It was just this past spring. The blooms on the trees were many, and green shoots were just peeking through the grass. One such day I decided to have my kids “dress up” and do an impromptu photo shoot. I do this every now and then—when feeling overwhelmed with how fast my two are growing. It was a day to slow down and just be.
I led my kids to our apple orchard and had them snuggle up, cheek to cheek, to talk and tell jokes and play with the grass. Next, I led them to a beautiful cherry tree in full bloom. They laughed, smiled, and made funny faces as they climbed around limbs and peered back at me. Their faces are so precious to me, I thought. I love it when they just let me enjoy clicking away with the camera.
Next I asked my son to carry my daughter around the back of our land, carpeted in mossy green. I watched as he picked her up—he is still becoming a strong man, so he was somewhat clumsy. But he did it and carried her toward a hayfield just starting to grow. They talked while he carried and she held on tight. I watched as his tender feet found placement on the rough ground, for it hurt him to step in the wrong spot—a small sacrifice in carrying her. They both hung on to each other to do this thing I had asked them to do. Time stood still as I watched and savored and clicked away. They grew tired but pressed on at my bidding, finding the strength. In their youthful way they encouraged each other not to let go and not to give up.
As I watched my children, I knew I was also watching something more. This was a picture of my kids, but also a picture of family and friends who carry each other in happy times and hard times. Often they sacrifice to do so.
As pastors’ wives, we reflect the same picture by lifting each other up with prayer and encouragement. It may be a simple call, a card, a text, or time spent together sharing the lives to which God has called us. Together we press in, lifting each other up on a sacred journey where we don’t always feel so sacred.
Though each of us is unique in our ministry as a pastoral spouse, we have a common bond that few others share or understand. “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb. 3:13, NASB).
We hear the call to carry each other as we read the New Testament story of four friends who took a lame man to Jesus and lowered him through the roof to Jesus’ feet. The Bible tells us to “encourage the faint-hearted, help the weak” (1 Thess. 5:14, ESV). We also read, “let us not grow weary of doing good” (Gal. 6:9, ESV). Although I sometimes grow tired in “carrying” others, an incredible Strength surges through me as I “hang on” to the ones I love. Even more—as I discovered while watching my children—our service to others paints a living picture of Jesus as He carries us to the Heavenly Father.
Take a moment to search your memory for pictures of those you have carried, and those who have carried you. I pray that we continue to lift and carry one another to the throne of grace. Service is such a precious picture of Jesus to give others. Let us hang on tight to each other!