I’m so excited to have a guest post submitted by a missionary wife and friend, Michelle.
Michelle has served as an assistant pastor’s wife and is currently serving overseas with her husband on the mission field. They have three children, ages 8, 7, and 3, with a fourth one coming in one month! She enjoys reading, quilting, hiking, and watching baseball with her husband. I hope her words of faith and fear-less-ness encourage you as much as they did me!
Fear, Faith, and Following
“I’m afraid, Mommy!” is a common phrase spoken by my children. Whether it is a wild animal, a bug, a scary movie, or just doing a new activity, my children voice their fear to me almost every day. Each time my children express this feeling, I try to address their fear right away, and to use that moment to teach them to trust or depend on God even in little situations. Most of us as adults still struggle with responding in fear rather than in faith. We further complicate matters by getting married to another sinful human being. If our husband is in ministry, we face even more fearful challenges due to the uncertainty of ministry. As ministry wives, if we do not respond in faith to God while following our husbands, the end result can be devastating. A fearful ministry wife can become discouraged and depressed, and if she does not turn to the Lord, she will ultimately destroy (or at the very least cripple) her husband’s ministry. So, how do we as ministry wives deal with fear as we follow our husbands to what God wants him to do? 1 Timothy 1:7 gives us three ways to fight fear with faith in our lives. It says “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
First, notice that the verse says that GOD has not given us the spirit of fear, but rather GOD has given us three things instead. Responding the right way to your husband’s leadership starts with your relationship with God. Do you rely more on a human relationship for direction or guidance than you do on God and His Word? If you have been married any length of time you know that your husband, no matter how godly he is, will not always be perfect, but God is omniscient, omnipresent, and all powerful! He never makes a mistake or fails. A great way to deal with fear is to start making a list of all the attributes of God, and to stop making a list of all the ways your husband can fail!
Secondly, God has given us the Holy Spirit that lives inside of us as believers. His Holy Spirit gives us power to defeat the fear. Fear is a debilitating emotion that either wants us to freeze or run away from the problem. Neither of these responses is based on faith in God. This is our flesh’s response when something happens that we cannot deal with in our own strength. In Ephesians 6:10-18, Paul says, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.” He then goes on to tell us how to defeat the fiery darts of the devil. As a ministry wife don’t give into the fiery dart of fear. Remember, that the Holy Spirit has given us the power to fight fear with faith in the promises of God.
Thirdly, notice, that God has also given us the Holy Spirit so we can respond in love! A spirit of fear will respond in anger, revenge, discontentment, gossip, and pride, but it will never respond in love. As ministry wives, we need to let our husbands know that we love them. Are you unsure of how a loving response looks? I Corinthians 13:4-7 lists the characteristics of love. They include: kindness, humility, prudence, sacrifice, truthfulness, and patience. A ministry wife that has these characteristics is walking in the Spirit and will have no room for fear in her life.
The last thing mentioned that the Holy Spirit gives us is a sound mind. I think that this is the most practical when dealing with ministry and following the leadership of our husbands. As women, fear is usually a reactionary, emotional response to a person or situation. This is the opposite of a sound mind. A sound mind is one that is under control and is putting to practice Philippians 4:8. I, personally, have found it very helpful to tell my husband (or others) “Let me think about it,” whenever I feel the overwhelming emotion of fear taking over my thoughts. Then I will spend time trying to think about his ideas when I am rested, fed, and spiritually recharged. (Sometimes a difficult combination to achieve as a mother of small children!)
God desires that we be women of faith not of fear. He has given us the Holy Spirit so we have the power, love, and sound mind to defeat fear in our lives. Following our husbands as they follow God is not easy, but with a deeper faith in God, we can be ministry wives who support and encourage our husbands to become all that God has for them!