Michael and I have been ministering at CCF at Florida State since January, 2006; almost 5 years. We interviewed and got accepted for the job just 6 months after graduating college and literally weeks after getting married. The first year of our marriage (as it is for so many couples) was sooooo hard. We lived on campus at the CCF house. We had our own apartment but, we lived between a fraternity and a sorority house, 1/2 block from a bar, and under and next door to many of our CCF students. They came over unannounced. We had them at our apt till the wee hours many nights. Michael would run next door to his office to grab something, and not come back for 2 hours because he had run into a student who needed him. I have said many times before in my blog that being married has taught me how truly selfish I am. I believe that part of the reason our first year of marriage was so hard is because I spent a substantial amount of the year whining about how neglected I felt. It got so bad, I made Michael, on many occasions, question his calling to the ministry. Maybe, it was just too hard on me. That’s when it hit me: my husband almost walked out on the very thing he was created to do with his life because I was so selfish. I began to pray (and still do) that I would never make him feel that way again. That I would only make him pursue his talent and ability to preach more.
The third week of August is the ABSOLUTE hardest week of the year on our marriage. This is the week before classes begin at FSU. This week has, in the last two years, been dubbed “GO Week.” It is a marathon of moving in freshmen, hosting activities, serving meals, etc for new students. This year was probably the hardest ever. Michael was gone from early early in the morning until late into the night for 4 days. Being pregnant (read: hormonal) and with Michael Paul at home, I couldn’t be there like I’d like to and this was tough. However, each year leading up to Go Week, I ask God to enable me to support Michael in it. This means, NOT WHINING when he’s not home, being there when I can, praying for him, and just trying my darndest to make it as easy on him as possible. Tuesday night I talked to the wife of one of the other campus ministers involved in Go Week. She asked me if that week would be tough on me. I just told her about how God had really changed my heart about the whole thing and, while it would certainly be tough, I would not make it tough on Michael. Period.
At the end of the week, she told me how that had really spoken to her. She and her husband have been married just over a year and last year, Go Week came just two weeks after they got married. She told me about how last year she felt so neglected and whined at her husband, thus making it super difficult on him. We had a great talk about being the “minister’s wife.” Everything she expressed was the exact feelings I’d had just a few years ago (and still do sometimes.) It was so weird! I was able to encourage her to support her husband the way I try to (and many times fail at). At least with the college students, I know that every once in a while I have some wisdom or experience to pass on but, I’ve definitely NEVER felt experienced in the case of ministry. Did Michael and I really become “wise” in this? It still feels like we just started out and we have NO CLUE what we’re doing!!
Truth is, we really don’t! We have to truly pray for God’s leading and take every day one step at a time. Just proof that God can use the unlikeliest of people to do His work. You don’t need age, experience, knowledge or anything like it. You need only faith and willingness and, we have tons of that! Thanks, God for using the other girl to encourage me.