Husband: “What if I feel like God is calling us to plant a church?”
Wife: Stares into space, pretending not to hear.
Just over a year prior to this “conversation,” we had picked up and moved ourselves and our 3-year-old and 2-year-old from Texas to Georgia, which was basically a completely different planet for this native Texan.
The ministry opportunity, to which God had undoubtedly called us, took a different turn than we were expecting.
Also in the midst of this Georgia year, we had given birth to our third son who had just been discharged from an eight-week hospital nightmare. He endured and survived the first of three open-heart surgeries—among several other procedures—and was looking at another heart surgery three short months from that point.
My emotions were stripped raw, if there were even any left. I was doing good to brush my teeth most days. Asking me to consider a life, and basically a career change of sorts, was not really something I foresaw God laying in my (our) lap.
After catching my breath, I let my patient husband explain what God had placed on his heart several months before. I let him share the months of urgency he had felt towards this, leading up to this point. I let him explain that he wanted to step forward with the beginning steps of this church planting vision in hopes that God would keep opening doors, but in case He also decided to close them.
I said, “I want no part of this,” as any good pastor’s wife would do to support her husband. But if I’m honest, I’ve always been a little bit of a Jonah in any step that my husband, guided by the Lord, has presented in our 12 years of partnership in ministry. This was our third church, but fifth ministry change. With each of those, I’ve always taken the “ye of little faith” route at the start.
Like most of the world, I don’t like change. I always have the same mental vision of a stubborn donkey (me) being pulled by its owner (God) to the “its” life-giving water supply.
It always takes a few months of God chipping away at my selfish desires to keep things status quo—to keep my same friends, my same church family, my same house, my same grocery store, my comfortable life. He uses my husband to gently present the idea, and then the Holy Spirit and life circumstances to push me over the edge and align my heart with my husband’s until it becomes a reality.
Fast forward eight months later: we are back in Texas, meeting weekly in a neighborhood clubhouse with our core group, and planning to launch a church in the fall. I have spent many days, some good and some hard, asking myself how on earth we got here.
The truth is, once I decided that God could actually be calling us to this and decided to join my husband in the vision God had placed on his heart (in spite of my own selfish desires), He opened one door after another while closing the doors of our time in Georgia abruptly.
Answering “yes” to this call became less about my resistance and more about seeing God make our path clear and using my husband to do so.
Marriage requires two kinds of faith. Faith in the God who brought you together, and faith in the man you married and his relationship with that God.
It’s only natural to drop the “submission” bomb (sorry, feminists) when talking about doing what God has called your husband to and then bringing you around later in the process; the reality is, that’s exactly what every ministry journey God has taken us on has required—my submission to a faithful God who is guiding the heart of my faithful husband.
He only upped the ante a couple hundred percent this time in calling us to church planting.