Ordination Service: A Wife’s Perspective

A Wife's Perspective
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.

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The concept of Christian Rest grows as you age

Sunday Thought: Rest

The concept of Christian Rest grows as you age

Rest is a concept that grows with you as you grow. I’ve been interacting with the idea of rest since I was a very young believer, you know, Sunday. The day of rest. But as a kid, rest is nap time. As a teen, rest is not something you ever want to do. Rest? Boring. You want to be living, moving, on adventures, hanging out with friends. Go. There’s life to be lived. Rest is for old people.

There is some truth to that, but what I didn’t grasp when I was young was just how hard life can get. I didn’t know how heavy ordinary, everyday things could be.

As an adult, we have never ending responsibilities. Some of them are pretty small…is there gas in the car? Navy shoes or black shoes? Some of them feel huge: taxes, children, big money choices. When we’re not making those decisions, we’re dealing with the consequences, good or bad, of decisions we made in the past. Some are small consequences…pizza yesterday means salad today. Some are huge consequences: go back to school, switch jobs, have kids. All these things, good and bad, weigh on us. They all do. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. It’s easy to want to curl up on the couch and just vegetate.

On top of all the responsibility, comes the constant frustration of our work never going perfectly.  We try to feed and clothe our families and we can’t even get the laundry folded on the same day…or days. We cook a meal and it doesn’t come out like we want it. Money doesn’t come in or go out like we plan. Cars break down…generally when we need them to work most. People get sick, and stay sick. The To Do list never ends. Something that should be simple turns into something complicated. Nothing is ever perfect.

Even as an artist, things aren’t perfect. I pour my soul into my work and it never comes out like I want it to, or people don’t get it. Decorating our homes: all the measuring in the world and things still come out imperfect. Plant a garden: half the plants die and the other half get eaten, or burnt up by the sun. All the good intentions in the world coupled with diligent work can’t make things turn out right.

Imperfection haunts our every move. And this is just every day, ordinary imperfection. This doesn’t even cover all the ways our own sins destroy our lives. Our selfishness, coldness, anger, and bitterness hurt our families, our churches, and our neighbors.

Rest.

Oh how we long for rest. We dream of nights not haunted with worry. We dream of days not spoiled by things again not functioning. We dream of perfect work.

As a Christian going through sanctification, rest becomes more and more dear. God graciously and gently weans us from this world and all the frustrations in it. As we age, these frustrations stack one on top of the other. We never have a day where we can face our reflection content that we have done our best. We didn’t. We were lazy. We can’t say we finished all our tasks, there is always something we didn’t get to. We can’t face ourselves and say, “Soul, this was a perfect day, rest now.” That kind of compete rest only comes in the Lord, and ultimately comes only in heaven.

As a kid, rest sounded boring. As an aging adult, it is one of the few things I can hold onto that gets me through a day. And Sundays? Our day of rest? They’re sweet beyond sweet. When I walk through the doors of the church building I think “Someday, someday this will be my every day. Someday the work will be perfectly and happily done. The ordinary, oh-so-many-papers, work will be done. I’ll love those around me without any sin, and be loved without sin in my turn. I’ll be at rest. Rest. Oh blessed thought.”

True rest never comes in this life. It only comes with Christ.

The older I get the more I long for the Lord’s Day. Each week, I long to gather with the saints to hear the preaching of the word. I long to step aside, for one day, from the world and all its chains. The day comes and it isn’t perfect. You have donkeys in the ditch. You have sickness. You have sin. But this earthly day of rest points to the heavenly rest. It points to the day I’ll join Christ, and the saints that have gone before, and really rest.

Rest doesn’t mean an eternal game of golf, it means perfection in work and recreation.

Think of that: perfection!

I will no longer end my day with regrets, wishing I had done this instead of that, wishing I’d loved my husband more and myself less, wishing I’d just rested more or rested less. Someday, I’ll be without sin.

That is true rest. True rest is really living, really living without sin, really living with Christ.

So, younger saints, know that the Lord will lead you down this path too. You will have the weight of the world slowly bend you over, even in this easy life we live as Americans in the 21st century. Start working now to have your soul ready: be in church every time the doors are open. That is the only way to make it through this thing called life with any grace.

Older saints, cling to our hope, our hope which will be fulfilled. We will see Christ. We will gather together in Heaven and perfectly rest for eternity. We will perfectly work for eternity. We will perfectly love for eternity. This life is a battle ground, but the war is already won. It’s already done. These are just the final fights. Cling to Christ. Cling to his promises. Our mighty Capitan has already gone before us. We have only to follow, and He will see us safely across the dark waters to eternal rest. Such a sweet thought.