The Fish Bowl {Guest Post}

Today’s post is by Jenilee – the first person I stalked followed on Twitter. And she let me. 🙂 I hope you are very encouraged by her today – especially if you’re a pastor’s wife! Thanks, Jenilee!

I grew up in a Pastor’s home. I grew up knowing that everyone was watching me and my family. We were on display for everyone to look at whether we wanted to be or not.

As I grew older and felt called into fulltime ministry, I knew that my life would continue to be held under a microscope. I would be compared and examined by well-meaning people and maybe some not so well-meaning people. Those things are a part of ministry.

Very early in our marriage, my husband’s aunt, who has been in ministry with her husband for over 20 years, was joking with us and said something that has actually been very helpful.

She said, “We live in a fishbowl… we need to give them something good to look at!”

Giving them something good to see in our family, our friendships, our home, our marriage, and our parenting has become my passion.

They won’t see perfection. They won’t see us all put together. They won’t catch us doing it right every time.

I want them to see that we are no different than anyone else. We make mistakes, struggle, cry and hurt.

And, through that realness, I want them to see God in us. I want them to see His love at work in us.

I want those looking in to our lives to see that God can use us and work through us because of who HE is not because of who we are.

On my own, I couldn’t do this. The moments where I wish we lived closer to family, when I need a sister to come over and help me or I want my dad to fix my bathroom sink or I am sick and need my mom to take the girls. Moments when being alone in a new place or financial struggles and long hours take their toll on us. When I’ve been hurt by someone or misunderstood… I am not strong enough for those moments.

But God in me is strong enough. He can shine through us in those moments of struggle, helping us to be an example to those looking in to our fishbowl.

I was reading Philippians 2:14-16 and it fit this thought so well.

“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life – in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.”

We are called to shine like stars as we hold out God’s words of life to others. We are called to put aside our complaints and arguments and live blameless and pure as children of God. We want to get to the end knowing that we did not run or labor for nothing. God is doing something in us and through us for a purpose. He called us as ministry families so that we could shine for Him and be His hands extended.

This chapter goes on in verses 17-18 to say, “But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.”

At times we feel like we are being poured out completely on the sacrifice. We are giving our all for the sake of the calling on our lives. We sacrifice so much to obey what God asks us to do for His Kingdom.

But let us, like Paul, take joy in knowing that God is at work in us and we are not alone. We can shine like stars, or like my husband’s aunt said, we can give them something good to look at, not because we can be perfect but because God is working in us through every moment of this life.

About Jenilee:

Jenilee is a homeschooling mom to 3 girls – Elayna, Annalise and Abigail. Jenilee serves with her husband, Jeremy, a Children’s Pastor in Ohio, in fulltime ministry. She stays busy raising her girls, coordinating Girls Ministries, teaching a women’s Sunday School class and working on her ministerial classes. Jenilee loves speaking and teaching what God is showing her on a daily basis and she has a heart to see women and girls of all ages reach their potential in Christ. She blogs about her personal relationship with God at My Awake Journey, a place where God is teaching her to fully “Enjoy the Journey”. On the fun side, Jenilee loves a good book, coffee and blogging! You can read more about her family life, homeschooling adventures and other humorous Goodwin moments by visiting The Goodwin Family blog!    To contact her, email mommygoodwin3 AT yahoo DOT com or find her tweeting about her day on twitter @jenilee220

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