When #ministrywifelife means being left behind
The week after I had my second baby Denver left for two weeks to lead worship at a summer camp. I remember looking into his eyes as he left me alone with a newborn and a ravenous 2 year old. He said, “Are you sure you’re going to be okay?” I bravely shook my head “yes”, shut the door, and cried.
I was in the middle of all the postpartum feels, and approaching the summer season as a ministry wife with a brand new teeny-tiny baby. It was all too much. If I remember correctly, I called in the troops, and my mother-in-law ended up driving down to pick up our oldest son to spend a few days with her, so I could spend a few quality days with baby Zadie.
In Denver’s defense, this camp was booked out long before we knew we were going to have a baby, and Zadie was nearly two weeks late. Originally we thought she would be a month old before summer season rolled around, but because of her extended time inside the womb she was only a few weeks old.
I eventually grew to like summer seasons in ministry. Denver traveled 4-6 weeks of the summer and the kids and I would find a slower rhythm. I would get caught up on projects and my kids would grow accustomed to dinners where grilled cheese and spaghetti were on a heavy rotation.
It didn’t start out this way. It was a slow process of the Lord refining my own heart.
When being left behind is hard
Being left behind is never fun. Before we had kids, I was always right by Denver’s side at every ministry event. We were a team. After the kids came along, my job was keeping the home base afloat while Denver traveled, mostly doing worship.
I am not going to pretend that every night apart was hunky-dory because in reality it was far from it. Jealousy seeped into my thoughts in quickly. I began to compare the amazing stuff that Denver was able to do and to see to my boring monotonous life. He was getting to witness lives changing and the spirit moving, while I was wiping poopy bottoms and cleaning up baby vomit. I allowed the enemy to turn my spirit inside out.
Denver would come home rested and filled, while I had poured out every ounce of energy I had just to make it to bed time.
Prayer turned my own heart around
The enemy wants to use our separation as leverage. His entire scheme is to destroy our marriage and our ministry. Of course, during these times of rich harvest, the enemy strikes the most vulnerable places, our homes and our hearts. This is exactly what he wants.
In the beginning, the enemy had a tight grip on my heart. The feeling of being “left behind” grew so deep that resentment soon sat in. I couldn’t shake it. So, I began to pray.
As soon as a bitter thought, or a desperate feeling swept over me, I would replace it with a prayer. My prayers started with logistics; the camp, event, staff, planning. Then, I prayed for Denver, and (gasp!) I even prayed for myself. I caught myself marking down when the services were on my calendar so I could pray for the Holy Spirit to move. More and more things to pray for kept popping into my mind, the suddenly the thoughts of being alone soon dissipated.
My share in the victory
Last week I was reading in 2 Samuel and I came across this passage.
1 Samuel 30:24- The share of the one who goes into battle is the same as the share of the one who remains with the supplies.
400 of David’s troops had just come back from a gut wrenching battle with loads of plunder. 200 men stayed behind with the women and children. Initially they said they were too exhausted to fight, so David allowed them to stay back. Upon the return of the troops, the 200 men, who stayed behind, were ready to celebrate and divide the plunder. The troops grumbled and said that the plunder was not to be shared.
David interjected. He said that it was the Lord who brought victory to his people, no only the valiant effort of the men. Because of that, the victory is to be shared with everyone.
As I read the passage, I thought about all the spiritual victories my husband has had the privilege to witness on the front lines– and then the Lord gently said, “those victories are yours to celebrate also, Heather”.
Staying back with the “supplies” isn’t fun, especially for the few of us who love being on the front lines ourselves. But the share in the victory is the same, because ultimately it’s the Lord’s victory.
If you find yourself indulging the bitterness that Satan so easily tempts us with, replace it with prayer. This the the only answer I have. It’s hard. Especially in the long summer days of motherhood.
“Ministry wife life” is something that has been on my heart to write about for a long hard time. I feel that sometimes this road is lonely, especially when life gets tough. (Which is inevitable, btw.) I have committed to write a weekly installment titled “Ministry Wife Life” on different topical subjects, some of which I have struggled with while assuming my role as a “ministry wife”. They are in no particular order. The goal of each post is to draw back the veil of the title of “ministry wife” and examine the heart behind what we do. What the Bible says and what American church culture requires can sometimes contradict… simply because we are humans and we are fallible. Join me each Monday for a new post.