BLOG site of Amy R. Maxwell

I am the wife of B.J. Maxwell (married August of 1997) and mother of our four adopted children.
I am blessed with the awesome privilege to care for & love my husband, invest in & love our children, and keep our home.
May I steward these gifts well, for the glory and praise of Christ Jesus our precious Lord & Savior!

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus . . . sweetest name I know!

Saturday, July 08, 2017

My Secret Life as a Pastor's Wife, Part 3

I have talked about the Church being the bride of Christ, and I have shared my heart on wolves in the church. Now I want to encourage my brothers and sisters who labor in the Gospel.

Paul says it best in Romans 12:12-21,

"Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. ‘But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Keep persevering, dear ones.
Keep extending grace.

Keep upholding the GLORY of the GOSPEL! 

Our American society does not need another lackadaisical, world-conforming, dead to the bone, grace-less church. It really doesn't.

Fight for the purity of Christ's bride.
Be light in darkness.
PREACH the living Word!

Three years ago I was BEGGING my husband to leave ministry. The toil, pain, and heartache it was bringing to our family was unbearable. After about 15 years in ministry, I just needed to breathe.

In the past 3 years, by God's grace alone, I have found my joy again in Christ and the local church. I am not constantly worried about the image I project or questioning every move I make. (Was I too offensive? Overly sarcastic? Did I speak to everyone at church today? Did I smile? Was my attire too casual?, etc.) Today I can laugh at myself, and even be silly. I can enjoy being with my children at church without fearing someone will feel neglected. I can even enjoy my husband on Monday mornings! (Have you ever reached out to your pastor on a Monday morning? Worst day of the week. The enemy is real.)

But you know, that desire to serve and love others (selflessly) and to proclaim the Word of God never leaves you. And, despite what I would have told you 3 years ago, I miss my husband laboring for souls. I miss the pastorate. He misses the pastorate. 

Sometimes pastors (and their families) need rest, perhaps even time to heal. And that is okay. Again we are sinful, imperfect people proclaiming a sinless, PERFECT Savior to sinful, imperfect people. That gets messy.

I believe many American churches are devouring their pastors. The expectations placed upon their pastors are entirely unrealistic. These churches demand worldly results in a place where LIGHT, LOVE, and GRACE should be upheld. Christ, not this world,
is our example.

Dear Church,

Love your pastors well. Love their families well. Instead of complaining about all their weaknesses, pray for them. Encourage them. The weight they carry (as they labor for your soul) is heavy.
R.C. Sproul Jr. says,
"Pastors are human too. That means, of course, that they sin, but it also means that they have ordinary human needs. While no one joins the ministry in order to receive riches or accolades, honor or power, while shepherds are called to serve others rather than themselves, such doesn’t mean that they are not given to discouragement . . . Want to encourage your pastor? Pursue godliness. Because he loves you, what your pastor wants more than anything else is for you to grow in grace and wisdom, to become more like Jesus. Don’t tell your pastor how smart he is, nor how brilliant his sermons are. Don’t tell him how funny he is, nor how dignified. Show him how his labor in showing you Jesus is making you more like Him. That is the desire of his heart, because that is the desire of HIS [Jesus'] heart. "

Dear pastors and wives, 

From The Preacher and Pastor (by Fenelon, Herbert, Baxter, and Campbell), 
"If the saving of souls, of your neighbor's soul, of many souls from everlasting misery, be worth your labor, up and be doing!"
Richard Baxter also says,
"O what a blessed day that will be when I shall . . . stand on the shore and look back on the raging seas I have safely passed; when I shall review my pains and sorrows, my fears and tears, and possess the glory which was the end of all!" (The Reformed Pastor)
Yes! Amen. All of our labor is not in vain. God is accomplishing a GOOD work in His people.  

Preach and live out the Gospel with no regrets. Love, serve, and uphold grace. Be bold and courageous yet humble like Christ. Fight for the purity of Christ's bride. Protect the sheep by calling out the wolves. Love your little church well (your family) so that you are better equipped to love the big church (the local church). Also, never forget, you are in need of a Savior too. It is okay to fail; God loves being glorified in weakness. And, find times to rest. {Even Jesus rested! You KNOW that!}

God's kingdom was not built on a man, 

it was built on an infinite, matchless, sinless Savior!

The earlier quote from Richard Baxter makes me reflect upon my favorite psalm, Psalm 27.
“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage. Yes, wait for the Lord.” (vv 13, 14)
Come quickly Lord Jesus!

To God be the glory forever and ever. 

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