We're moving. For the 11th time in our married life Kevin and I are moving to a new town. For the 11th time in 26 years we're packing boxes, purging our stuff, notifying others of an address change. We won't need to look for a new church - being married to a pastor has that search already taken care of. We will be in search of a new doctor, shopping at new stores, learning new streets. Our kids will adjust to a new school, different teachers, different system. And through it all my heart is settled, it's at peace. Why? Because I resolved that I would Claim the Ruth Truth.
"...Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God..."Ruth 1:16
There are four Ruth Truths in this one verse.
Ruth Truth #1 - where you go I will go.
I first follow God. My husband follows God. I then choose to follow my husband. When God called my husband to serve Him as a pastor that call included me. I am not the pastor. I am my husband's wife. When I stood at the altar on September 24, 1988 and vowed to love, honor, cherish, and keep Kevin I made that vow to God. A vow to God about Kevin.
I didn't marry a pastor. When I married Kevin J Harbin he was a Sales Manager. In 1992 God changed Kevin's vocation. He called Kevin to be a pastor. God called. Kevin followed. When God called Kevin that call included me. I had made a vow to God and I intended to keep it. Â Loving Kevin, honoring Kevin, cherishing Kevin, keeping Kevin happens when I go where he goes.Â When God says go, I go.
Kevin J Harbin - where you go I will go.
Ruth Truth #2 - where you stay I will stay.
I've had women say to me "I could never move as many times as you have" or "I could never be a pastor's wife" or "I could never leave my home"
The problem with all these statements is the first word of each. I.
If God calls, He also prepares the heart of the one being called. Each time we have moved my husband and I have been ready for the change. We may have been surprised initially but surprise gets replaced with a readiness to move onward. We're in a denomination that appoints, chooses, where Kevin will pastor and they also determine how long he'll stay. We go. And then we stay.
Moving hasn't always been convenient. We've moved when our kids have been entering elementary school, in the middle of a school year, entering middle school, 1/2 way through high school, 6 months after adoption, while one was in U.S. Marine boot camp...the timing isn't about convenience - it's about obedience. As a family we stay because God led us there.
As a mom of six, what lessons would I teach my kids that each time my husband, their dad, gets moved I fight the call, complain about the timing, argue against the where, refuse to budge...what are the lessons in that?! As a mom I have an audience of six. I'm teaching my girls how to be a wife and I'm training my boys what kind of qualities to consider in a potential wife. How I respond to each move will help or hinder their choices in life. I go. I stay.
Kevin J Harbin - where you stay I will stay.
Ruth Truth #3 - your people will be my people.
Being a pastor involves people. DUH! People are a part of the package deal. As a pastor's wife I do not have the privilege of choosing the church our family gets to worship at - it's chosen for me. I don't have the luxury of choosing a church based on the effectiveness of a solid children's ministry or a vibrant youth ministry or an out-of-this-world music ministry - it's all chosen for me. I don't choose my church family - they're chosen for me.
A huge deal breaker and an equally huge deal maker for those searching for the right church is the 'community', the people, within the church. When Kevin is sent to a new church, the people automatically come with the package. We don't choose them either. Nor do we have the choice to love them - it's God's command for all followers of Jesus. "Love one another." No attachments - just a straight up command. Love.
Loving God's people means being more focused on how I can contribute to the community of believers than what the community of believers can do for me.
The people my husband is sent to pastor, shepherd, lead are the same people who I am in community with; because they are Kevin's people, they are my people as well. Some are easy to love. Some are not. Ease isn't the point. Following the call is. I am called to accept Kevin's people as my people, because we are all called to love one another.
Kevin J Harbin - your people will be my people.
Ruth Truth #4 - your God, my God.
This is the pinnacle of the Ruth Truth. God. Kevin becoming a pastor wasn't Kevin's idea. It was God's idea and it must be done God's way.
Has every move, every church, every person been filled with warm fuzzies? Certainly not. But that will never change who God is. He must stand tall above all. Kevin and I have walked hand-in-hand to each new place and we've walked hand-in-hand away from each place.
And it's always God's omnipotent hand that is guiding, directing, leading, sustaining, hovering, holding our hands as we go and as we stay.
Kevin is a man of God. Kevin wears the name of Jesus, he bears the name of Jesus. Kevin reads the Word of God and is obedient to God's ways. He loves serving His God. Kevin is committed to the call of being a pastor. Kevin does not compromise in any way. Kevin loves His God wholeheartedly.
Kevin J Harbin - your God, is my God.
I am claiming the Ruth Truth.