At the age of seventeen I was convinced that college would help me find my place in the music ministry; I started but did not finish that curriculum.
Beginning work at the local bank, my hope was to gain a foothold at the bottom and work my way to the top. That was not the place either.
I married. My first leading role began when our children were small, as Jerry in his job traveled out of state and the country. Filling his role and mine was not the kind of leadership I had hoped for.
Our son and daughter grew up and married. Afterward, I was still looking for my place. A building and decorating business was not the place. I then thought it was within the church, where I labored diligently in teaching youth and women, writing curriculum for Bible study, singing and directing children’s choirs. At one time I thought that the Lord was leading me to become a minister of the gospel. (This is how drawn I was to God’s word.) That changed however, after more study and discernment of His word by His Holy Spirit.
My thoughts changed to that of leading a ministry for women. That did not happen as I had imagined. Instead I served twelve years, as pianist in a small Baptist church and helped to train four of my grandchildren. Later, at the same time we were caring for two of our grandchildren, Jerry and I for four years cared for my mother as she was being overcome with dementia. She died ten years ago. The grandchildren have grown up; one has married and has her first child; one is in her third year in college; three are in high school; and the youngest is in middle school.
Put Out to Pasture
Coming through different ages, phases, and stages, I thought that my chances of fulfilling my destiny had passed. Thinking that I was put out to pasture did not seem palatable for me. Where did all the years go? Why had I not realized my own dreams, thinking that what I had wanted was for God’s glory?
As all other opportunities dwindled, I supposed that I might devote my time to writing, which I have done for twenty-five years. This idea took flight, even with the thoughts of publishing. That idea was squelched as I knew the only reason I wanted to write was to leave a legacy for future generations. My love for writing has never been in the writing itself, but the content which was a result of the Lord’s working in my life. Now I thought, as Paul, when he said, “Woe is me if I don’t preach the gospel,” Since I had no other responsibilities, I thought, surely it is God’s will for me to write, now. But, the Lord took me aside and you can probably guess the rest.
In the last ten years, since Jerry’s leg amputation two months after Mother’s death, I have been learning to be his caregiver. I have found my place ~ not of leadership, but of a true servant, all to God’s glory and my joy. A sheep’s view is the only place for me in this world. I have been humbled, and whether or not I will be exalted in the new creation does not matter. Just to be at the feet of the Shepherd, to hear His voice, to look up and see the Master and His hand upon me, is all that matters.
Theologians can speak, preach, teach and lead where they are. They have their place. We, as sheep, have ours. No longer seeking others to follow me, my desire is only to follow closely and carefully; diligently seeking His kingdom and His righteousness above all things. If others see a light within me, it is so that they know that light as Christ, and desire to follow Him. I don’t feel that I have to write anymore. The Lord is simply opening a few minutes here or there and leading me when and what to write from the overflow that He continues to pour out.
John the Baptist confessed that he was not the light, but came to bear witness of that life that was the true light of men. (John 1:8)
From a sheep’s view, I can now see that the role of a wife is the most rewarding of any I could have found in this world. Having come almost full-circle to where I started as the daughter of the Most High God, I find this role of Jerry’s wife to be the one that God had planned for me from the beginning. I was blinded by the madness of this world from seeing, enjoying and fulfilling this role to its full extent. I was looking for my place in the world instead of in God’s will and at home. As the older woman, I can only say at this point to the younger, “Pray that the Lord will open your eyes to the blessing of being a wife.” Whether or not you can have children does not matter in this blessing. If you do have children, the Lord will bless them through your love, service, and obedience to your husband. (More about this as the Lord chooses.)
“I believe that God created me to be Jerry’s helpmate. It has taken all these years for me to see and understand this. There is a popular book, written for wives, titled Created to be His Helpmate. When I saw it, I thought that a simpler expression, “created to be his” summed up the whole matter of my life. My life is meant to be a counterpart of Jerry’s life. As I continue to follow Christ, in denying myself, and taking up my cross daily, He is also showing me that I was created to be His. This is all worked out in my care for Jerry; as unto the Lord.” Two Full Plates ~ Learning to Be a Caregiver
I am still learning that, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (Philippians 4:11) I no longer live in a dream world, but in the light and reality of God’s will and promises. Out of the madness, through the sadness of not realizing my own potential as a woman, the Lord has led me into the gladness of his presence and power to thrive in the midst of the madness; praying for this deliverance and blessed LIFE for others.
A sheep’s view is the only place from which we can see all that the Shepherd wants us to see, which will be more than we will ever see in places higher up.
A true leader is one who has had a real view of where the followers are ~ one who has been there as a follower.
He who has never been content as a servant will never be content as a king.
Dear Father, thank you for your grace that draws us to your Son, Jesus Christ, the Shepherd that leads us in the paths of righteousness for your name’s sake; for your Holy Spirit that enables us to believe and obey and continues to sanctify us and show us your will and way as you reveal your work in us. Lead us as we continue to follow Christ as His servant and to serve others for your glory. This is our joy as you are preparing us for the eternal glory that you have promised in Christ. In His name I pray and praise you. Amen.
Update: January 28, 2017. Ten years after Jerry’s amputation and a heart attack in December 2015, we have published six of our books, another to be published next month. The Lord has blessed phenomenally through these last two years to lead us in this endeavor, so as to donate profits from our books to missions and charity. A sheep can never be happier than when he/she stays close to the shepherd. You can find our books on Amazon. ~ Fran