I reprinted and published a post at SBC VOICES today. And this is the "rest of the story" that I didn't include in that post regarding a confession of sorts as a pastor's wife.
As I wrote there, it made no sense. I'd been born-again all of 8 months. I sat in an auditorium in Ridgecrest, North Carolina listening to Bertha Smith challenge us all to pray for the Lord to bring forth laborers for His harvest. That tiny gray-haired lady charged us to pray that people hear and heed the call to missions, to ministry, to evangelism. She exhorted us with Isaiah's words: "Here am I, send me".
I prayed for others. I asked God to call men to ministry. Then I heard a voice say, "You." I'm hearing things. Bertha Smith must have said that.
But it wasn't her. Everyone was praying. I peeked. I resumed praying for God to call men to missions and ministry and evangelism. Again, I heard, "You." I questioned, "Is that You, God?" In my heart I heard what made no sense to my mind: the Lord is speaking to me. And it wasn't just about the everyday service I was already doing as a Christian. It wasn't about going to Sunday School, taking parts in WMU programs or Training Union. It wasn't serving in VBS recreation. No. And it wasn't simply visiting the sick with my preacher's wife and taking meals to homebound members. It wasn't attending this Ridgecrest conference on missions, either. God was calling me into full-time ministry. And it was ludicrous! I'm having an emotional high. I can't be in ministry without my husband!
I decided I had to be hearing what I wished were possible if I were good enough, smart enough, wise enough. If my husband was educated enough, experienced enough and bold enough. Otherwise, it made not one iota of sense to me. My husband was a precision gagemaker. He honed and polished metal gages the size of a human hair which measured spaces and sizes for hightech aircraft parts. He hadn't even been to college--much less seminary. Furthermore, our lifestyles prior to our recent faith in Jesus as Savior were so far the opposite of Christianity, it bordered on insanity to think we'd be fit to serve God in such a way. It was simply impossible.
Months and months lapsed before I shared my experience with anyone. Even though my minister's wife had become my best friend. When I finally shared it, she smiled, "Oh, but with God all things are possible. I've known for a long time that God has set Bob apart for something special." It still didn't make a lot of sense to me. When Bob first went to Sunday School, he was told to open to the book of John. He was totally disheartened. He had only purchased a Bible. He didn't know he needed another book. That is how little understanding my dear hubby had of all things Christian. He had no traditions nor theology from which to draw upon. He'd been baptized Catholic because his paternal grandmother was Catholic. He'd never gone to church at all.
I, on the other hand, had gone to church all during my childhood. Even though I stopped when I became a teenager, I did know that the Bible had multiple books inside it---John being one of them. My knowledge of what they all instructed was another story entirely.
However, from the moment I heard the Voice say, "You", I buried myself in Bible studies, and books by Oswald Chambers, Watchman Nee, Manley Beasley, and Clyde Francisco. I devoured books by missionaries. And I waited. I waited on God to change me and work in both our lives. I became restless and impatient. I wanted to see God move faster. I questioned the validity of that Voice. God kept working on me, sanding down the edges, humbling me. Cleansing me, establishing my walk. He put unlovely people in my path who I learned to love without condition. He placed burdens upon our family which added strength to my faith. He placed mountains and walls and seas beyond my control to bring me to Him for His sufficiency. He repeatedly showed me everyday mini-miracles and manifested Himself in ways I found difficult to explain. But my husband was still a gage-maker. He did not have any desire to go to college. We had children and he was the sole supporter of our family.
I finally concluded that the call had not been real at all. We were extremely happy serving Christ, teaching, leading and following wherever He led us in our lives in East Hartford, Connecticut. My husband was an ordained deacon working a Deacon's Family Ministry plan. We were co-directors of Children's Worship. I was speaking throughout New England with WMU. We were part of lay-led revivals in various churches. I actually gave up the thought of full-time ministry. Then unbelievable things began happening to us. Too many to share in one post.
Three years after I'd heard Bertha Smith's challenge, my husband surrendered to the call of God to go to Boyce Bible School in Louisville, Kentucky. He was scared to death. The intimidation and fear of studying books, writing papers, and passing tests were only surpassed by the terror he held at the thought of standing in front of people to speak any words worthy of a pure and Holy God. Suffice it to say, my quiet husband's entire month's worth of conversational communication could be written double-spaced on two sheets of paper. He just didn't talk that much. He still doesn't. Yet, when he does, it's worth listening to.
Our lives are pretty much a miracle when we look back on them. I know that I saw a miracle every time I listened to my husband preach. And in my estimation, there'll never be a better pastor to the children of God. But then again, I'm prejudiced.
And that, my friends it the rest of the story minus a gazillion blessings and great experiences as a pastor's wife. selahV