"That's going to be my husband." Those were the words I stated to my cousin the first time I laid eyes on the tall, chocolate brother I saw standing outside of the church I was visiting for the first time. I knew nothing about him, not who he was and certainly not Whose he was. We exchanged numbers that day, went on our first date the following Friday and essentially moved in together by Monday. It seriously happened that quick. It didn't take long for me to find out that the tall, chocolate brother, was actually the Pastors youngest son and I had walked into a spotlight I wasn't ready to be seen under. One week I walked in as a visitor and the next week I walked in as the new girlfriend of the biggest catch in the church, but to me he was just Josh.
As we began to get to know each other it began quite obvious that we were exact opposites. He was the youngest of his father's three sons, laid back, loud, spoiled, and a true comedian. I was serious, direct, a hard worker and had never had a thing handed to me. The one thing we did have in common was that we had both approached a time in our life where God had given us a final ultimatum, and we were each others heaven sent angels.
When I met Josh I was a single mom, I had no vehicle, I was working full time at a medical office, my son was in daycare, I had just gotten my own place in New Britain and I was broken. Josh had no children, was living in the house his mom left for him and his siblings, was driving a Jaguar and was hustling. Hustling was an immediate no-no for me. So we agreed that until he was able to secure a legit job, I would hold us down. I helped him find a position through a temp agency which turned out to be great. Josh and my son hit it off immediately and it wasn't long before he was calling Josh daddy. Life was looking up, at home at least.
We went to church every Sunday. Josh was a musician but not only that, even in the midst of his mess, he was committed to being at church on Sundays. Church wasn't new to me as I have always been involved in church as a child, but as an adult, this was something I would need to get used to. Week after week I would attend church. I would sit in a pew on the right hand side, in the middle of the section, with my son, and I would hear the saints whisper about me. I would feel them looking me up and down as they cast judgement toward me. Everyone wanted to know where I came from. All types of stories began to manifest and I had no time for it. Every time someone approached me with a slick comment I returned a slick response. It got to the point where whenever I came through those doors I put my guard up. Josh's favorite response whenever I complained to him was, "Who cares what they say, their not doing anything for you." It was easy for him to say but much harder for me to accept.
As time went on, we discussed marriage and starting a family. He was always very clear that he wouldn't rush into marriage unless he was sure I was the one, and I was very clear that I was not about to be playing house for years.
On July 4th, 2007, ten months after meeting, Josh proposed to me at a church picnic in front of all of our close family and friends. I was completely surprised. Our families wanted us to have the big wedding but we knew we didn't want to wait. There was a heaviness on our hearts about living in sin. We both knew better and as we were growing together, our walk with Christ was becoming more important. So on August 16, 2007, in a small ceremony with just our parents, at his parents house, we pledged our love toward each other and took vows to love, honor, and protect each other in both good times and bad. We later had our big wedding in November of that same year.
This was the beginning of when I realized that the calling Josh had on his life was real. For the next few years his parents began to groom us for what was to come. I won't say that I resisted, but I refused to be anyone other than myself. The problem was that "myself" had a dangerous tongue game, trusted absolutely no one and had no patience for any nonsense and I was unashamed of my past. I was definitely not what the wife of a man who was called to ministry looked like. Unfortunately for Josh, this meant that he was often put in uncomfortable positions that required him to have my back in public and then chastise me in private. I was not used to being chastised, especially when I felt I was right and was not being supported by my husband, so a simple conversation would be escalated to an all out argument real quick. Needless to say we didn't have good communication skills at all during those first few years of marriage.
One Sunday, a guest preacher came to our church. He had known Josh and his family for many years and also knew my family as well. In the middle of his sermon, he called us out. In front of the entire congregation he began to prophesy to us. He told us all that God had in store for us and it scared the living day lights out of me. I just wanted to be married and in love. I wasn't trying to be deeply involved in ministry. I knew Josh was called but I figured his calling had nothing to do with me. Boy was I wrong.
Josh was getting closer to accepting and publicly acknowledging the call to preach. Meanwhile, I found myself angry; angry at the church. The very place that God was calling my husband to serve in. I was tired of people ignoring my presence as a wife. I was tired of the whispering and the judgement. I was tired of feeling like I couldn't be free in Christ because the saints didn't like what my freedom looked like. So week after week I came to church wearing a mask. Suppressing all that I knew God had in store for me and becoming ashamed of my own story. I felt like I wasn't good enough.
God had to do some real work on my heart and that's exactly what he did. First I had to be honest with who I was and acknowledge that I wasn't always right, I did more speaking than listening, not everyone was against me, and that was stopping my own growth. I did a lot of crying, a lot of asking God why me? if it was going to take this much work to get me where I needed to be, why not choose someone else who was further along and more equipped for the calling? When he spoke he spoke clearly, this wasn't about Josh. This wasn't about his calling, this was about Sana. This was about Sana's calling. He had given me enough time to get myself together, I hadn't heeded the call and now my anointing was on the line.
During Josh's initial sermon I was at the lowest point of our marriage. God was still working on my heart and it was painful. Through it all, I still had a job to do as a wife. A purpose to fulfill. God was elevating my husband and I had a position to play. I was so excited to see my husband accepting and walking into the call God had in his life. He did it with ease. Full of so many dreams and ideas for the youth of our church and he was quickly announced as the Youth Director. As he began to put things in order I fell into place as well. Whatever capacity he required of me I was there to fulfill it. We decided that he would focus on solely on ministry and the needs of the church. I continued to work my full time job and support us financially during the day and then assist him in the evenings. Although we were opposites, we each held a gift that was needed to achieve the vision that our Pastor had for our church and specifically, the youth department. God continued to work on my heart and I was finally in a place where my heart was healed. My heart started to change when I realized that the people in my church who were causing me grief deserved the same measure of grace that God had given to me.They were human too. God was still working in their hearts. They needed his redemptive work in their words and relationships just as much as I did.
And you know what else? They were not my responsibility. God has called me to submit my own tongue, my own actions, and my own heart to His lordship. For me, that included letting Him show me how to fall in love with His bride, the church, even when she didn't behave perfectly.
It wasn't long before I began to feel God urging my heart to fulfill my purpose as a sinner saved by grace. That meant I needed to tell my story. I needed to be present for young women who were struggling with the heaviness of life. Those women that God had purposely connected to my purpose. But where did I start. How could I focus on those things when I was working 60+ hours per week at my secular job and then working alongside my husband and inlaws in ministry. Not to mention I was a mom of two busy children who desired my attention. Excuses. So many excuses. I had to acknowledge my fears and push myself past them. There was a work he was calling me to do and he was tired of my excuses….and my fear.
My husband was finally recognizing that there was much more to me than just being his wife. He began to urge me to do the things I had shared with him, the things God had placed on my heart. I worked tirelessly and from it came Pearls of Grace. My first event that was geared toward empowering women who looked like me, who felt like me and who desired more of God in every area of their lives. At the end of the evening I felt liberated, but most of all, God had received the Glory.
Free. That's how I finally felt, free. I had finally gotten to a place of true freedom in Christ. Free to be me along side a giant.
Why am I telling you this?
Because some of you are where I once was. I understand the pain that some of you are feeling. The expectations that others have placed on you have become a burden that feels too heavy to bear. This isn’t what you signed up for.
I know you’ve faced unrealistic expectations, unfair standards, and harsh criticism. Why? Because you are worshipping alongside imperfect people. But you all have something in common, your worshipping a perfect God. A God who has a will and purpose for their life just as well as yours.
I categorize myself as a novice preacher’s wife, I am still learning, growing and navigating my way through this very unique role. I still really don’t know what I am doing and just strive to be my authentic self. I thank God on a regular basis for my Giant. God used him to save me from myself.
I am by no means your regular Preachers Wife, and I am okay with that. I'm an open book, and these are my confessions.