I was blogging some time ago about the uniqueness of pastoral ministry. I was talking about how as a pastor you deal with people from the cradle to grave. Last week was another week where I was dealing with people from the grave to the cradle. But I’m especially thankful for one of the greatest resources that God has given me in my ministry, and that is my wife Deb. Some 35 years ago Debbie married a postal clerk, not a pastor or a college student or someone who was aspiring to go into full-time Christian ministry. But over the last 35 years of our journey together Deb has been a constant source of encouragement and blessing to those who’ve gotten to know her. As a pastor I’m called into many difficult situations and it is very important that I have someone close to me who can bear the burden with me. Just two months ago I received a call on a Sunday evening from my brother Ed who was in the hospital with complications from his pancreatic cancer. He asked me if I would go and share with his wife and family that his cancer had continued to grow and that he was no longer going to be taking chemo but was going into hospice care. I asked my wife if she was willing to go with me to share this sad news with the family. She has been a constant source of helping me bear other people’s burdens and thus fulfilling the law of Christ. She was with me that night as I brought this sad information to my friend’s family as she was with me last Thursday morning when I received word that my dear brother had passed into Jesus’s eternal presence. Once again her company was a great blessing to me and to those that we ministered to that morning. Her hugs, tears and presence were a source of comfort and encouragement to this hurting family. Deb never received specialized training as a pastor’s wife but she has gained much experience as we’ve served in some very difficult church situations. As I approach my 30th year in full-time Christian ministry I can’t imagine what my ministry would be like without her. As Deb was with me on Thursday morning ministering to Ed’s family so she was with me two days later in a very different visitation ministry. This time it was a hospital call following the birth of a little boy who came two months premature and had to be delivered through an emergency C-section. Once again there was Debbie by my side rejoicing and praying with this family for God’s hand and care on little Gabriel’s life. I’m thankful for the life partner that God has given me who has helped me bear my burdens and so many other people’s burdens. Her main ministry of course is the care of her husband and her family. Ministry is not an easy journey and yet when we walk through the path that God has called us and we’re walking with a person that deeply loves us it makes the journey so much more possible. Whatever I have accomplished in my ministry I would not have accomplished without the assistance and help of my lovely wife, Debbie. I give thanks to God for this precious gift and thank Him for the privilege that we have had of serving Him together and touching many hearts and lives with the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was in February 2005 when I went back to Michigan by myself to have my grandson Elijah’s funeral that I realized how much I needed my wife by my side. I told her at the time that I never wanted to go through these dark moments without her by my side. In the years that have followed we’ve had some very painful things to deal with, including the death of our dads and my sister. Deb and I have walked through these things together experiencing the grace of God. God has also allowed us to experience much joy in the journey as well as the Lord Jesus Christ continues to manifest Himself and work in and through our lives. All praise to our great Savior who provides everything we need to continue to serve Him.
All for God’s glory,