Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Minister's Wife

My late wife Mirjam was awarded a PhD for her study of attrition among women in missions. In 2007, she was interviewed about the role of a minister's wife -- to which she gave this more personal reply:
Interviewer: So, are there any specific difficulties you have in that role? Would you like to tell us about them?

Mirjam: Well, I can tell you one difficulty that I had, because of the way I understood my faith right from the start, which was basically – to be good. Even once I knew that Christ had worked out my salvation and that I didn’t have to earn it through being good, I still kept on wanting to be a good girl and later to be a good woman and later to be a good minister’s wife – not to earn heaven, but that’s what I believed the duty of Christians to be. There was a particular situation in the church, where there was a lot of strife.  I come from a family that is pacifist, where peace means a lot and in my own human strength I thought: No, I must work for peace here, there should be no conflict where Christians are. It caused me a lot of stress, because as I tried to put out little fires, others sprung up. Some sprung up high and some were just little fires, but it led me into a stressful situation to the extent that I felt things were beyond my control. It was through the counsel of a very wise Christian that I came to realise that it wasn’t my job to keep the peace, that was the Lord’s job, and  conflict sometimes was a necessary means for a Church to grow, and for Christians to grow, and confrontation sometimes was a means for Christians to grow. That insight was another very important event in my overall conversion, which I think is still an ongoing process, although I feel that my conversion experience as a twelve-year old was the crucial turning point. I learnt that it wasn’t me who had to bring about peace, but that I actually could hand it over to God. It was God’s business and He would see that things worked out to His glory. So He became a lot more to me: the One through whose strength I lived, to whom I could hand over my need to control and my need to keep harmony. That was a major event in my life – something that at my first conversion experience wasn’t an issue, although it was there seminally, in the way I was brought up – always be good – there came a time when being good just wasn’t good enough any more and God showed me another way, which was the way to let go and let Him do things.

No comments: