Keepin' It Real


I had been a Christian for only a couple of years when I met my husband. I was a new Christian, young and ridiculously on-fire for the Lord. He was young and solid and headed to seminary. Boom! Fireworks! Perfect match. We got married after college. I would love to tell you that it was happily-ever-after and nothing but mountain-top experiences full of ministry and love, but in this post, we are keepin' it real.

Life has been hard. Ministry has been hard. But we have learned, and grown, and found joy and purpose in the midst of the realities of life.

I hope you are blessed and free from struggles. But if you're having a real kind of day (or month or year), here's some encouragement.

You are not alone.

There are many ministers' wives in this great state of Texas and we feel the way you do. We love God, we want to make a difference, but there are many times when we feel inadequate, scared or hurt. Never believe the lie the enemy tells: that you are alone – everyone else has it together and never feels insecure. Because we do! We all do. Yet, God uses us, not in spite of our weaknesses, but because of them!

For consider your calling … that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong. (1 Corinthians 1:26-27, NIV)

You are loved.

More than you can comprehend. I want to scream this message from the mountaintops! He loves you! He is passionate for you! He is crazy about you! He rejoices over you with singing! He does not condemn you! He does not criticize you! You are precious to him! He thinks about you all the time!

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17, ESV)

With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ's being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2, MSG)

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault … (James 1:5, NIV)

Never doubt it, friends. Yes, the expectations of pastors' wives are high. Yes, we fail. We let people down, we miss opportunities, snap peoples' heads off, fuss at our kids, lose our tempers and sometimes worse. But he LOVES. Always. Everyday. Every second. No matter what and forever. Rest in that. Revel in that. Dwell in that. It will change your life and carry you through every possible experience.

You are beautiful.

Yes, you are! So beautiful. And so perfectly made. He made you exactly the way he wanted you to be to do the job He called you to do. He knit you together in the womb. He is intimately acquainted with you because He is the creator of you. Please, for the love of all things precious, be yourself! Do what you feel called to do and not what you think is expected of you. Because you are cheating yourself and others out of the joy of the you-ness of you.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:13-16)

He is more than you will ever need and my prayer is that every ministers' wife who reads this will feel the love. Never give up. He is faithful.

Sissie Donnell is the wife of Dr. Jeff Donnell, pastor of Lakeside Baptist Church, in Dallas. The Donnell's have been married for 22 years and are the parents of 12 year-old triplets, John, Will and Kate. Sissie works part-time at Empower-One, a missions organization that does work in South Sudan, Africa. Her hobbies include cooking, gardening and reading.
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