Tag Archive for missionary wife.

Fear, Faith and Following {Ministry Wives Monday Guest Post}

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!

michelle

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!

Have We Lost Something? Missionary Wives Speak.

Do you ever wonder if we have lost something as American Christians?

Have we lost perspective? Focus? Are our eyes on the right goals?

We live in the wealthiest country in the whole world in a continual state of relative ease and comfort.

One of my favorite pictures of my friend Toni Hafler teaching children in Zambia.

Being a Christian in America doesn’t cost us anything. Not really. Sure, we might get disapproving looks from friends and family, but “looks” don’t really count as sacrifice, do they?

Not when you hear of Christians in Sudan who are being gunned down because they hold to the name of Jesus. Little girls. Walking to Sunday School. Or of North Korean Christians who are persecuted more than in any other country.

Do we care enough about the gospel to suffer? Or are we so soft that we consider sitting in an un-airconditioned building suffering?

Do we really care about Christ? Yes, I know we use His name. But what is He worth to us?

We drive to church in air conditioned cars, arrive carrying hundreds of dollars of electronics on our person, and sit in our climate controlled buildings. We get ancy when the pastor goes overtime, because, you know, we have things to do! We are busy. We come to church to “worship”, but only on our very slim timetables, thank you very much.

I am afraid that we have lost something.

I think we’ve lost our first love and turned our eyes onto something else:  ease, excess and entertainment.

We’ve been anesthetized by the luxe of our country. And I fear we don’t even know it. (click to tweet this)

I asked a few missionary wives what they thought. I wanted to see through their eyes, fearing my own vision might be blurred.

I wanted to know what they see when they re-enter the United States. I was surprised by some of their answers. (Reverse Culture Shock, they called it.)

I hope their answers will prove to be helpful to you as they were for me, and might help us all to re-examine our own spiritual state.

Sweet Toni and her happy little girl, in their cottage where they stayed for a 6 month intensive Swahili language program in Limuru, Kenya.

Question 1. What do you notice upon re-entry into the US that shocks you most? 

“How easy life is here…there seems to be a gadget/gizmo for almost anything you would even dream of needing.” Heidi Seawright, Cambodia

“Being overwhelmed by choices. Standing in the cereal aisle, frozen, and overwhelmed at how many brands there were. I finally just reached for Raisin Bran.” -anon.

“Materialism, that everyone is constantly using some form of media {iphone, computer, cell} – Joy F., Indonesia

“We saw how busy people are–even with good things (sports, music lessons, church activities)–so that time together as a family is really unusual. Our American children might be really well-rounded, but possibly at the expense of losing their hearts.

Even though people seemed busier, some people seemed less
interested in regular church services (especially Sunday PM and
Wednesday pm). Church bodies seem to be together so little for
corporate worship, prayer, and Bible study.  Dinners and activities
were still well-attended, though.”– Susan Knipe, South Africa

“Immodesty, religious freedoms lost, disrespect towards adults, a love for the latest, love of the world and it’s entertainment. A seeming indifference to sin. A poor knowledge of scripture and knowing how to apply its truths.

Ladies having to keep up with the fashions, pedicures, etc. but not having time for serving in the church. No time for Bible reading.  The constant running of kids to their next activity.

I am surprised that in a country where we know how to read and we have so much out there to help us in our spiritual walk that still few read for that purpose. In Africa my friends there would read if they knew how and if they could get their hands on a good book.

Many times Americans can sound ungrateful for what they have in life. It really stands out to me when we are fresh back from Africa. I’m not saying the places we served didn’t have these issues. What stood out to me was how quick the decline was from our furlough to furlough.”–Toni Hafler, Zambia

“Nearly everything seems to be obtained instantly. Even memory making things are pre-packaged so you don’t have to put much work into things–for 4th of July I saw packaged cookies at the Wal-mart with sugar cookies, frosting, and sprinkles all ready to be decorated.” Heidi Seawright, Cambodia

“Everyone is interacting with phones/ipads/computers/TVs all the time! Even 2 year olds on the flights yesterday were glued to their screens!”

“What surprised me on my first visit back to the States after moving to Argentina was the cleanliness, comforts and all the conveniences.

I was floored by all the stores that catered to the shopper and how everything is available 24/7. And what’s more, everyone expects that kind of service! I don’t know about other countries, but that doesn’t happen here. –Jennifer Smith, Argentina

“Apathy – not using the overabundance of resources God has given, specifically spiritual. ”  Amy Greenwood, Buenos Aires

“We noticed people’s obsession with their pets!”

“My first shock was how many people are so disconnected from everyone around them. Cell phones in everybody’s hands. Go to a restaurant, and people even sitting at the table together are on their phones instead of talking. This really shocked me.” -Althea N., Brazil

” It did amaze me at how many people I saw one furlough looking, acting, listening to and reading things that we both thought were wrong. We’d then to go back on another furlough and they are using whatever translation, listening to “christian” rock and their girls are wearing things that do not make them look different from the world. It’s not just one family, but even whole churches. It’s very discouraging.” -anon

“It really saddened me and actually bewildered me, how many [ladies] were not modest in general. I have often wondered what caused them to change in this area. I have not had the courage to ask anybody.” anon

 

These types of responses make me think: Am I living a life of ease and complaining about it? Am I apathetic? Discontent? Using what I have for God’s glory or to indulge my own flesh.

In other words, Is Jesus Christ really all I am seeking? Is He enough?

What about you? What are your thoughts?

PART TWO  Here

LINKED TO COURTNEY

****************************************************