Tripping over invisible objects...
Invisible people live all around us. Nah, I'm not losing my faculties, I'm serious. There are folks who are closest to us that become invisible because we have forgotten to notice their presence and worth. Invisibility occurs when life becomes too busy and when work follows us home from the office and it rears its ugly head when daily conversations disappear from the home.
I have just been made aware that March is pastor's wife appreciation month. It may be more accurate to say "pastor's spouse appreciation" but I digress. It is a tall order to list all the sacrifices my wife has made in order to follow me into ministry. Leaving our home, our family, and her close circle of friends are just a few lifechanges with which to deal. These changes, while difficult, would not be unbearable except for the fact that everytime I am reappointed to another church, the loss of all these things occurs again. Ripping away from people and places that one has grown to love and care for is painful. On three occasions in ministry, my wife has set up home in a new house. Never mind the three times of packing and unpacking that accompany those moves.
I confess my failures to cherish my wife to the level she deserves and often she has become the other woman in my life. The churches I have served have creeped into our marriage relationship and have taken first place. Everytime this occurs, I feel failure and brokenness. God's grace is an amazing Rx for failure and broken hearts. I know this truth firsthand.
Balance in all things is something I like to preach but ocassionally fail to accomplish. When my wife is not first place in my life then all of life seems to be a bit off kilter. Stress rises, conversations are labored, and a general sense of frustration emerges.
My public confession carries with it an apologetic bouquet of flowers to the one who completes me and is my God ordained helpmate. She is the woman who said yes to my request of marriage and who bore our four wonderful children. Tracie is the one who turns houses into homes of love and comfort, she is the one who orchestrates our finances with the finest precision. The love I feel for this lady grows everyday. My task will be to make sure she knows the level of my love.
While many women smirk at Proverbs 31, there are components of the text that speak volumes.
"Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Many women do noble
things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the
LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city
gate." (Proverbs 31:28-31, NIV)
"O God, thank you for Tracie and for her grace-filled life over the last 30+ years of relationship. Help me focus solely on her and provide loving care to her. When I miss the mark, hold me accountable and steer me back into alignment with healthy conversations and meaningful times of heart care. Allow Tracie to feel your love, grace, and to be able to experience the fullness of your care in this life of ministry. God, in your mercy, keep this woman more visible to me with each passing year. In Christ I pray. Amen."