#HopeForPastorsWives, From My Heart

From My Heart: Marvelous In My Eyes


Psalm 111:1-4: “Praise ye the Lord. I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation. The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. His work is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever. He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the Lord is gracious and full of compassion.”

Most of you know that recently I hosted a pastors’ wives conference at the Wilds Christian Camp and Conference Center in Brevard, NC. It’s taken me awhile to process all that God did during those 3 days together with such a fabulous group of sweet pastors’ wives. I say “all that God did” as if I know even a fraction of what He did and is still doing.

But this I do know now more than ever- God takes long years of suffering and pain and uses them to bring joy to our hearts and glory to Himself in His time. I’m still in awe that I’ve finally experienced joy to the same depth as the sorrow I’ve walked through. That had never happened to me until this significant event in my life. For this reason, it’s been so difficult to figure out what to tell you for a re-cap. This conference wasn’t just an event to me- it was a tying together of past, present, and future regarding God’s good purposes in suffering.

I felt like I was dreaming the entire time- it was so surreal to actually be seeing, touching, feeling how God redeems the unlikely, the broken, the painful, the confused, the devastated, the seemingly hopeless. Truly, there is no joy without suffering and sorrow. And for the committed believer, it is also true that no suffering and sorrow is without eventual joy.

So…..what should I share with you?

Should I tell you how God has, for years, continually brought pastors’ wives across my path in so many unusual ways and places, and how through that I realized that He was calling me to a very private and sensitive, yet very important ministry?

Should I tell you how a few years ago I started a small support/encouragement group for a few of my PW friends, never dreaming it would grow to 11 groups with about 400 PWs in them?

Should I tell you what a small world it is, and how God has let me meet SO many of these PWs, and how that is just the best thing ever when online becomes real life? Should I tell you how the Heart-to-Heart PWs started asking to meet in real life themselves, and so my team started brainstorming on how to make it happen?

Should I tell you that one year ago to the same dates of our conference this year, myself and my leadership team were together in Indiana meeting for the first time ourselves as well as discussing the future of our ministry and the possibility of a retreat?

Should I tell you that, when we began our sabbatical, I tried several times to attend a pastors’ wives retreat, a conference- something? I just needed something to help me heal. But doors closed, and God did not allow me to do it. Interestingly, I am attending a small pastors’ wives retreat in January. But what blows my mind now is that God had me host my own pastors’ wives retreat BEFORE He allowed me to attend one. If that isn’t testimony to His healing work, I don’t know what is.

Should I tell you how my husband and I showed up at the Wilds for a couples retreat last fall, having never been there before (minus myself at a ladies retreat) because of being out of country and in Canada for 10 years….and how I somehow found the boldness to walk into the office of a man I’d never met and ask him if he would consider letting me (a perfect stranger) host a pastors’ wives conference at the Wilds?

Should I tell you how the timing of God’s call on our lives for church planting in South Africa caused me to think that a pastors’ wives conference most certainly did not fit with our future, and how I started praying earnestly that the Wilds would tell me “no” so I wouldn’t have to be the one to say “Actually, never mind.” 

Should I tell you about the email I got just a few weeks later, titled “It is a go!” and my heart didn’t know what to do, except to be terrified and overjoyed at the same time? Should I tell you how I knew by this answer that God was in it, and was calling me to do it? And how this would prove to be very significant over the next few months when the doubts came?

Should I tell you about the roller coaster 9 months we had planning the conference, and how God kept me completely dependent on Him to bring the details together? Should I tell you how He made me wait until the last few weeks to let me see Him actually doing that?

Should I tell you how many times I asked myself in a panic, “What in the WORLD are you thinking?! Why in the WORLD did you agree to do this?!”

Should I tell you that I’m a dreamer, but that God has surrounded me with 9 AMAZING pastors’ wives (Laura, Beth, June, Lisa, Jennifer, Angela, Selena, Becky, Amy I’m looking at YOU!) who are my group leaders and team partners, and friends in this ministry? How I could never have done this without them, and how they are the hands and feet for my vision? How much work and prayer and gifts and encouragement they gave along the way as we made this thing a reality? Should I tell you how deeply I love these precious, Godly women that God has gathered around me?

Should I tell you how many donors and publishing companies and pastors’ wives and lay people gave generously, hilariously, in the form of hundreds of books and items to giveaway, so that we could spoil the pastors’ wives who attended? Should  I tell you how much joy I felt in being able to shower them with gifts? And how gift giving is my love language, and I often need to be restrained so I don’t give beyond my means….but how God smiled on me in this endeavor and left me in awe of what He gave me so I could give it away?

Should I tell you about the large check that was given to me by a person I’ve never met, but that he heard what we were doing and wanted to help….and how his check and financial gifts given by many others helped us cover our expenses in full? Should I tell you how many times I crunched the numbers, and they didn’t work out, until the very week of the conference? And how I laughed and cried for joy to see the abundant way God had provided for every single need?

Should I tell you about the sweet atmosphere that was prevalent at the conference, so obvious that multiple onlookers and attendees came to me the first night to tell me that “something special is happening here. God is doing something.” Should I tell you how I agreed with them, because I sensed it too,  and how I smiled and said “Yes, yes I know. This is what I asked Him for.”

Should I tell you how I’m totally a “behind the scenes” gal who would not normally choose to be up in front of people, but how God showered me with His incredible grace, thereby enabling me to speak about His incredible grace? Should I tell you how He removed every single ounce of anxiety and nervousness both times I got up to deliver a session, and throughout the entire conference?

Should I tell you how God tied the sessions together, and how many of the speakers chose the same Scripture passages without even realizing it ahead of time?

Should I tell you how my team and I prayed that God would bring only the pastors’ wives who needed the conference the most, and how at the end of it, as we looked back on our conversations and interactions, we knew that God had done just that? Should I tell you that pastors’ wives flew in from all over the USA (west coast, east coast, and all in between), and how one pastor’s wife caught a red eye flight all the way from Peru just to attend the conference? (And how that right there just left us in awe.)

Should I tell you how so many of us knew that the enemy was fighting our getting there by the bizarre circumstances we faced in the days leading up to the conference, but how our God prevailed and by His powerful arm He brought us all together?

Should I tell you that on the first night when I started my session, it was difficult to speak because I was looking into so many pain-filled eyes and tear stained faces? Should I tell you how, over the course of the conference, I watched God change the morale of the dear pastors’ wives there, and how by the end of our time together, I was looking into smiling faces and hope-filled eyes?

Should I tell you how vividly aware I was during the conference that God was rewarding me openly for months of private prayer by answering EVERYTHING I had asked Him for over the past 9 months, down to the minutest of details?

Should I tell you how it wasn’t a perfect conference, because it was the first time and there are always things we can do better (like more free time- ha!) but how incredibly smoothly it went and we somehow thought of everything, and how many people told me that “God was glorified in this.” 

And oh. That is all I wanted. Just to gather together pastors’ wives who needed thesupport of being together, the knowledge that they weren’t alone, infuse them with the hope that they can keep going one more day, one more week, month, year. Remind them of God’s grace and power, and of His good plans for them. Spoil them so they know they are deeply loved, pray for and with them, hug them, listen to them, laugh and cry with them. Pour into them as much as we could for a few days. Give them what I, as a pastor’s wife, so desperately needed and never got. Change the future. That’s all I wanted, and God gave me so much more.

The last night of the conference, I was presented with generous gifts that the attendees and the PWs in groups had collected to show their gratefulness for this ministry. And as grateful as I was/am for their thoughtful gifts, it completely took me by surprise, because I was already so overwhelmed by how they had gifted me- just by their presence there and in the groups. Just by the chance to bless and love on them. Just by being my friends. Just by seeing how God works all things together for good.  Just by being part of a dream come true. Just by seeing the hope creep back into their faces.

After breakfast on the last day, one pastor’s wife came to me, hugged me and whispered in my ear “I came a drought, and I’m leaving a well.”  Oh sister, that is what I prayed for.

I’ve just witnessed a miracle, so it’s no wonder I don’t have adequate words to describe what I’m feeling. I love how God likes to work in ways that leave us unable to find words. It’s no wonder I’m left speechless at how He has taken my own pain and turned it into a feast of hope for others.  And may it always be so.

Psalm 118:23 “This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in {my} eyes.” I’m humbled with awe and deeply grateful to my Hope Giver, my Grace Giver- the One Who redeems all things for His glory.


A Kindred Spirit

3 thoughts on “From My Heart: Marvelous In My Eyes

  1. Oh how I wish I could have been there! Thank you for all the hard work you put into preparing and executing the conference and for Live streaming it for those of us who could not be there. It was a blessing!

  2. I want to praise you to the sky! But since that would just embarrass you, and you’d defer the praise to Him, I’ll do that instead. I praise Him for the vision He gave you. I praise Him for the suffering He allowed you to go through, knowing that you’d use it as the gift He intended it to be. I praise Him for giving you courage not to quit when the path got rocky. I praise Him for gathering a band of sisters, holding us close to His heart, and sending us home with fresh courage. Praise Him! (And thank you, Leah.)

  3. I would have loved to have been there. I didn’t realize it was live streamed or I would have been online. I am anxiously waiting to be able to hear some of the recordings. I have started a savings fund so that I might be able to attend the next one all the way from the far east.

Comments are closed.