Monday, March 10, 2008

It's been a while...

I usually journal a little more online when my husband is away, but last week I found myself writing in my prayer journal rather than here. It wasn't an easy week. It was good for the most part. I had lunch with several ladies from my husband's unit and with another chaplain's wife. But, on Thursday I was feeling rather down in the dumps, for me. I don't really get down in the dumps too much, but when I do I'm not one who likes to shout it from the rooftop. I'd much rather just cry out to the Lord and know that He will bring comfort. Plus, I wasn't really sure how to put it all into words. Today, though, I thought about other people that might struggle as I had so here I am, opening up my heart.

One of the toughest things I've gone through during this transition from pastor's wife to chaplain's wife is the change in our ministry. It's no longer both of us serving TOGETHER in our church. He heads off to work every day fulfilling his purpose, and I often find myself wondering what mine is. Don't get me wrong, we both had our own ministries within the church, but they also tied together, allowing us the opportunity to serve the Lord side by side a lot. I never felt like just "the pastor's wife"...I ministered the way God led and gifted me to in the church, as well as in my secular job.

When my husband is away I struggle with the thought - am I fulfilling God's purpose for my life right now? I hear the Lord speak gently to my heart, and it's always the same answer - your ministry is different now; serve your family and in that way you are serving and honoring me. It wasn't that I didn't take care of my family before. I had other areas of service outside the home though, not that those areas were more important or more rewarding, it was just much different for me. I'll be honest, it's not easy to go from serving faithfully in a church to sitting on the back row so to speak. When my husband is home, or the kids need me, I see my purpose more clearly.

It's not an easy job being a military chaplain and knowing I am here for husband, at any time, means so much to him. I also know that being available for our children and keeping our home in order is important, too. I just want to be sure I'm fulfilling the purpose God has for me here, whatever that looks like. I don't really think this is all the Lord desires for me, and I'm searching and seeking His will and patiently (well...trying to be patient) waiting on him. I don't just want to rush into something or join a group because I want to do something more with my time. That wouldn't be seeking the Lord...although it would be easier. Again, it's tough to put it all into words.

Although it wasn't an easy week, the funny thing is, I wouldn't change it for the world! I love where we are and what we are doing. If you were to ask me how I am, I would honestly tell you I am great! I know there are seasons in our lives. Some may not be exactly as we'd like them to be but, then again, it's not about us anyway, right?! It took some time for me to sort through my feelings. I spent a lot of time in prayer and in God's word. I talked it out with my husband, even though it was tough because I feared he would feel as if it was his fault I was struggling. All these things are important though. I know that no matter where we go or what we do, we are in this TOGETHER. The Lord is here with us; he knows when we have tough days and when we need encouragement.

This week may have been more for me to come to grips with some things than it was for my husband to go off to training. I drew closer to the Lord and now look at things a little differently than I did last week and for that I am grateful. Even writing this has been helpful. My prayer is that this post ministers to other women out there who may struggle with the difference in ministry, or their husbands are about to be chaplains. I'm sure it's different for everyone, but maybe hearing some of my thoughts will help someone.

13 comments:

Meredith said...

Thank you for this post. I am also transitioning from the pastor's wife mindset. It's hard after almost 9 years. You've been on my mind and I haven't had the chance to sit down and write you but you have been in my prayers!

Laura said...

Meredith,

You, too, have been on my mind and in my prayers. I thought about you as I wrote this. Take care!
Laura

Laurie Adams said...

Laura, I thought I would check out your blog since you visited mine today (womentakingastand) and I already know that we have a kindred spirit and share many things, besides the love for God, I see you have a Son in the Air Force. I do too. Did you read my blog posting "I know the plans I have for you"? I talk about my Son who is going over to Korea for a year, (he is at Wright Patt now ...where is your son?) it has ripped my heart out but I know he is in Gods hands and I find comfort in that and also connecting with other christian moms like yourself that are walking in the same shoes as me. Thanks for looking in on my blog and I hope to hear from more military "mom's"!

Sara said...

You know, I was never a pastor's wife... but I watched my parents serve faithfully in the pastorate for my entire life. I sought counsel about this very thing from every chaplain's wife I spoke with when Jon & I first married- "What is your role in the ministry being married to a chaplain?" They all told me the same thing- "Whatever you want it to be."

It is very different from a church, but there is no lack of ministry! I'll speak from my own experience- there are ways that I am "the chaplain's wife" and ways that I am just Sara. My mom, on the other hand, is "Pastor Dan's wife" no matter where she serves- every aspect of her personal ministry is because of my dad's position. My place in the unit, for example, is because I'm "Mrs. Chaplain." It's similar to how the chaplain's JOB isn't to spread the gospel (it's to ensure the provision of religious support, etc)- but his personal ministry is. But isn't that the calling of all believers? Whether a pastor, a chaplain, or a wife of either- our calling as followers of Christ is to spread the message of His love. My involvement in PWOC isn't because I'm a chaplain's wife- it's because that's one avenue in which I choose to minister. I have also recently joined the Spouse's Club (our new installation is too small to have separate OSC & ESC). In all of those places, I have personal ministry, as a follower of Christ- not the wife of my husband.

I say this to encourage you, that your ministry is not over!!! It will just look different- and that may involve you expanding your comfort zone a bit. What a great new opportunity! I am so excited to see how God uses you over these next months in new ways!

Sorry this is so long... happens to be a soapbox of mine- you actually got the condensed version! ;-)

Carol said...

Hi, Laura. What a beautiful post! You sound like such a wonderful person who loves the Lord. Thanks for visiting my blog and your comments. I will pray for you as you continue to transition.

Anonymous said...

I struggled with the exact same thing last week. Ken was gone for a week of training and it seems like when he is gone it makes it all more real. I am also struggling with my role and seeing how God is showing me what it is. Thanks for the post. Andrea May

Laura said...

Andrea!

It's great to hear from you. I think about you often and pray for you and your family. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I can know more specifically how to pray. I hope you are all well. Miss you,
Laura

Adele said...

Hi Laura,

Your posts have been a blessing to me. My husband has been pastoring for ten years and on March 10th he had an interview to become an Army Chaplain. Big change. He is so excited. I am too, but in prayer about all the changes. I am thankful to read and hear of others like yourself that are willing to share their hearts. I hope to meet you one day.

Adele

Laura said...

Adele,

I'd love to know more about you and your family. If you'd like to correspond via email, please feel free to leave a comment with your email address and I won't post it.
Praying for you,
Laura

Adele said...

Hi Laura,

How do I do that? It asks if I want to publish it. I am new to this, not computers, just leaving comments :>. But I would love to give you my email address.

Adele

Laura said...

Adele,

Just like you did the last two. I have to allow comments to be seen on my blog. I just won't allow the comment with your email address to be read by all. It will only be seen by me.
Looking forward to chatting with you!
Laura

Anonymous said...

Laura,
One thing I appreciate about you so much is your openness and honesty. I'm new to this "military thing" and your blog has been so helpful to me. There are days that I can't believe we're doing this and then I read something on your site that reminds me why. So...whether you realize it or not, you have ministered to me greatly!!! Thank you!

MaryLu said...

Laura, great post.
I've been wondering this same thing too, where do I fit in. I would love to work side by side with my Chaplain husband, but I often see the team as the CH and his assistant, and the wife is not in the picture so much.
My desire is to serve.
Lots to think and pray about.