’t sing to save my life so I’m definitely not joining the worship team, my patience is stretched as far as it can go so I’ve got no business running the children’s program, youth ministry is far from my specialty, and since it takes 2 hours to get the kids out the door, there’s no way I’m making it early enough on Sunday’s to be any help in the area of hospitality. I’m also an introvert, so my idea of greeting is kindly letting people walk past without bothering them. My personality can be summarized into this one scenario: at a church planter’s conference a couple weeks ago, I told Corey what breakout session I was going to and he warned me that I would probably be the only woman there. My response was, “No, I’ll have the baby with me. We’ll be fine.”
So, on this long drive home, I decided to just ask Corey the question that’s been plaguing me: “What’s my role?” Much to my dismay, he responded with another question, “What do you want it to be?”
I’m a mother of 2 under 2 and a pastor’s wife. The only questions about my personal preferences I’ve been asked in the last 2 years are “do you want an epidural?” and “do you want fries with that?” Outside of those questions, it seems like everywhere I look there’s someone telling me all the things I’m doing wrong as a mother or people telling me what I should be doing for the church. At this point, I’m just trying to keep up with who I’m supposed to be to whom on what day of the week and make sure all the bills are paid and mouths are fed in the process. Who does this man think he is, asking me to make a decision for myself about what I want?!
I genuinely have forgotten that I can make decisions centering around what’s right for me.
Before I continue: don’t hear what I’m not saying. I love my husband and our little girls more than anything else on this earth. I absolutely adore them with every fiber of my being. I also believe in my husband’s leadership and vision for spreading the Gospel and seeing unity in diversity in a very divided world. I’m 100% on board with this.
But, that’s where the problem resides. When you love something so much you’re willing to die for it, it’s easy to lose sight of who you are in the process of caring for it. Whether the “it” be your children or your church, when the “whatever-it-takes” mentality takes over and you start functioning in survival mode, the tendency is to forget what’s best and just do what works.
I’ve been forsaking what’s best for what works.
What works is for me to do things myself at home and fill in the gaps for the church, but what’s best is for me to include my husband in the day-to-day at home and to take on the roles at the church that only I can do and allow others to do the rest. What works is letting many people weigh in on decisions, but what’s best is a decision based on prayer not people. What works is fulfilling the roles I think I should, but what’s best is being the person God created me to be and trusting God to fill the gaps.
So what now?
I’m not entirely sure. I’m guessing that finding the answer to the question “what do you want?” will be a life-long process. But, here’s what I do know: my first commitment is going to be no longer forsaking what’s best for what works.