Still filtering and processing through all the great things I learned at the Armed & Dangerous Retreat and think I’m ready to share some more. One of the lessons I’ve been putting into practice very often in the recent months was learned not during one of the sessions but actually over breakfast one morning. A group of us PW’s were sitting together at the continental breakfast in our hotel lobby. One of the ladies was sharing a struggle she was facing in her church. We were all listening sympathetically and giving words of encouragement, but none of us seemed to want to be the first to give any solid advice. (Sometimes we as PW’s are given so much “advice” that we understand that it is often guilt-inducing, stressful, or even hurtful.) One of the ladies who had been rather quiet and reserved up to this point spoke up and began to speak true, godly wisdom into the situation. She said, “Don’t let yourself be a stranger in your own home! God has called you to that church. He has given those people to you as your own children to lead and care for. It is your responsibility to own your calling and lead without reservation. Don’t let others who might not acknowledge your leadership make you feel like a stranger in the church God has placed you in!”
Wow. How often have I felt like a stranger in my own church? Last year when so many people were grumbling about our family, spreading rumors & trying to stir the pot enough to get us voted out, I dreaded going to church. I felt like no one wanted me there. I avoided all the special events & dinners. I kept to myself during services. When I was at church I felt like I was in the way, unwanted, ignored, useless. I felt like a stranger who didn’t belong. Even this past year after the blow-up, when most of the trouble-makers are gone and the turmoil has settled down, I found myself still feeling like a stranger at church. Does anyone really know me? Do I really have anything to offer? Who am I to lead or offer advice or make corrections? This is their church. I haven’t grown up here. I haven’t been here as long as most of them. I’m younger than many of them. I don’t hold any official position of authority. I found myself shrinking back. Not wanting to take leadership. Not realizing that God has placed me in a leadership position simply by making me the Pastor’s Wife!
Therefore, I’m doing things differently now. I lead when God calls me to lead and I let others lead when God calls them. I speak the truth and give godly advice when people ask for it. I offer help & guidance when it is needed. And I make no apologies for the spiritual leadership role I’m stepping into. God has placed me here. These are my “kids” and it’s my job to love them and lead them into being the people God created them to be. If someone doesn’t want me at the church or if my presence makes them uncomfortable that is their problem. God has placed me here in this place at this time for a specific purpose. God has called me to be who I am where I am and no one can take that calling away from me except God Himself. That gives me the freedom and courage to be bold in proclaiming His Truth, leading His people, and being the person He made me to be! I love that feeling!
I think the people of my church and community like the new me. They have actually started calling and asking for advice about different situations they are in and have asked me to tell them what the Bible says about different issues. There are still a few who resent my husband’s and my presence in “their” church but I continue to hold my head up high, force myself into their view & claim that ground for Christ. After all, it is His church…the home He has placed me in…and I will not be a stranger in my own home!
(PS…the PW giving this wonderful advice was my sweet new friend, Eleana Garza! A beautiful and soft-spoken young lady of God who knows how to be both loving and bold and is definitely gifted with wisdom from above! Thanks for sharing, Eleana!)