Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Attitude is key...

Deb: When Steve and I got engaged in the summer of 1988, I had little idea of what God had in store for us as a couple. Yet ours is a gracious God, who leads, directs, and even carries us when needed. Looking back over more than 20 years of marriage, I am able to see just how much He has taught me along the way.

One of the most important things I have come to realise is that having a sense of being caught up together in the call of God is vital to being partners in the mission God has given us together. Steve and I aren’t experts in this area – we owe much of what we have learned about this to the example of other ministry couples – Dave & Liz Holden, Terry & Wendy Virgo and John & Liz Lanferman come immediately to mind.

It is important to recognise that different couples operate in different ways, according to their own gifts and the call they have. Some ministry leaders’ wives have a very public ministry of their own; others take a more supportive role. There is no set rule for this – it has to be worked out couple by couple. But one thing that has become clear to me in recent years – and especially since we have been at Catford - is that my attitude to what God has called Steve to do is key.

When Steve first went into full-time ministry as a youth pastor, we had been married just a year and I was in full-time work with a demanding job. While I was supportive of what he was doing, my involvement was minimal! When I gave up work to be at home with our children, I had more time to be involved in church life and so that changed. But there were times when I would feel resentful of the time when Steve was away from home and there was a real sense in which I didn’t feel part of what Steve was doing and so not actively involved in his call.

A few months after we had arrived in Catford, God met me in a powerful way. While away together on a leaders’ weekend, I found myself deeply challenged about my attitude to Steve’s ministry, and felt the need to confess and repent of it. At that moment God showed me that He would give me grace to release Steve into what he was called to do. Over the next weeks I experienced a sense of freedom and strength which transformed my attitude.