The Missionary’s Wife

Yep, that’s us. April 28, 2001. This picture represents a lot of things for me. It is a memory of our wedding day, obviously. But, it is also a memory of the day I became a wife, a role that has changed as much as we have in the almost 12 years since. I can honestly tell you that on that day neither of us had any idea the path that the Lord would lead us on. The foreign mission field was nowhere on our radar. And for me, melding the role of wife and missionary is still something I’m getting used to.

Quite often I’m referred to not as a missionary but as a missionary’s wife. I haven’t quite been able to understand why that is. Jonathan often jokes that I’m too American and “feminist” and that it isn’t meant as an insult. Trust me, I never take it as an insult, but I also don’t want to be discounted. Which leads me to what I am learning to be one of the most important parts of being a Christian, missionary, wife and mother. One thing that has slowly (mainly because I’m hard headed) become revealed to me about being a “missionary’s wife” is humility.

In years that Jonathan and I have been married, I  have always been the talker, the social butterfly. Not just in my marriage but over all. Even as a child (maybe it is the role of the youngest) I loved to be the center of attention. It is a difficult transition to move to the seat behind while my husband and my child take center stage. As I continue on my Christian walk I think I’m getting a better understanding of the “imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4 HCSB).

The reality is that I have to humbly accept that this life is not my own, I belong to the Lord. I have to live according to His will and though it is a day to day struggle with self, I do want the richness of what the Lord has for me, even if I don’t fully understand it. I also belong to my husband and in doing so I should seek to put his needs before mine and bolster and support him as he seeks to live out the will of God. When I became a mother my life and needs shifted once again to meet the needs of my children and to do all I can to assure their growth physically, mentally and spiritually.

I have to tell you, I had no idea on my wedding day the full weight of what marriage really meant.  And, in turn, when we moved into full time foreign missions I had no grasp on what the life of a missionary’s wife would really look like. I’m learning slowly to humble myself and be satisfied with all the value of my work, quietly.

He leads the humble in what is right and teaches them His way. Psalm 25:9

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3 comments

  1. Great message Jess! Great insite for all Christian women. In a way we are all missionaries wives in our own worlds if our husbands are striving to serve the Lord wherever they are. You are beautiful wife mother and missionary.

  2. It’s interesting that you said that. Jess actually had a line in her post that said that you don’t have to leave your country, your city, or you neighborhood to be a missionary. That we can all be missionaries where ever God puts us. I took the comment out, because it didn’t mix with her main topic. So I’m glad that you brought it back up.

  3. I admire your honesty and love that you recognize your place in God’s work. It is difficult for most women to be behind the spot light. We love the attention. I know I do, but God’s works cannot be glorified if we are always in the way. Thanks for sharing your story. You are an amazing woman and I know that God sees your works, even if no one else does. Love you Jess!

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