After working in the Church for almost 20 years, I felt like a hot mess.
If you’d had told me joy was possible, I would have nodded and chimed in with some quaint Bible verse affirming your words, “Yes! There is joy in the Lord!”
But inside, a piece of me would have died a little more because the reality of joy seemed so far away, and your words would have filled me with further shame.
Clearly I didn’t love God and wasn’t being pleasing to Him, because if I truly did, I’d be experiencing His joy as a good Christian and pastor’s wife would.
I didn’t want to be ungrateful, but I often rehearsed a conversation with God that went something like this:
Lord, don’t you see all I’m sacrificing for you? Don’t you remember all I’ve done for You? I’ve served You so faithfully and never even asked for much…but do you even see me? Do you even hear me?
Growing up as a pastor’s kid and marrying a pastor before I’d even graduated from college, I’d lived all my life “in ministry.” It was hard to see past the ministry lens to catch a glimpse of life- or myself- apart from church. After almost 20 years working in full-time ministry, however, I couldn’t ignore the daily pain deep in my soul; I felt like a hot mess. In the deepest places of my heart, I knew there had to be more to this relationship with Jesus than what I was living, but my prayers for the richness I sensed possible, seemed to be hitting the proverbial ceiling.
As the Lord seems to have a way of doing, He suddenly stripped me and my entire family of this all-pervading identity of “pastor’s family,” and thrust me into my own wilderness journey.
Overnight, we found ourselves out of ministry and 6 weeks later, living in my parent’s basement. It was in this dark and humbling season that the Lord began His gentle, but painful, work of pruning.
As He slowly, patiently, and masterfully worked on the soil of my heart as only a Master Gardner can do, my heart began to thaw. Seedlings of hope sprung forth and took me by surprise. The greatest surprise of all was this new feeling I began to experience: I began to feel what I only could imagine was…joy!
Though my circumstances were not any easier (they seemed infinitely more difficult in some ways), the Lord began a healing work in me that continues to this day. In the place of a bitter and resentful heart, He gave me joy!
If He can do it for me. He can do it for you.
Come along, dear Friend, because hope, healing, and joy are possible!
To best serve those I support, I am:
- A Certified Biblical Life and Mental Health Coach
- A Brainspotting Practitioner
- A Member of the American Association of Christian Counselors
- A Member of the Association of Christians in Health and Human Services
- A national Christian woman and ministry conference speaker