Living in his shadow

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

4In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,

and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,

6because the Lord disciplines those he loves,

and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”a

7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

12Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13“Make level paths for your feet,”b so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed

14Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Hebrews 12:1-15

This is such a precious passage to me as of late – and has been as I look back at our life over the years and have learned to embrace God’s sovereign plan for my life – even when it’s not what I “wanted”…or thought I wanted. Kevin and I were so young when we were married and, honestly, I didn’t really count the cost of what I was agreeing to when I married a man who felt called to a life of full-time vocational ministry. I had no one who helped me to think through what it would be like to be married to someone with this call. (But oh, I am so very glad I did!) Back then, it sounded sort of “glamorous” to me – in all of my young married energy, I could imagine myself spurring on my husband in whatever his dreams were. Difficulty wasn’t a thought in my mind, and if it was – our young love would get us through, right?

Little did I know then, what I know now – that the call of ministry is as much for me as it is for my husband. When I said “I do,” I was telling him that I would willingly and joyfully step into His shadow vowing to support the ministry that God called him to. Sadly, I haven’t always embraced this call with joy as I ought over the years. Too many times I have stomped my feet and voiced my annoyances at how every part of my husbands call had “gotten in the way” of my life and my desires.

I had it so wrong.

I am so thankful that in His abundant grace and mercy, God has been using all of the change and ebb and flow of our lives in ministry over these past ten and a half years to mold me and to open my eyes to my calling when I married Kevin – that I would go where he went and live in the shadow of His call and to be his biggest fan when no one else was, to spur Him on when things were grim and to rejoice with Him in the triumphs that God allowed him to be apart of. And really, it is a beautiful thing that He has been so patient with me and has loved me enough to lead me to this place.

As pastor’s wife and author, Christine Hoover says,

“I vowed a commitment to my husband, but I’ve discovered the commitment, the yes, that sustains is my submission to God. My yes is to Him and will naturally align itself as support of what my husband does as a minister of the gospel.”

What a wild and crazy and delightful adventure this really is…to throw off everything that hinders and to run this hard, sweaty, messy, glorious race with perseverance…making every effort to live at peace with all men and to be holy.

This is truly living.