Barry and I sat across from each other, eyes locked and holding hands. My throat was sore from trying to hold back my emotions. I knew things were going to change, I could just sense it deep in my heart. My mind wandered for a brief moment as I looked around the beautiful home we recently purchased. I had such big dreams for it…for us. I fought even harder to keep myself composed. I tried to focus on his big green eyes and perfect smile. There was such tenderness in his gaze and I knew he could sense my apprehension. In my mind I was putting the pieces together. Earlier that day he received an important phone call and disappeared to his study. I could hear the laughter and the contemplation in his voice as it echoed down the hallway.
As we sat there frozen, he broke the silence first. I knew what he was going to say to me, I could have said the words for him. But I wasn’t sure if I wanted to face the inevitable…not yet. After several years of marriage, I finally had him all to myself. Each night was ours and ours alone. Did I really want that to change? I made myself focus, I could hear his voice shake a little as he spoke. It was in that moment I knew, without a doubt, the winds of change were blowing. We were about to be swept away.
In various conversations and interactions I’ve had with minister’s wives I’ve heard them refer to the church as their husband’s mistress. They have joked that the church get’s more of their husband’s time than they do. Honestly, I have felt like that before, especially during the busy seasons of ministry. It’s difficult to not get jealous. The church requires time, energy, devotion, attention and love. At times it requires evenings and weekends, sleepless nights and financial support. The church can be high maintenance…but so can I.
In my search for other blogs that dive deep into this area of conversation I stumbled across this amazing statement on the website The Children of God. I don’t know this precious wife, nor have I researched her website or faith in depth. But what she wrote below spoke to my heart and prompted the writing of this blog. Here is what she said:
“The Church is not a mistress, she is the Holy Bride of Christ of which I am a part of. How then could a husband cheat on his wife with his wife? The times when the Church takes the most time from my husband are usually the times when the Church herself draws nearer to Christ.”
This powerful statement caught my attention and provoked my thoughts. I didn’t really want to ask myself the question looming in my spirit…but I had to. When it comes to the Church, the Bride of Christ…am I the Mrs. or the Mistress? When the Church is drawing nearer to Christ am I pulling my husband to myself or willingly letting him attend to the Bride of Christ?
As we sat there, hand in hand I knew what was about to happen. The important phone call was a very dear Pastor offering Barry a position at his church. We had purposefully taken time away from ministry, but that season was coming to an end. It was wonderful and fun and while we were in the midst of it, I wanted to linger there forever. Like a beautiful spring day that you hate to see the sun set upon…that’s how I felt. It was during this time that we traveled and purchased our very first home. We worked during the day and relaxed each evening. But, I knew, I just knew that there was more for us…more for Barry. He had to say yes, he had to return to the ministry. To hold him back, would in effect make me the Mistress. I would be the one betraying the very heart of God. I could not keep him from what he was destined from birth to do. I am married to a pastor, a shepherd, a man of integrity called to make a difference in people’s lives.
I chose in that moment to partner with my husband, to honor and support him as he fulfills his purpose by serving the Church…the beautiful Bride of Christ of which I am a part of.