I have been a pastors wife for 17 years. I was a young 19 years old when I married and my husband accepted his first pastorate. Looking back, I realize I knew nothing. Seriously, nothing. I knew how to stand at the back of the church dutifully by my husbands side and shake hands with sweet people who really didn’t know me. I did this for many, many years. Throughout those early years in ministry I tried really hard to be a supportive, strong, encouraging leader in our churches. I really wanted people to like me. So in order for people to like me, I needed to dress the part, serve in every area effortlessly and make sure they didn’t know any of my deep struggles and God forbid they know any of my sin. It was exhausting and lonely and I was stuck.
So maybe it’s not always sunny in California, however it’s pretty amazing most of the time. I have spent some time on my blog reflecting on the difficulty in adjusting to our move to SoCal and wouldn’t you know it, just as I’m really settling in, God is calling our heart’s “back home” to Arkansas. I wanted to just take a few minutes and share the things I really love about our current home and ministry.
- Saddleback Church – It is hard for me to describe how I feel about this community of believers. Being part of this movement has been one of the most unbelievable experiences of my life. To think that God loves Brandon and I so much that he would “pluck” us up out of Arkansas and place us here to learn from some of the most influential leaders in the world is amazing. I know that our time here has been a gift and am determined to not waste what God has given us. I am not the same person I was a year ago-much of that is due to the influences of this church, especially fellow pastors and wives that have come along side our family to love us and encourage us. God has his hand on this church and her leaders and to be a part of it has simply been spectacular.
- The Weather – I have to admit the thought of returning to the heat and humidity has me a little sad. I will miss the constant sunshine and sweet breezes. I completely understand why so many people choose to make SoCal home despite the high cost of living.
- Adventure – Their is always something new to discover or explore. We have experienced endless possibilities of places to shop, swim, hike, explore. We live halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles and 5 miles from beautiful Laguna Beach. It’s easy to adopt a “beach bum” mentality here, and I like it!
- No Bugs – Seriously, I’ve seen a couple. We leave our doors and windows open year round and their are no fly’s or mosquito’s. It’s a beautiful thing!
- Small Group – My experience of what it means to live in community has been expanded due to these great families. Brandon and I have learned from them and been loved on by them. As we prepare to plant “Grace Hills” we know that we have 3 incredible families committed to praying for us. They know our hearts and see our flaws and love us anyway. We are grateful they welcomed us in and we will be better “church planters” because of them.
- Staying at home-This past year I have had the double blessing of being at home with both of my babies. I have been able to take care of little Sam, watch him grow and be a part of the day to day nurturing of our little man. I don’t take this for granted as I know there are many mom’s out there who must hold down a full-time job while being a full-time mom. When Ella was a baby, I worked outside the home and so I recognize the gift I have been given this past year. I also was able to stay at home with Ella and home school her this year. It has been a joy (most of the time)! The real delight has been in seeing her interact with her baby brother-they have a sweet bond that I pray will last forever! When we return to Arkansas, I will be returning to work and Ella will be returning to school (Life Way Christian School). I will cherish this time I had with them always!
This list could go on and on. I really do love the life God has given us here. He has been so good to give us exactly what we needed. He shook us up and refused to let us be “comfortable” in ministry. This move to California has instilled in us the value of taking risks for the cause of Christ. I’m so ready for what’s “next”….but I’m gonna enjoy every minute of the “now”!