Letting Go of What I Know
Originally published on Proverbs 31 Devotions on May 18, 2022.
With the last of our things loaded, we are closing the door on this chapter of our lives. My husband has quit his job as a pastor, and I am saying goodbye to what has been my identity for more than two decades — being a pastor’s wife.
For years I have shepherded women, praying with and encouraging them, teaching the Word and leading small groups, equipping them to use their gifts and lives for God. I know God’s gifts and calling on my life are irrevocable, (Romans 11:29) and I have loved this role in the body of Christ, but due to church leadership changes and with wise counseling, it’s time to go.
This abrupt decision includes a cross-country move away from our beloved community.
My husband and I have no vision, no income or plan. We just pack up and leave, trusting God to provide. But the pastor’s wife who touted the words “Don’t worry! God will provide!” when others struggled is now the woman who tosses those words aside.
Not only am I scared for how we will feed our family, but I am scared for myself … Who am I if not a pastor’s wife? What do I do if I’m not serving in these ways?
Suddenly I feel 6 years old, as if God has put me in timeout. I squirm on my carpet square, picking my fingernails, shame washing over me while others look on. I can hear whispers behind pointing fingers and laughing faces. But in reality, I am a grown woman believing the enemy’s lie: You’re finished. God is done with you. You’ve failed.
In 2 Chronicles 20, King Jehoshaphat understood fear of the unknown. He was leading God’s people, and suddenly an enemy was coming to destroy him — he was terrified.
The last time he had been in this situation, he had taken things into his own hands to fight his enemy head-on, and he almost lost his life. He needed to do things differently this time.
Was he still terrified? Yep. But this time, he resolved to inquire of the Lord. So he gathered God’s people together to fast and pray, ending his prayer with our key verse, 2 Chronicles 20:12: “… For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
The enemy was coming fast and furious, and the natural response would have been to get into position quickly to fight. Instead, King Jehoshaphat slowed down, acknowledged God, asked for His help, admitted his own weakness and waited. (2 Chronicles 20:3-13)
How many times, and especially now, am I quick to figure out a fix to my failure? To jump in full force to solve it so I don’t have to sit in the discomfort or fear of the unknown? I don’t like pain. And I don’t have patience. I want peace. Now.
As my inner 6-year-old squirms on her timeout square, I decide to pray like King Jehoshaphat — Lord, I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are on You.
As I wait, He speaks. This is not a timeout because I’m in trouble. It’s because I’m wounded. This new season is a time to restore, renew and rehabilitate. It’s a time for my God to teach and train me and ultimately transform me. Because sometimes God doesn’t fix our problems; instead, He wants to fix us in them.
My heart still stirs to use my gifts in the body of Christ. This passion pushes me to show up for my time with God. Hope is being restored as my character matures.
Often God’s plan doesn’t make sense to me, but as I’m leaning into His steps instead of my own, I can trust His path is good.
Lord, thank You for the timeouts in my life when you lovingly teach, train and transform me. I admit to You my fears and shame for feeling useless and helpless and even angry when things don’t go my way. Help me lean into Your way of things and enjoy Your presence more fully. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.