I used to be a “really great youth pastor’s wife.” Back about thirteen years ago or so, I was young, pretty (a point that can always be debatable and not so important, but prettier than now anyway), I had a pre-childbearing fit figure, I had a desire to do whatever I could to help 2nd man in his ministry and the Lord with teenagers, I loved teens and most of all I had time. Yes, that ever-elusive thing I’m always running out of these days. Time to hang out, time to stay up late, and time to talk, listen and pray with teen girls.
That stage really didn’t last so long after 2nd man and I got married. I worked as a teacher for a while and home matters became important to me. That’s when I moved into being a “pretty good youth pastor’s wife”. My list in the above paragraph started with some pretty vain and superficial things. That’s because teenagers, most of them, tend to weigh things heavily on the superficial. It was in this second stage that I started realizing myself, how vain and superficial these things were. I began growing more of a hunger for God as I matured personally and spiritually. However, I soon grew frustrated with the teens at this point. Wondering why they didn’t “get it.” I was frustrated at many of the decisions that they made and overall didn’t understand them. I had always thought I was given the gift of mercy. But it was at this point that I had begun dreaming up a book with the title “Losing Mercy.” It was like the mercy well ran dry.
After about three years of marriage, the 2nd man and I started having children. It was in this initial time period that I would qualify myself as simply “a youth pastors wife.” That’s about as far as I wanted to go with any kind of title. My children became my main focus at this time. The teens got on my nerves with their pettiness and I had no time for it in my mind or in reality. Not much sleep, a total loss of that previous “fit” figure and constant training consumed my life. I really didn’t see any hope of change or an end to this time period. Everywhere we went took longer. I had to juggle trying to get babies to sleep at camp without cramping anyone’s fun or style. I did try to make it a point at conferences and camps not to let my kids’ presence take away from the teens’ time. Looking back I get amazed at how many of the girls liked having little ones around. I never enjoyed little kids. Babysitting was one of my least favorite jobs as a teenager. I know it’s shallow, but I couldn’t stand other peoples’ little kids. Of course that changed when my own came along, but I never wanted to presume that the teens would be ok with my little kids, so I went to great pains to not let them get in the way of things, while also letting them enjoy some of the perks of getting to go to camps and conferences. Needless to say, trying to walk that tightrope wore me out. I would usually have a meltdown after each event.
It’s lately, as my kids are growing and (hopefully) I am too, that I feel like I’m growing back into a “good youth pastors wife”. Only, this time it is in a totally different way. Oh, I still get frustrated with the teens (don’t let me lead anyone astray in that area). We have some girls that place a person’s value fully on how they look. Others are so needy they’d wear out a listening dog. However, I feel that God has done a work in my heart with regards to extending mercy. I am able to find more time to meet with girls if needed and my own children are not as constant in the realm of training. We’ve now been in the ministry long enough to see some come through some really rough times and grow into Godly adults. That’s encouragement that supports my motto “They’re not who they’re going to be.” I still fail in my perspective sometimes, but on average, I’m able to enjoy the teens again. They’re vivacious and idealistic and so full of potential. Some of them are so much further in their walk with Christ than I was at their age. I can only imagine what great things God can do with them. Others…well…could care less.
2nd man just shared last night with the youth workers something that he heard recently that really spoke to me. He had been listening to another preacher who challenged ministers not to be “accusers of the brethren” before God. Constantly complaining about church members and trying to “sick” God on them, that’s Satan’s job. Ouch! I certainly don’t want to be doing the job of Satan! I’d rather be an intercessor for the brethren, especially our teens as they grow and learn. I’m so thankful for the mercy that is made new everyday to me…I sure do need it. I’d also like to extend that same mercy to others.
Maybe, some day, I’ll be a “great youth pastor’s wife” again. However, I think if I ever reach that stage again, it’s going to be in a much deeper, loving and spiritual way. Really, my only job is to be the best Christian I can be, serving, honoring, and glorifying my Lord. My prayer is that I would be as pleasing in his eyes as I possibly can be at whatever stage I am going through.