I frequently get asked, “How do you do it?”
“It” being how I juggle being a wife, mother, pastor, and pastor’s wife.
In a certain season in my life, I was a full-time youth pastor, full-time grad school student, and a full-time mother, all the while trying to also be a supportive wife to a pastor with his own ministry as well. I was also pregnant for the majority of those years. Admittedly, it was a lot of hats to wear for one person.
But contrary to popular belief, I’m not very strong.
I think it’s easy for people to think I am because of the fruit they see — the growing ministry, the happy marriage, the thriving children. Most people see the happy, shining Instagram moments.
It’s a good impression at most, but the truth is that I am weak. At the end of the day, I like the way of most — comfortable and the least painful. I need a full night of sleep or I get moody the next day. I hate grass. I’m easily annoyed. I can worry a lot. Basically, I have feelings and needs too.
Yet, here I stand. So, how do I do it?
Here’s the quick answer: kingdom relationships.
All that I do is done by being in relationship with the Holy Spirit and His people.
You see, kingdom power flows through kingdom relationships. Therefore, the connections you cultivate with Jesus and with key Spirit-filled people are the channels through which you draw strength.
At a point in his ministry, Apostle Paul was in hopeless torment. Yet, in that torment, he called out to the one he loved most– Jesus. Jesus was Paul’s everything, and it was in his intimate relationship with Jesus that allowed him pray and receive the word, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). The voice of God breathed life back into his tired bones, and he ended up gladly boasting to the Corinthians.
Look at the paralyzed man in Mark 2. He did not have the capability to reach Jesus. He didn’t even have the faith to go after Him himself! Yet, this paralytic was surrounded by the right people, people that knew him, loved him, and believed in Christ. His relationship with them gave him the strength for breakthrough.
Once, when I was eight months pregnant and getting ready to go to church, my firstborn woke up from a nap. As I picked her up, she slapped my glasses off of my face. Perhaps it was my fatigue from studying the night before or the stress of having to quickly leave the house to beat traffic, but I lost it. I handed her to my husband and wailed in my room. I prepared for sermons while breastfeeding. I walked up to the pulpit countless number of Sundays on just one hour of sleep. There was another time when I was changing my first born’s diaper while sermon prepping. I felt this heavy sense of hopelessness within the core of my being and I remember saying to myself, “I can’t do this anymore.” I had my share of meltdowns, panic attacks, and blowouts. These moments are real.
But, I was never alone.
Sometimes, it’s easy to feel that you are alone because you become entrapped by your own sense of helplessness. I have had moments like this as well. And in those very moments, I had to make the choice to recognize those that were around me and the One who resided within me.
Elijah also had to make that choice. When he was running from Jezebel, he was exhausted and depressed. In fact, he wanted to die. He told God that he was the only prophet left in Israel, the only true believer (1 Kings 19). He felt alone, but he was not. In the end, what resurrected his spirit was the gentle whisper of God. He had to make the choice to listen to His voice, even through the heavy weight of his own negativity.
Even when I feel alone, I choose to acknowledge that I am surrounded.
My first source of rejuvenation is in my dear Holy Spirit. Sometimes, I would just lie in bed and soak in His Presence, not saying a word. Even when I’m too weak to say anything, He always breathes hope back into my soul.
My second source of encouragement is in my spiritual covering, my mentors and overseeing pastors. I enjoy being shepherded because what would normally take years for me to learn on my own can be gleaned from a 20-minute conversation with my spiritual mother.
My third source of empowerment is through spiritual community of friends and sons and daughters. They surround me with prayers because I ask for it. I open my heart to them because I value their place in my life. They are my accountability, my laughter, and my strength.
You see, the power to do it all does not come from me. Rather, it comes from God. It also comes from His people because He lives within them.
I can do it all because I never do it alone.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
— 2 Corinthians 12:9