When Becky asked me to write for “So You’re a Pastor’s Wife” blog, my immediate thought was “no way”! I am NOT a pastor’s wife…. yet. What could I possibly say to ladies who have already walked this journey probably at a much younger age than I am walking it now. Not to mention, what if my husband, Mark, doesn’t even become a minister, isn’t it a little presumptuous? Maybe, just maybe, it would be a little (or HUGELY) embarrassing if he chooses a different path and I’ve sent this out for the world to see. Then it hit me. My doubts about writing a blog pretty much mirror what I’ve felt about this voyage we are on. Fear, pride, and doubts swirl through my mind at an alarming rate sometimes! (My daughter, HE says,” take every thought captive…”)
I’m not even sure exactly how it all came about. Mark has talked about a dream of his for some time now. He wanted to set up a shop, hire young men who are searching for purpose, teach them a trade and use that business as a way to minister. It all sounded so grandiose and, in my mind, improbable. It was easy to encourage that dream and support him when that’s all it was, a dream. Then one day he came home from work to tell me he had lost his job. I remember telling him, “I really think God is going to take us in a totally different direction than where we have been.” What I thought that meant was “I don’t think you’re going to be working in a job that is tied into the oilfield anymore” what HE heard was “God is taking us out of the secular job market and into the ministry”. My head is still spinning. (“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted.…”)
What is it like to hear your husband say that he is being called into ministry when you are 51 years old? Bizarre. Ha! It is probably very much the same as it feels when you are 19 or any other age. Honestly there have been times when I’ve wanted to stomp my foot like a 3-year-old and say, “It’s not fair!” Other wives knew they were possibly stepping into being a minister’s wife BEFORE they married their husband – and that would be easier, RIGHT?…. RIGHT?!? Mark had surrendered to special services during college before I knew him. I didn’t know that when we married. Doubts have stormed my mind at times. (Trust ME with ALL of your heart, don’t lean on your own understanding, I will direct your path….) I’ve witnessed from a safe distance how hard being a pastor’s wife can be. The expectations on you and your family, the pressures, the criticizing, the sacrifices all seem pretty overwhelming. I could go on and on with the doubts, fears and uncertainty. Then God began to tenderly remind me of a few things:
I’ve resented the expectations that are sometimes put on pastor’s wives, so why in the world would I suddenly put those same expectations on myself? (remember, Sandra, “I will supply ALL of your needs according to My riches…”). I can face whatever comes our way simply because God is my source! I’ll make mistakes, certainly, but I can come back from those mistakes having learned a valuable lesson and having depended on God.
A few years ago I took up a challenge to support my husband in his dreams no matter the cost. I have a niece who beautifully demonstrated this to me by lovingly following her husband to Florida for a time. If Mark’s dream took us across country or to the other side of the world, I determined to support him. After all, isn’t it God who orders our steps? ("The lot is cast into the lap, but the decision is wholly Mine [even the events that seem accidental are really ordered by ME). I really don’t want to be a discouragement to my husband or stop him from stepping out in obedience to God. God has gently put several people into our lives at this time to encourage us and confirm what God is doing.
A few months ago I attended a conference. During that conference I received results on a personality test called the DISC test. I discovered that part of my personality is a “C” (conscientiousness). A couple of the negative traits of a “C” is that we over-think things (we need DETAILS) and we don’t like change. Yep. That’s me. I hate change. Do you know who else that is? Moses. Yes, Moses, the guy who heard God’s numerous, detailed plans to set the Israelites free and then told God, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else!” But God knew He needed a man interested in details to deal with the challenges ahead. Someone who could write down the 10 commandments word for word without improvising, someone who could organize a huge crowd of people to march across the land. I have a choice. I can live in the negative aspects of my personality traits and cry “Not me, Lord, choose someone else!!” (tempting as that is…) or I can soar with the positive traits. You see, I’m also a “S” (Steadfastness). An example of an “S” is Abraham. The man who willingly left his land and family to follow God into the unknown. I need to learn to use my “C” personality traits when organizing and working, and use my “S” traits when I’m called to face changes and follow God into the unknown. I’m learning.
God has been so gracious to me in this struggle. He’s shown me things about myself that He really loves, goodness given by Him, to help me see that I am able to follow Him wherever He leads. He has reminded me that the position of being a pastor’s wife has some really positive aspects. I need to follow the advice I’ve given my Jr. High Sunday School class; I need to focus on the good and on God, not the problems! (“Oh, taste and see that I am GOOD!”) He has given me dreams of loving on and encouraging people, helping them see their own greatness. He has given me a voice to declare His goodness.
Moses had a staff that He willingly laid before God for the Lord’s use. He laid down his profession as a shepherd of lambs to become the shepherd of God’s sheep, the nation of Israel. I don’t want to anger God in my response (as Moses did) instead I’m determining to be God’s “Yes!” woman. I want to display trust as Moses eventually did, I want to be able to say “here’s my staff, use it as You will!” Will this journey end up with me being a minister’s wife? I have no idea but it is quite likely. Thankfully, God is beginning to enable me to say “Yes, Lord, your servant is listening”. (“Wait upon Me, be of good courage, wait….”)
Sandra Langford is the wife of Mark Langford. They have 5 children and 1 new addition, a daughter-in-law. They live in Pampa, TX and are currently in transition...obviously. Sandra loves to create, sew, read, and work with the youth in her church. She is using her voice to make a change in the world.