In response to my last post, I had a friend ask me some questions about where I am and want to be. She asked some great questions and some of the last ones, I can’t answer yet. I really appreciated her thought-provoking question and the time she spent in typing them all out. Here is the e-mail conversation that we had:

(Friend’s questions in dark orange): I read your blog and also your sermon from Jan. 4th. It was good….a lot of good points and thoughts! I enjoyed reading it. (My answers in green) Thank you!

I read your blog from yesterday….you raised several questions for me. You said you and Chris are very competitive …So, I have several questions for you. Why did you get your ministerial license?I did it because while I didn’t plan to, I felt God leading me that way at the time. I guess I always felt called to be a pastor’s wife, but it seems that God is transforming me slowly into more than that. I could never have done it if I didn’t feel it was right. I am too lazy to go to all that work if I’m not sure I have to. I really don’t enjoy preaching at ALL! But, I know that is where I ‘m supposed to be right now. I hope I will grow to love it. I do love being in ministry and doing more than the average wife. I enjoy voting and having a say in what happens in the AG, too. Also, I have filled in for my mom’s church which is something that I consider my own ministry. I mean I wouldn’t have done it if I was riding on the heels of my husband.

Do you have your own call from God to preach or did you do it because Chris did?I guess I skipped ahead and answered that already, huh? :)Would you be in ministry even if you weren’t married to a preacher? 3 years ago, I would have said… “I don’t know”. Now, if Chris died, I would continue at this church as their pastor if they let me (and I believe they would). So, yes, I would. Absolutely.

How would going back to school effect your ministry and those who you are currently serving? Good question, I guess I think the biggest help would be long term in that even though it’s a small church, we would have a better chance of staying here if I had alternative income as well as what we both make preaching. As far as the effect of the extra time, I am truly unsure. But, if it’s what God wants, that will work out.

As far as a greater Theological Degree, do you really need that for God to use you in the capacity that he has chosen to use you in? You can always read and study yourself to improve in your Theological studies. Now if you felt lead to teach in a college setting etc., then yes you would need the further studies and degrees. Very true, I am just trying to reconcile my two halves I guess.

Other questions to ask yourself as far as returning to school for your Graphics Degree are…How would you use your degree and what jobs are available in your area to use your degree? I believe that I would be able to find something. When I first moved here was when I applied for the job that I wrote about. I could always work at a paper and they are everywhere. I would use my degree to pay off our huge loans that we already have from Bible college that we haven’t been able to even touch with our current salary. But I really feel called to do graphic design for church plants or other small churches that can’t afford to pay a graphic designer. Churches that could greatly benefit from a face-lift to the community so to speak. I want to be able to this for them at cost or on a sliding scale fee system. Very cheaply at least.

If your interests are really in photography, why waste money on a design graphics degree. Wouldn’t it be better to put that money towards something you really love, photography classes and equipment? That is what I am considering at the moment, but I think your questions have made me realize the answer. The photography would be loads of fun, but it wouldn’t get me the rest of the training I need in order to do what I really want – cheap design for small churches.

Can you afford to return to school without it putting to much financial strain on your marriage? Um…I can’t afford it without more loans, but we have so many already that getting the training to actually get a real job would actually be putting us ahead. If I start in the fall, it would defer my undergrad loans till I’m done and could get a job and hopefully finally make some progress on all our loans. I know it’s not the best plan, but I don’t see any other way of getting out of where we are. We just don’t get paid enough. I pray our church will grow, but I must be patient. All things in God’s time. Maybe this waiting time is the right time to take the action needed for me to be comfortable and confident with my skills.

Also write out the pros and cons of how going back to school would effect your family time and time spent with your children, church time, personal time. When would you do your classes, projects and work outside the home? Would the greater stress be more harmful to you emotionally right now with the depression? or would it be your escape? Yes, very good things to do. I think that it would be helpful to be going somewhere. It would be added stress as well, though. I have to figure out which would be better. These last questions are great ones to pray over.

Just some things to really think about and talk out with your hubby. I know I have raised more questions than I have given any answers for, but they are things that you need to figure out before you make any decisions that effect your whole family.

I appreciate your thoughtful and thorough response more than you can know. Thank you.

It was so funny to read your post today as I just finished praying for you gals struggling with depression and low self esteem. Praying that God would make Himself very real to you, that you can see yourself as Christ sees you and that you would be encouraged in some way today by Him. My heart feels for you all as you struggle with these issues on a daily basis. You all have giftings and callings that God has placed within each of you and I know Satan is out to destroy what God has placed within you. Don’t let him! If you have never taken a Spiritual Inventory Test I encourage you to take one. If you don’t know where to go email me and I can point you to a good one. It is a place to start to see where your strengths are at and also what areas you can work on strengthening. If you are doing things outside of your giftings it will be a constant struggle for you. If you have the gift of helps but find you are constantly stuck in a teaching position within the church body it will be a struggle for you or visa-versa. Find your niche, where your strengths are and let God use you there first. Then let him help you grow in these other areas. Great advice! I have taken several of those tests, but I bet now would be a great time to retake one and go over the results again.

I pray that some how this posting encourages you. God does want you to walk in victory….that doesn’t mean you won’t have days that you struggle, but He will help you overcome!

Thanks again to my friend and her encouraging and thoughtful words, challenging questions and above all the prayers!

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