I had a plan at an early age.
I wanted to become a preacher's wife; to be just like our preacher's wife, Ms. Nelda, whose face was kind. Her husband was well-spoken and always jolly. He seemed like an angel to me as he stood in the baptismal waters on special Sundays with light from heaven (it seemed) shining on him and the one he plunged into the waters.
They lived in the holiest spot in town, in a gingerbread-looking rock house right across from the church. They were lucky enough to have a constant stream of friends, including myself, who would cross the street after church inviting themselves into the rust chain-link fenced yard to play with Nathan and Lisa, their children, and their blind dog Frisca.
I wanted to marry a pastor.
I met my husband Jason in high school. He was a class clown who watched Bart Simpson. His career plan was to make millions. And he was Methodist! I didn't foresee him becoming a pastor. Still strangely, I knew almost instantly he was "the one".
Five years after we were married, while Jason was working at New York Life and starting on his millions, he walked through the front door one day and announced he was being called to the ministry.
We've never looked back since that day, but admittedly, we've looked "up" a lot.
It's a beautiful journey we're on, but in my childhood dream, I'd somehow failed to realize my part would require things I'm not all about, like speaking or praying in front of groups of people.
I forgot the part where I might be called to live far away from my parents and siblings. I missed somehow the knowledge that preachers are always on call; I'd have to be good at sharing. I don't like conflict. Unfortunately, it finds itself within the church from time to time.
Did Ms. Nelda go to every meeting? Did she fret the times she disappointed church members? How did she handle when people used a vast amount of time complaining to her husband? Were her feelings terribly hurt when they fussed about her husband?
I dreamed of being a pastor's wife not knowing I would be confronted with all manners of trials that fly in the face of my anxious, overly sensitive nature. Yet, our difficulties remind us of our constant need for a Savior. Our trials and inadequacies keep us in prayer.
"Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God." 2 Corinthians 3:5
He gives us courage to do those things that have us shrinking in terror; like approaching the room to hold the hand of a dear church member who is in her last hours, praying when words don't come easy.
He provides us with Christian brothers and sisters who love us as their own when we are called to live hundreds of miles from our family. He leads us through times of conflict with brothers and sisters; an ever-present help in times of trouble.
There are days, and even seasons, when ministry isn't easy. But in our failings and through each difficult situation, God is good. He bids us come close under the shelter of his wings. His faithfulness [is our] shield and rampart. (Psalm 91:4)
Filled by His grace to overflowing, we have much to offer the family and community we've been made a part of.
Kristi Burden has been married for twenty years to her high school sweetheart. She's a pastor's wife who can't play the piano or sing, but she sure loves Jesus. She has three children who bring her great joy and improve her prayer life as the years go by. She enjoys blogging at www.godsgirlies.com. She lives in Nederland, TX.