5 Lessons I have learned from the Pew… (Sorry, I can’t see over your hat)

What comes to mind when you think of the quintessential role of “First-lady” ….

Big Church Hat
2nd Pew
Fancy, bright colored suit
Michelle Obama... Melenia Trump… Ivana Trump? Lol
…stuck in box

It’s been 1 complete year since Justin have journeyed to this strange land completely guided by the voice of God. I knew without a doubt that pastoring in Rhode Island is where God had us, but didn’t know the extent of which we would be stretched, pruned, but grow. I loved everything about the adventure but wasn’t so thrilled of the leading role as “First Lady.”  Those two words are like nails to chalkboard it cringes my soul. I adore being Justin’s wife and best friend but the assignment of “first-ladyom” is an assignment where God is growing me, which makes him such a Funny God.

I realized that in many assignments that God gives, the student is sometimes less than eager to embark on the Journey. I am reminded of the prophets of old, especially Jeremiah, who wanted to just crawl under a rock when God told him he had a job for Him. He even had to write an entire book on Lamenting (Lamentations) because of the assignment God gave him. But God being God perfectly tailors His purpose for our lives. So here are 3 lessons this 29-year-old girl has learned from Christ’s 198-year-old bride

1.      The real first lady is the Church.

If I ever thought the role of “FL” was ever about me I was completely delusional. I believe that’s where a lot of my counterparts go wrong. It never was, is, has been about me, it’s about the Christ’s bride, the Church. She’s the real MVFL (Most valuable first lady). So although the anniversary tea was cute, it pales in comparision to the real woman. Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:27 that Christ is coming back for his bride without spot or wrinkle. The moment I think it’s about me, is the moment I tap dance with muddy shoes on the perfection God desires of his bride. My husband, Justin reminds me all the time, the church belongs to Christ and he will take care of it. You are my Bride and I take care of you (excuse me while I melt lol).  Although I am married to the pastor, my Job is solely to serve the queen to our king.

2.      Someone’s freedom is on the other side of being myself

I came to our current church, where my Husband serves as pastor, with this pre-conceived notion that I had to be someone that I wasn’t. I had to be this lady the people of church desired me to be instead of the women God created me to be. I was so caught up in the prison of my own mind that I initially didn’t see the opportunity of ministry of being myself. Through the Grace of God, I broke free and the air is definitely better out here. On any given Wednesday, you can find me in classic Starbuck mom appeal (you know, the yoga pants and pullover), or on Sunday wearing whatever my heart desires... skirts, dresses, jeggings, and sneakers (not all at once, but that might be cool). I choose my seat based solely on availability of space, sometimes that’s the front, back left or right or to anyone who waves me over signaling an open seat, as if I am visitor for the first time.  I believe my ability to be free in the Grace of God has lead others to abandon the chains of their own freedom and remove any barriers to Christ.

3.      Who really cares?

The church in which we serve has some of the most gracious people ever. I sometimes have to repent on how I thought they would treat me.  I remember around the time I had my sweet baby boy Camden, it took me awhile to want to return to church because I kept creating social anxiety scenarios in my head over and over. I would sit at home with my new baby and think in a sing-songy voice “What if he just starts crying and I can’t soothe him? What if he throws up everywhere? What if he has a blow out in church?” My mind would not stop with the “what ifs.” When I finally returned to church, Cam cried and it took me awhile to soothe him but I looked up in that moment and realized that NO ONE CARED and I mean that in the best way possible. No one was judging me or even looking my direction. How dare I assume to take the attention from God and put it on my fresh mom skills.

It all boils down to this, when it comes to the role of “FL” it all in the mind.  I believed all eyes were on me and they are, but what I do with those eyes is what makes the difference.   Now don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people in the church who believe that the pastor and his family have some type of perfected blood and if you step out of bounds of that perfection than somehow you can’t be who you say you are. But I love the bible because it shows God’s record of picking hot messes like me, saved by His grace. I came to realization that people are indeed looking at me and probably are going to judge to see how I handle situations but how beautiful is it that I can bring Jesus in every situation. Yes, my baby cries like yours and yes, like you, mama I have no clue what to do, but Jesus said I conquered the world and that is more than enough for me.

So, know the truth, be free, and no one really cares!

Courtney