As you might have guessed from the title, this blog has something of a historical flavor. It has been a few years (20) since I have been a young minister’s wife, but I would like to share a story about a prayer God chose to answer 20 years later.
When I married Frog Hair, we had both just finished college and had been traveling to Pflugerville on weekends for his new student ministry job, a job that I realized the wife has to interview for as well. You may be thinking that of course I should have to interview for that job. After all, I would be teaching Vacation Bible School, singing in the choir, teaching a youth Sunday School class, and working with Frog Hair. I can tell you that the interview is the fastest way to cause a young fiance to question her reasoning in agreeing to this whole minister’s wife thing. I survived without completely embarrassing both of us, and we got the job. I married, moved five hours from home, and started life as a minister’s wife all in a matter of a couple of weeks. We moved into a 480 square foot apartment, and I started playing house. I was in my element! Then the first Sunday came. I was sitting in church ignoring the covert stares checking me out (I just knew that they knew that I was sleeping with the youth minister! Gasp!) when out of the blue “Because He Lives” started playing from the piano and organ. That day I learned that some hymns are just emotional triggers for me. I started crying, delicately I like to think, and didn’t stop until the last hymn was sung. That day I also learned that I don’t do change well. Not long after that, while I was still adapting, I read an article that said the average time for a youth minister to stay at a church was 18 months. Oh no! I could not do this again in 18 months. Thankfully, my husband lives by the saying, “Go where you’re sent. Stay where you’re put. Give what you got.” He assured me we would stay until God clearly sent us elsewhere, and I prayed that God would keep us there for 10 years. I’m not sure how I picked that number, but I clearly remember praying that and thinking that was close to forever.
Fast forward 5ish years. We were so happy in our church and our community. I loved my job, although I was making plans to come home as soon as I popped that baby out. We had great friends and a wonderful group of volunteers and students in the student ministry. Frog Hair informed me when I was seven months pregnant that a church in Houston had contacted him asking for a resume. Once I determined that he didn’t have one, I felt good, but I could tell that God was working. The quick version of that story is that we ended up moving when Girl Child was 5 weeks old, and I revisited the idea that maybe I wasn’t cut out for this ministry thing and reminded God of my 10 year prayer that I was still waiting for Him to answer. I have already written about the tears and the mascara stained t-shirt that came out of that move, so suffice it to say that I still couldn’t be described as adaptable.
Our years in Houston impacted my life amazingly. I participated in MOPS and women’s Bible studies, researched homeschooling and connected with people who offered wisdom on that, and made lifetime friends. I had Boy Child and enjoyed so much the toddler/preschool years. I also developed hideous allergies and asthma and spent approximately $100 per month just to breathe. So one day when Frog Hair came home and told me that Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler had called him looking for student minister recommendations, I asked, “Did you recommend yourself?” He asked, “Do YOU want to move?” Somehow he had gotten the impression that I wouldn’t be open to that. I quickly blew it off as not being a good time to ask when my allergies were acting up. In God’s grace, He continued nudging us to obedience until Frog Hair finally gave in and contacted the personnel committee about sending a resume. They had already narrowed their choices down to the final two, but they agreed to just take his resume so we could be obedient and stop hearing the words “green acres” every day and meeting people from Tyler at random places. Fast forward through some interviews both in Houston and in Tyler with both of us and just Frog Hair, and we found ourselves preparing for another move. In typical mood swing fashion, I was devastated to leave our home, where we had just replaced the blue carpet after living with it and waiting patiently for five years. I also didn’t want to leave the little homeschool group I had found and my friends and my Bible study group. It had only been six years and I had asked the Lord for ten! Sending us off with prayers and a pitchfork and a catchy little tune about Green Acres being the place to be, our friends in Houston wished us the best.
In those first months I made several trips to Houston for real estate tasks and ear infection tasks, but we had moved into a house located right behind the church and generously offered for free until we could find a home and a neighborhood where we wanted to settle in. The trials that came with that blessing blew my mind! The oven broke on Thanksgiving Day while I was hosting the family. An infestation of huge flies invaded the boxes we had piled up in the sunroom because I just knew we would only be there for a few weeks. The plumbing backed up driving me to my parents house in Longview just before a nervous breakdown claimed my sanity. The only explanation came from Girl Child saying, “Meme, we have worms in our potty and diarrhea in our shower.” I still treasure my friends who reminded me to appreciate the blessing in this situation. I also treasure my friends who didn’t tell me how ungrateful I seemed. The Lord brought us through those tearful months and provided a great house and more friends and experiences and memories. That season of tears was ten years ago this month, and I can’t help but think how much God must love me to let this be our ten year church! His timing was perfect, and I don’t hesitate to ask for ten more!
By the way, I can’t imagine any life but the one I live as a minister’s wife, and if you were curious, I did not nor will I ever sing in the choir. You’re welcome!