Melanie and I have had a great week away from local work this week - but not away from God's Work. We spent the week with our sons and daughter-in-laws and LUCAS! It was awesome in every way. I am deeply in love with these six people. They are the souls of my greatest concern. This week Mel and I celebrated 30 years of marriage. It was so very special to do so with our kids. And Lucas, where to start. He's at that awesome time of walking and beginning to babble - he has this smile that lights up our world and a laugh that is infectious and I could enjoy all day. He's happy and healthy and just as wonderful as can be. Our Laura wrote this back at the first of last year and gave me permission to publish it here - I've waited to the right time and after this week, it seems right. I am proud of her and all of our kids.
by Laura Manning Jenkins on Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at 8:47pm
Being a minister's wife is hard for soooo many reasons. I remember my mother-in-law saying this after I had Lucas: "I had to decide what I did because I was a Christian and what I did because I was a minister's wife." That statement stuck with me. I have thought about it over and over. So....
What's your ministry? Over the past 7 months this question has reigned over and over in my head. What's my ministry? My ministry used to be very clear. After all, I married a youth minister! My ministry didn't only encompass youth, but youth (specifically our youth group) was the biggest part of my ministry.
As we first started into ministry it felt like a heavy burden. We were ALWAYS on the go. Life seemed to only get faster and faster. I worked two jobs. I was a social worker and a youth minister (although no one would dare call me that:). There were summer days that I would be so tired from a long drive and trying to help my clients that I did not think I could possibly go on and do youth activities that night. However, I LOVED those kids and would have done anything for them. I also love my husband and wanted to spend time him. So I went.
Our first years in ministry literally made me sick. I needed to rest. I needed to take care of myself. I didn't.
Then we moved. I thought that moving to a small town would slow things down. I was wrong. Life only got faster. I went back to school, started an internship, and (again) became a youth minister (alongside my husband). I fell in love with another church, another youth group, and another church family.
Life was good. Life was hard. Things happened. New oppurtunities arose. We moved again.
This move meant a lot of things. It meant being back with family. It meant being back "home." It meant time to have children. It meant a new job, a new ministry, and a new church family. At the time I had no idea what these things really meant.
This time life spun into a totally different direction. And while I have never known more joy, love, and happiness, I have also never been more confused, more lonely, or more tired. See, while my ministry is still a youth group, my husband, and my counseling, my biggest ministry is now a precious (almost) 7 month old.
This has definitly been the hardest ministry yet. The biggest responsibility yet. I have never loved a ministry so much, nor been so afraid of it. I see day after day children who are not faithful. Children who do not feel loved. Children whose parents have messed up...messed up big. I don't want to be that parent.
But here's the truth. I will mess up. I will need forgiveness. There is no tougher ministry than being a parent. I respect good parenting more than I ever have. I respect the parents who actually parent. I respect the parents that have faithful children.
So in saying all of that, ministry has changed a lot for me. I have had to back out of a lot of youth activities. I have had to change my entire life and the way I did things.
It's been hard. It's been wonderful. It's been tiring. It's been challenging. And at the end of the day...my cup still runneth over. Lucas will always know he is loved and that we walk in the light. He will know our God. He will know goodness, peace, love, mercy, and grace. He will see Christ through us.That is our ministry, because no amount of ministry outside the house makes up for failure at home.
"We MUST learn to live in the Spirit. He has given us exactly what we need to keep us from being mired down with guilt, agitiation, and distance from Him. He is providing us full supply for every circumstanvce, even the hardest, most unexpected ones. He knows, for example, you can't be the mom those kids really need in your own strength, with your own baggage, fulfulling all other obligations that are on you. That's why God has given His Spirit to you--to help you be what you cannot. You are not alone. God's Spirit is with you." -Life interrupted, Navigating the Unexpected by Priscilla Shirer.