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.