Growing comfortable being a Sunday widow, I watched you walk to the front of the room just like I had countless times before. But, this time it was different. You left my side, stalk up in your heavy way of walking that has earned you the nickname Strider, and stood beside Pastor Jarrett. Steve Martin, Steve Garrick, and my father (looking a bit Balin-ish) joined you. Jarrett said a few words and then one by one they laid their hands on you and started to pray.
I started crying. I hadn’t planned on crying today. I didn’t expect to cry. Tear up? Yes. Weep? Nope. I couldn’t hold back. I couldn’t stop. Tears streamed down my face. Emily Shiflet, who drove up from Houston to witness this great event, put her arm around me. I wept.
But, these were not sad tears. These weren’t happy tears. They were mingled tears.
There was more joy in this situation than I can ever express. I have had a front row seat in my husband’s life. I have seen his great sin, his many faults, and the great grace he has been shown. I have known him when our marriage was falling apart, and when we were putting it back together. I have walked at his side when he was asked to teach, and when he kept teaching despite the long hours of study it took, despite the cut in pay it took, despite the lack of any sort of consistent day off it required, despite the hours I never saw him. I have prayed for him and with him. I have studied him both as my husband, and as a fellow church member to see if he was qualified.
It has been my husband’s dream to be a pastor since he was a kid. And here we are. It hasn’t been an easy road. It’s been a road filled with sin, pride, the work of sanctification, patience from others, self-sacrifice, self-doubt, sleepless nights, long conversations, encouragement, critiques, and grace upon grace upon grace.
I wept tears of joy to see my husband get to step into the role he’s always dreamed of filling. I wept tears of joy because God worked it all out in his timing, which was so much better than ours. I wept tears of joy because God promised to gift his churches with pastors and teachers, and today he kept that promise yet again. He’d raised up a young man to continue to shepherd our church. And, I wept cause just a month ago, I don’t think my Dad would have been able to be there. To see him standing there, gripping my husband’s shoulder, was joy upon joy. I wept tears of thankfulness.
But, there was a tinge of sadness to those tears. While my husband took the role of pastor on his shoulders, while the older men prayed around him, while the church watched and prayed, I had a deep sense of missing two men. I deeply, heart-achingly, trustingly missed my extra Dad. Price was being ordained and Vidal was no longer with us. Oh, how thrilled and proud he would have been to see his son called as a pastor of our church. To see Price standing there would have probably made Vidal cry, but it was a moment I know Vidal longed to see. The Lord, in all his kind wisdom, chose to take Vidal home before he got to see this great moment.
The other man I missed was Ron Baines. Ron took Price under his wing early on. They shared a great love of the Old Testament, and Ron pushed Price to go to seminary. Ron was one of Price’s greatest cheerleaders. Again, I wept because I knew Ron would have been thrilled. Ron would have been one of the men up there praying over this new pastor, but, the Lord, in all his kind wisdom, chose to take Ron home before he got to see great moment.
So, I cried and cried. Happy and sad tears, trusting tears overflowing with the grace of God, trusting his timing and providence, for he is God and knows all things, sees all things, and I’m but a weary creature.
There was such a huge amount of joy wrapped up in this moment. Getting to see my husband’s dream come true was one of the most fulfilling moments in my life. My love for him has only grown. I’m so proud of him, so thankful for him, so happy for him.
Our church has endured persecution of late. Price being ordained was encouraging. Christ proved through this that he was still with us, still tending us, still gifting us, still faithful to us. We weren’t cut off, we weren’t lost. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers, were still together. My Dad has been on sabbatical due to some, honestly, scary heath issues, and not only was he able to be there yesterday, but, Christ hasn’t left everything in Jarrett’s lap. Dad had to step back from his duties, but in God’s perfect timing and providence, Price was brought in. Price has been faithfully serving for five years and wasn’t a raw recruit. He wasn’t a greenie. God worked it out perfectly so that when Dad had to step back, Price came to the table with experience. It was an amazing thing to see the love of Christ for his bride.
So my husband is officially an elected elder of our church, and an ordained minister.
I’m tired, but happy. I’m filled with joy to stand beside this man through life, to every day, when I cook, clean, iron, pay bills, enter accounting info, water plants, vacuum, and manage all of life, to serve my pastor, and by serving him, I’m serving the church.
I believe every women who diligently keeps her home serves her church. I believe that with my whole heart. My service just because a little more tangible, that’s all.
Pray, dear sibling-saints, pray for your pastors. They bear a great burden. They have a great love for the flock. The sacrifice much of this world for the sake of the next. Pray for them. They defend us from the wolves within and without. Pray for them.