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20 years of Grace Part 2
Read the first part of this series here
Grace is an amazing mom to our five children. She works incredibly hard, never complains, and has sacrificed a great deal over the years for me, our children, and our ministry. She feels the pain of my critics and gets furious when people assume they know me, but have no idea, since they see me for an hour a week on the stage and have no clue who I am or what I am like the rest of my life with her and the kids. She’s had people pretend to be her friend just to try and get into our life because they want power, influence, and/or employment. She’s been cussed out by complete strangers for decisions the elders made that she had nothing to do with. She’s had to deal with people showing up at our home demanding our time and even threatening our family. She’s had to share me with the world and weep many times when I catch a flight. She’s had to serve ungrateful people who took so much of her time and energy that I became frustrated only to then receive even more demands and threats of anger or manipulative guilt if she did not continue to do what they wanted when they wanted how they wanted. Through it all she’s learned to be my friend. Grace is the one person I know will be with me in forty years. And I will still close my eyes every day and think about holding her hand then too.
Grace is not like me.
I can be brash, intense, overbearing, ill-worded, and the like. She is patient, loves to counsel people, has hope for everyone, and serves anyone. I learn a lot from her example, and praise God I have gotten to grow up with her through high school, conversion, and college, all the way from our teens to our thirties. This Sunday I will share her with Mars Hill Church and those who tune in online. When I preach the story of the Peasant Princess from the Song of Songs, I will be teaching from a series of love letters between a husband and wife. As we do often at Mars Hill, we will open up some time for live text-message questions from our campuses and, following the sermon, Grace and I will try our best to answer them so as to be of service.
To be honest, I’m a bit anxious. I’ve preached live to crowds of ten thousand people without even getting a bit nervous and could literally take a nap before getting up to preach. But the thought of having the person I love, cherish, and care for the most with me makes me anxious. I am Grace’s defender and protector and friend. I know that her role will be misunderstood by some, and her answers picked through by critics who have made it their life mission to act like Judas in the name of Jesus. So, before I share my Grace with you, I wanted you to pray for a few things, if you would.
1. Pray that people understand that she’s not preaching but rather practicing Titus 2 by coming in to answer women’s questions about marriage and sexuality that frankly I have no wisdom on as a man.
2. Pray that she and I do a good job threading the needle when answering the questions.
3. Pray that we can help the people in our church because we love them and have given our entire life to them.
4. Pray that people will understand that she is not an employee of the church, does not lead anything at the church, and as a mom with five young children is focused on her family in this season of life and cannot meet with all the women and deal with all the issues that some will want her to.
5. Pray that she and I will see more of our future through this process. Grace wants to work alongside of me in ministry for the rest of our lives and we’re wondering if, one day when our kids are grown and we’re in a different season of life, she should be teaching women and encouraging pastors’ wives, as that is her heart.
6. Pray that I honor her well publicly as I should.
7. Pray that I can get her to laugh loudly a few times from the stage because it’s awesome.