Monday, July 12, 2010

Developing a Long-term View of Life

Seminary can be hard on a married couple. Sure it seems romantic and exciting to pledge to work and support your husband while he slaves away at his studies for three or four years (or maybe more). Once reality sets in the anticipation can fall flat with the papers, late nights, and often other work that commands his attention. For some life as a seminary couple is a breeze. But for many that is simply not the case. It takes hard work and commitment—and it most definitely takes a good dose of the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying work.

I know for me it hasn’t been easy. I fell into the “romantic” ideals category when we got married a year and a half into my husband’s seminary career. I couldn’t wait to be the valiant, dutiful wife working hard to help pay the bills and keep a home for my husband. Conceptually it was a joy. Practically, I wasn’t so joyful.

Marriage alone is a big change. Couple that with the stress of immediately becoming a youth pastor’s wife (and a bi-vocational one at that) and a seminary wife. Needless to say, I didn’t adjust well. My life seemed so mundane compared to his. I just did the same thing every single day: get up before the sun rises, go to work, leave work, sit in traffic, make dinner, do various household things, and maybe write some if all of my other tasks were completed. But we also didn’t get to spend every evening together like I had always dreamed marriage would be (false expectation #1). Slowly my unmet expectations began to foster frustration towards Daniel. And that frustration turned to anger and moodiness. I needed some serious heart work.

What I failed to realize is that the call on my life to be a help to my husband (Gen. 2:18, Titus 2:4-5) isn’t always as glamorous as some women’s Bible studies make it out to be. It’s not easy, especially when a sinner like me embarks upon the task. The call to serve and support my husband in whatever avenue God calls him to is a call to first make war on the sin and pride that will try and overtake my soul. Left to myself I don’t want to serve. I want to do what I want to do.

It also requires a long-term view of where God is taking us. But isn’t that what the Christian life is all about? This moment is a blip on the screen of history, regardless of how drawn out it feels to us. And some days it might feel really drawn out.

Having a long-term view of our lives not only gets us through seminary, but it helps us in the ministry too. Stand alone circumstances can do a number on your soul and your sanity. Life is hard. Horrible things happen. But those days are not isolated from the greater story. They are simply a piece.

What I have learned in my brief time as a seminary wife is that all of events, trials, and even mundane activities are preparing me for something greater—ultimately heaven. As John Piper says, “For the Christian the best is always yet to come.” Satan would want nothing more than to distract us and keep us from the task, namely caring for our husbands right now, in this moment. If we spend our days dreaming of what it could be like at the end of the seminary road (or whatever road you are on) then we will miss the opportunity to be shaped and sanctified in the times that God has given us right now.


Crystal said...

I concur.

3 years down. 2 (hopefully) to go.

John8com said...

God bless you guys as you continue to serve the Lord though your marriage and with your lives.


Chelsea Bass said...

I learned a similar lesson in the earlier days of our marriage, and it still being shaped in my life now. Kyle was an intern making $500 a month, and I worked a full-time and a part-time job to support us. It was so much more challenging than I thought it would be!
I am so thankful for your always-thoughtful words, Courtney. Thank you for your gospel-centered blog. You are a big blessing to me from afar!

debt said...

Great post, Bean!! Thanks for your honesty and for seeing God's hand in all your circumstances through eyes of faith. He is in the mundane, even though we don't always see it, but He is there. Endure til' the end!!!

cdt said...

Crystal--I hope it is 2 years for you! Hold on, sister!

John8com--thanks for your prayers!

cdt said...

Chelsea! You are a blessing to me! Seriously. I honestly feel like I know you. I even talk to Daniel about your blog and Tweets like I know you. :) Maybe someday we can meet! It really can be so hard sometime to work full time. It is so much more exhausting than I ever thought it would be. I really thought it would be like working full time when I was single and it SO wasn't. Thanks for your encouragement. I appreciate it!

Mom! Thanks for reading and for your encouragement! Love you!

Laurin said...

Such a GREAT post, Courtney. I would definitely, definitely say that coming to seminary and adjusting to it was a life-changing, heart-changing (Praise the Lord) time in my life and continues to be. Oh, for more mercy to grasp that long-term view of life....eternity is what we are to be living for, His glory is our aim!