By Brie Gowen
The other morning I sat on the couch trying to squeeze in, yet savor, my morning mug of coffee before my daily priorities called me from the cup. As a mother of three children under five years of age I had a lot on my plate, and it was almost always on my mind how important taking good care of my kids was to the kingdom. It was a ministry calling, of sorts, but it wasn’t the most important one.
I remember when I was in my early 20s and returned from the mission field, I felt led to go into the profession of nursing rather than pursue the life of a foreign-field missionary like many of my friends had done. Like Paul, I knew I could be a tentmaker of sorts, and I knew the Lord could use me in that career to touch the lives of so many. In fact, to this day, every time I go to work I pray to hear God’s voice, to be His light and to minister to those I come in contact with, even if it’s simply by giving a bed bath. But nursing isn’t my top ministry calling.
In my spare time I sell skincare with Rodan + Fields. I have a large, growing team of people that I work to mentor and inspire. I even consider this aspect of my life a place where I might share the love of Christ, but it’s not my top ministry.
I often write blogs that I hope will inspire others. I feel led to share my feelings, and to put down in my posts how God is working in me. I’ve even had a lot of people around the world tell me that my words helped them, but this is not my main ministry either.
In fact, I wear many hats, but there is one that I consider most important. The other morning as I sat gulping my coffee, I watched my weary husband head out the door. That man was a hard worker, no doubt. He not only worked long hours running his own business, but he also put in a huge effort toward helping me with the children when he was home. So as he left for work I had kissed him goodbye. I had given him an extra long hug while whispering “have a good day,” but my heart still ached for him as he went out the door. I desired to take some of his burden, even as I knew I could not.
I got busy with the children shortly after he left, but even later I found him coming to my mind. I thought to myself I should send him a text, just to let him know I’m thinking of him, and it was in that moment I felt the Lord very strongly impress these words upon me.
Your husband is your top ministry calling.
And I realized it was true. Of all the many aspects of my life I loved, he was the most important to me. God had placed us together, and my job as a wife was to love, honor and build up my spouse. At that very moment I thanked the Lord for my husband, and then I prayed for him and his day.
My thoughts were quickly interrupted as they often are when you have young children, and I busied myself with the tasks of keeping little people happy, healthy and alive. And hours later as I rocked our baby down for a nap I heard my phone vibrate as a text rolled in. It occurred to me then as I saw my spouse’s number pop up on my phone that I had not texted him earlier as I intended. It read,
I just want you to know I love you more than you could ever know. I appreciate all you do and all you are. With the store it seems I’m always stressed about something and I don’t want you to think it has anything to do with you or our life together because it doesn’t. I am the most blessed man in the world to have you baby. It’s a long week for me every week and I am exhausted by the weekend. I am happy though so no worries. Hope your day goes well. I love you sooo much!
As I read the words, tears filled my eyes, my heart swelled and gratitude surrounded me. I reread the text sent by my husband and realized God must have been telling us the same thing that day. I needed that affirmation from my husband, and even though I knew in my heart the things he had written, it felt good to have it said. My husband understood that as his wife I was his top ministry calling too.
If you’re a Christian wife, your top ministry is toward your husband. He is the service God has led you to. The rest is secondary. And if you’re a Christian husband then your main ministry should be toward your wife. Yes, our top love is Jesus, but honoring your spouse honors the Lord. Sometimes we become so comfortable and accustomed to our often effortless relationship with our partner that we don’t give it the extra TLC it requires to thrive, but love can fully flow out from our lives when things are well-tended at home.
I know that I am a better mother, nurse, encourager and friend when I pay attention to my top ministry calling. My marriage.