I stood over my washing machine with tears streaming down my face. I did that everyday for three weeks. I saw what mountain lay ahead of us.
When Michael told me that he felt a calling on his life for ministry, it was a difficult pill for me to swallow. I was comfortable. I had a boisterous and happy baby boy and was working very part-time with my best friend. I loved my friends. I loved my church. I loved my neighbors. And I loved our home. We had just remodeled, and it was beautiful in our eyes. Michael had laid all the bathroom tile himself. He had tirelessly worked through the night in the freezing cold to finish the roof. Our view from our bedroom window is one I still miss. I did not want to give any of it up. We were settled.
But the tears were because I knew what ‘called’ meant. I knew what ‘ministry’ meant. I had been connected to it my whole life. I knew the sacrifice involved…
I married a mechanic, not a pastor. He seemed a very unlikely candidate for all of this…
What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory– Romans 9:23
And that [a wretched sinner] is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17
We really had no idea what area of ministry God had called us to. The only thing we were sure of was that Michael needed training.
What a mountain….
Thus began a six year long process. The first week Michael had classes was also the first week of our son’s (Josiah) life. That week was tough. There was lots of crying. The baby cried too. Studying was hard. Greek was impossible. We were exhausted. We quickly realized that weekends were no longer ours, any extra moments should be reserved for study, and dating one another was getting rarer and rarer.
Still unsure of exactly where Michael was ‘called’ to serve, we spent much time those first few years in prayer, seeking guidance. The ‘calling’ had been so clear. The specific area of ministry….not so much. When we realized that chaplaincy seemed a perfect fit for Michael’s vision of ministry, we began to look at the requirements. More training, more schooling, more, more, more….
I wish I could tell you that throughout this process we were always hopeful, always joyful, and always sane. We were not. We struggled. Most of the time. While working, engaging in family matters, raising 3 really rowdy boys, married to me, Michael had to learn so many things.
He had to learn to type.
He had to learn to write.
He had to learn about himself.
He had to read at least 1,647,998 pages of material.
He had to learn Greek!!!
There were dark, dark times. There was back pain. Loss of grandparents. Sleepless nights. Mountainous struggles financially, relationally, emotionally, and spiritually that were unbearable at times. Unbearable. And frankly made it nearly impossible to complete the tasks assigned…
These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:7
But we serve a perfect, loving, gracious, omnipotent, righteous, generous, awesome God. At times the financial provision was unbelievable. The lessons we learned relationally, saved our relationships. What we have endured emotionally and spiritually, we now count a sliver of wisdom to see us through trials ahead. They will come.
Relying on, leaning on, clinging to, trusting God is the only way we have survived….
With all the training, and reading, and studying, the one thing Michael knows for sure is that he still has much to learn. We have much to learn.
But when he walked across that stage (a journey which had seemed so impossible), yesterday morning, those same gorgeous eyes I fell in love with 16 years ago, were encased in a new body. I have seen that man that I love be transformed by the renewing of his mind. I have had such a good view. The intimate relationship we share through marriage has allowed me to see what God can really do with one who is obedient and faithful.
Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20
Mountain = moved.
Congratulations, Babe. You made it. I love you.