Character Development, Energize Your Ministry, Life in the Glass House, Mother Well in Ministry, Relationships

Why Feelings Matter In Ministry


She sat on my lap during our daily Bible time, her warm cheek smashed up against mine and her breath coming in tiny puffs as she listened. I was reading the next lesson in our special book “Leading Little Ones to God.” The chapter was “God’s Children Think About Him” and we read of how much God thinks of us, and how we should be thinking of Him always throughout the day. I finished the lesson and asked the thought provoking questions at the end- one question for Small Son, then one question for Tiny Daughter.

“Did you think about God this morning yet?” I asked her, separating our cheeks for a moment so I could see her eyes. She nodded, eyes wide and brown.

“That’s good. And what made you think of God?” I continued. She stuck out her little hand and I felt her pointy finger poke into my shoulder. Thinking she was just playing around,  I repeated the question:

“What made you think about God this morning?” And her words surprised me more than the moment she was born and they told me that she really was a girl. She was a heart connector from the moment she took her first breath. And still I felt her tiny breaths on my neck as she answered,


 Stunned, I made sure I had heard this word correctly.

“Me? I made you think about God? How…why…what did Mommy do?”

“You like us and love us,” she said with a baby tone in her voice and the arms snaking around my back. Cheek found its place again nestled up to mine and the tiny breaths puffed in satisfaction.

I’m not sure there’s anything more humbling in all the world than having your child tell you that you made her think about God this morning.

There are days when I feel like a better wife than mother. There are days when I feel like a better mother than wife. Days still when I feel like a better pastor’s wife than mother….than just wife, minus the pastor part.  And there are days when I feel like a better mother than pastor’s wife. So the cycle goes, juggling and balancing, always learning how to excel at all three main roles…always figuring out how not to begin lacking in one area simply as the result of excelling in another.

I don’t know where I read it, but one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever seen/been given is this:

Love well the person right in front of you.

This is the secret to excelling in our many roles. That person in front of you is your world. Be it your husband, be it one of your children, be it one of your church ladies, be it that person in town who you’ve never laid eyes on before but they are providing a service for you- love those people well- one at a time.

People won’t always remember what you say or do, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel.

As I thought back over the morning, I couldn’t remember any specific act that would have directly caused Tiny Daughter to think about God. Sure, we talk about God all through our days. But the morning was young, and the day had just begun. All I could remember was a series of simple things- peeling off jammies, discarding a crumpled pull-up and picking out panties and a pretty dress, combing tangled hairs and installing a hairbow, rocking her doll {who is apparently my granddaughter}, feeding a cereal breakfast with fruit and vitamins, sneaking in a few kisses and hugs….all normal stuff.

But to Tiny Daughter, it shouted, “I love you. I like you.” And that led her to think about God.

In our relationships, feelings aren’t everything, but they are something. Good feelings aren’t our main goal, but they do matter. And of course, while we are busy speaking the truth in love, we won’t always make people feel good with what we have to say. But in a general sense, how are we making “our” people feel? Is our example leading them to think about God? Do they feel loved and liked? As with all relationship dynamics, this is a work in progress- something that God can cultivate in our hearts toward others.

And this is why feelings matter- both at home and at church.

Let’s Chat: Do you struggle with balancing your family ministry and church ministry roles? How is God teaching you to “love well the person in front of you?”  Do you sometimes feel that one role suffers if another role excels?

Pastors’ wives, do you need support and encouragement? Join us in the NEW Heart to Heart group on Facebook, a ministry arm of Embracing Grace. This is a private group that will eventually replace the support forum here on the website. Click on the link and request to join- we’d love to have you!

8 thoughts on “Why Feelings Matter In Ministry

  1. This was wonderful. What a blessing to carry with you forever!! It doesn’t get any better.
    On the hard days let your mind drift back to that moment. God gave it to you for a reason.
    Thankful for your ministry in Canada!!!

  2. She is right. It is “Y.O.U.”
    From the first day that I met you, I can feel that gentle sweet spirit
    on you, I can sense your deep love for your Lord , your faith is
    steadfast, it had been a few years now, seeing you through a few
    difficult trials, you still maintain that same faith and that same
    love, your impact on your children beyond measure. Feel bless
    to have you in our lives.

  3. Leah this was really thought provoking. This really helped me to think about how I might make someone feel… With my words, my demeanor, my actions. Thanks for this!

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