Finding Contentment in Ministry
by Marcia Laycock
Recently, my mind has been reviewing the last 20 years in ministry. It goes back to the day my husband was laughing because our pastor predicted he would be in ministry some day. I didn’t laugh. I also remember the words of my brother-in-law. He said if I stuck with his brother, I’d never be bored. Both predictions have proven true. Just two years after the day Spence laughed, we were on our way to Bible college. A few years after that we arrived at our first (and so far only) pastorate. I have never been bored!
Over the years, I have heard horror stories about ministry couples – the damage done by their congregations or by themselves – and I am thankful that we have been able to weather the storms that came our way without lasting harm. We have struggled at times trying to find our purpose and a balance between ministry demands and family time, but even in the struggles we were blessed.
I think back to a re-entry period when we returned from a year’s sabbatical on the mission field. God taught me so much about myself and Him that year. Returning to the Western culture and church almost destroyed my relationship with our church and the people God had given us to lead. But in the struggle, I was blessed. I arrived on the other side knowing the church, as dysfunctional and flawed as it is, is God’s design and felt privileged to be a ministry wife.
Discovering how desperately I had tried to fit into the role as pastor’s wife freed me to break out of it as God showed me it was only His expectations that matter. When the sting of being spurned by people in the church was almost too much, He showed me it was His love that would never disappoint. When my husband was under attack, God reminded me what He suffered. And when I felt alone, He held my hand.
Looking back over 20 years of ministry, it’s tempting to fall into the guilt trap. I didn’t do enough, I should have….But with every failure came new understanding, and with every achievement the acknowledgement that it is God who does it all.
While on the mission field, God taught me that He loves me for just being who I am, not for what I do. Today, I am both content to know I will continue in the place of my calling.