Oh, the age old question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We’ve all pondered it. Most would say they have it figured out. Some probably never will… I feel like I’m somewhere in the middle. It’s a weird spot to be in. Honestly, it can be confusing and complicated.
When I went off to college with a dream about who I was going to become, I knew two things. I was either going to be a pastor or a pastor’s wife. Ministry was my passion. It was going to be the center of my life. However, I didn’t realize how multi-layered ministry roles were. In my head, I would get a ministry job and have a spouse that worked outside of the church. Or I would marry a pastor and I might work a job outside of the church or I might be a stay at home mom, but I thought if I wasn’t the pastor then I would be the behind the scenes support to my husband.
I remember when Jeremy and I were meeting with Don Detrick (the Secretary-Treasurer for our AG network and the minister who married us) for a premarital get together. He suggested I get my credentials and I laughed at him. I said one pastor in the household was enough and I was fine being behind the scenes, supporting Jeremy. Oh, if I had only known then what I know now. I might have prepared myself for life a bit better. God eventually did lay it on my heart to get my credentials and become a licensed minister which led to be becoming ordained. That was not a part of my original plan. Seems the Bible has something to say about that, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” (Proverbs 16:9 NIV)
The tension comes from the fact that I never planned to be in a two pastor family. It was always going to be one or the other in my mind. As God has unfolded his plan for my life, I’m realizing that his plans are bigger for me then I imagined. I feel my own call to ministry, outside of being paired with my husband. Let me tell you, that is a very scary thing. I’ve planned my life to be the supporter, not the one up front. In fact, I’m not a huge fan of being up front. I feel like God has certainly called me to a ministry of writing. I love to communicate through the written word. I’m never without anything to say. I always have an opinion on the matter. I love discussing things and digging deeper into God’s word. As an introvert, it’s hard for me to find the balance of ministry to people and quiet moments like these were I can process, reflect, and minister through writing.
I struggle with being viewed as a “pastor”… This is hard for me to admit, but titles do mean a lot to me. I wish they didn’t. As an administrator, I often feel like my heart for pastoral ministry is in conflict with my job that puts me behind the scenes. I know I’m called to more than pushing buttons on a copy machine and keeping track of attendance. I don’t technically have the “pastor” title, so I don’t like to presume roles that are not given to me. And yet, I am an ordained minister, how does this all fit together?
I’ve often wondered what it might look like to seek out more pastoral roles, but that seems to be tricky water as well. I don’t want to head off on my own ministry track that pulls me away from my husband. I don’t want each of us to be in our own worlds and have our calendars no longer match up. I don’t want to pull my heart away from children’s ministry, because I truly love it and I am passionate about seeing young children build a lifelong foundation on Jesus Christ.
I do think there is something to be said about saying yes to the small opportunities that come my way. Who knows if these small yeses will lead to bigger doors in the future? Doing things like co-preaching on Mother’s Day are little windows to grow my skills and expand my influence. Today I was asked if I wouldn’t mind doing the devotional for our area pastors meeting next month. While I am excited for this opportunity, I am yet again faced with the tension of being one of three women who attend these meetings and younger than most of the people in the room by a good twenty-five years. Not only is it hard to feel qualified, but it’s also hard to find people that can relate to me, who understand where I am.
I guess this leads me to another area of ministry that God has been laying on my heart. There is a very noticeable lack of women ministers in the meetings I attend. I have a passion to see women in ministry. The Lord has been fueling this fire in my heart to stand up and be a leader, to have a say, to be heard. The voice and influence of women ministers seems so small right now. It’s lonely to think that there are very few people out there who understand this call to ministry and the challenges. I’m not sure what my future looks like, but I hope that I can make a way for other women to step up. I would love to see the number of credentialed women match the number of credentialed men in our meetings. I would love to see the faces and hear the voices of other women ministers. I don’t want to be alone.
Children’s ministry, writing, public speaking, and encouraging women in ministry – I see all of these playing a big part in my future. I’m not sure exactly where these doors will lead me, but I know these are the areas that God has laid on my heart. I know that he will help Jeremy and I navigate the waters as a couple in ministry. I fully aware that my ministry affects my husband and his ministry affects me. We are connected. I know that God has a plan for us a couple and as individuals. We both have a lot to offer the Kingdom of God and we both want to use our lives to serve the Lord. I’m wrestling with a lot questions and I struggle to see the picture sometimes. Where is this all leading me? Honestly, I’m not sure… but I do know that God is growing me. He is stretching my faith muscles more than I would like at this moment!
So, what do I want to be when I grow up? I think the safest answer would be: in ministry! The rest is up to God!