Written by: Michelle Muncy
I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. John 17:4b NKJV
It’s happening again. If you are a pastor’s wife, I’m sure you have been there. The moment you realize the Lord is calling you away from your current ministry on to something new. Rob laughs at me because I begin to save boxes months before we ever know we are moving. Closets start to get cleaned out and I just ‘know’. I guess the Lord realizes I need more time than Rob to adjust. The problem with moving is saying goodbye: to ministries, to loved ones, to dreams that never will be. It is bittersweet because you know the Lord is moving you for a purpose but it is still so hard so say goodbye.
Of course, there are also those ministries we can’t wait to leave. The ministry that is so painful but the Lord has yet to release you. Once, I wanted to leave so badly; I had our entire house packed in the garage for over a year. The house was so sparse we never had anyone over. When the Lord finally called us away, we cried for joy.
But this time is different for us; it ‘s tough to leave. The biggest change, two of our children have grown up, married and are staying behind along with our first grandson. It makes it so much harder. A friend came over yesterday to help us unload the attic. He said it looked like an episode of hoarders. We still have boxes of childhood toys and stuffed animals, boxes of beautiful “art” projects, and, of course, each child’s baby box. I told him since the kids have no storage space it will all be coming with us. The kids told me to quit blaming them because they don’t want it. I suppose it’s me. Call me sentimental, but it’s hard to let go of those things when the memories are so clear. Their first baby blankets, their first treasures, their favorite stuffed animal worn and shaggy, how do I let these go?
While serving here, we have started multiple ministries. We have poured our lives into them. The counseling center, the food bank, nursing home, prison, ministerial alliance, and so many more have a special place in our hearts as each ministry represents people we love. It makes me wonder how Jesus did it. He poured himself into all those he came in contact, knowing his time was fleeting, all the while loving them well. On a much smaller scale, that’s how I feel. Imperfectly, I want to love each one well, knowing in each new place our time is fleeting. Having loved so hard, it makes me want to draw back from our new place of ministry so it won’t hurt as much when God calls us from there.
I know this would not honor Him. Jesus calls Christians to be known by our love for one another. I think that perhaps that made the cross easier to bare; knowing he did it for those he loved. That includes us. Those in ministry that are called to serve in hard places and those who are called to move from those they love. We do it because of our love for Jesus. Eternity will be the time for enjoying fellowship and the fruits of our labor, but here on earth, we have a job to do. Unfortunately sometimes that job is hard and involves goodbyes we don’t wish to make.
This place of ministry has been a season of healing and growth. We have planted new ministries that will continue to flourish without us and made eternal friendships. Despite the pain, we will open our hearts to our new ministry and keep up with our children and grandson on facetime and holiday visits. Others who don’t understand this kind of sacrifice tell us to stay or we will regret leaving our family, but we have heard the call, and we will follow. Eternity is our focus; our lives are not our own. Though we have prayed for the Lord to take this cup from us, we have also surrendered to His will. Maybe you too are being asked to do something painful, something you do not wish to do, or maybe you are away from your family and missing them. Know this dear sister, though we “pour ourselves out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of our faith” we can rejoice with one another. (Phil 2:17-18) We will take heart that one day we will hear those words, “Well done thy good and faithful servant” (Matt 25:21).
Your sister in Christ,
Michelle Muncy is a Marriage and Family Counselor in Kentucky and is passionate about bringing healing to the brokenhearted. Married to her husband Rob for over 25 years, she is currently working on her PhD in Psychology and Counseling from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary while her husband serves as Senior Pastor in Kentucky. Rob and Michelle have two grown children, one teenager, one son-in-law and now a wonderful new grandson. Having faced and overcome many trials in their lives including miscarriages, financial hardships, cancer, numerous moves and the diagnosis of fibromyalgia for their oldest daughter and a pituitary tumor in their son, Michelle still testifies to the goodness of God. Bringing her training as well as her talents to the service of the Lord, Michelle is a gifted speaker, singer, and writer who loves to share her passion for God with others.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10 ESV)