In January 2020, the puzzle pieces were falling into place for a Kentucky Baptist Convention Ministers’ Wives Retreat. Guided by Peggy Berry of the KBC and Nicole Coomer, pastor’s wife from Paducah, the planning committee was made up of a handful of incredibly gifted ministers’ wives from across Kentucky. (In a wild card move, I was invited to be a part of the welcome team.)
Activities/break-out sessions, decorations, food and greeters were organized. The event was to be held at Cedarmore in Bagdad, Kentucky. Tanya York, pastor’s wife at Buck Run Baptist in Frankfort, was asked to be the speaker. Jason “Bubba” Stewart, from the KBC, would be the worship leader.
The coronavirus hit hard just weeks after our initial planning meeting. A difficult year followed. COVID numbers rose significantly, changing the date from September to March. Plans were modified due to social distancing, etc. Zoom meetings kept our momentum going. We continued to pray … for the speaker, the ministers’ wives who would be attending.
Finally, after 14 months of planning and praying. The time came for the retreat. It was last weekend!
I looked forward to hearing Tanya York speak. The year 2020 was tough for those in ministry. Over 150 ministers’ wives had come to the retreat hoping to be encouraged and refreshed. Each one needed a word from the Lord. We waited expectantly as she opened her Bible.
Mrs. York asked us to turn to Second Peter: “…make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love,” (2 Peter 1:5-7). Through those verses, she shared a plan to live a godly life in spite of everything.
Drawing from her decades as a pastor’s wife, Tanya encouraged that though ministry is hard, God will help us do it and through it. “Lean into Him. Every day get in the Book,” she told us. She shared about loving people well, even if they never get us or like us. “It’s OK to not be loved by everybody … but love everybody.” She reminded all of us that God had called our husbands and us to ministry — an important job. She shared many good things, helping us keep our focus on God and urging us to keep going, never quitting.
This was exactly what we needed to hear! How often do we feel like quitting when times get tough?!
It was a different kind of girl’s weekend. We didn’t leave Cedarmore just feeling glad we had been out of town. We made real connections with our sisters from other mothers. We studied God’s Word, worshipped Him and sang with all our hearts. When it was time to go, we left more than encouraged; we were motivated to link arms with our minister husbands, ready to serve and love.
Whether you are in ministry, in the workplace, a stay-at-home mom, etc., do you need some words of encouragement? When life gets tough, we often want to quit. Running away sounds better. Although starting over somewhere else is tempting, God has a plan to use us right where we are. DON’T GIVE UP! In the words of Tanya York, “Be focused. Be faithful … keep pressing on.”