Sovereignty For Two

February 13, 2023

“I definitely see that for you, but I don’t really see how I fit into that.”

If this quote is not verbatim, it is, at least, remarkably similar to words I have spoken to my husband on multiple occasions.

When we began dating in early 2014, I already knew Philip possessed an embarrassment of riches in eligible qualities (to me, anyway!)—cute, kind, godly, with wit and wisdom like no other. Really, there was just one “red flag” that stuck out to me: potentially called to ministry. Don’t get me wrong, I deeply admired his service, his compassion for others, and his commitment to the local church. The pastoral qualities were not objectionable to any degree, but the possibility of a job description being attached to them? I’m certainly not the first (nor will I be the last) to find that prospect unnerving.

Suffice it to say, Philip’s pros won out over his one, major “con,” but it wasn’t long after we got married in 2016 that the call I perceived but tried to ignore started to get louder. As his path became clearer, it felt like mine was getting more and more obscured—like it was getting swallowed up by his. I kept feeling like it didn’t matter how strong my own sense of calling was when I was single, that ultimately God would call me to give it up for the sake of my husband and find some way to fit my interests, ambitions, and personality traits into a mold they simply weren’t designed to occupy. 

This blog post is too short to describe all the ways God showed me how utterly false, cynical, and short-sighted these feelings were. It’s a story I’m happy to tell in full, but here I will just say this: as the Lord grew my faith to take each day one at a time, and to trust in his promises rather than in my limited perception, he showed me the truth of something I knew in my head for a long time but hadn’t trained my heart to fully believe.

God’s sovereignty has no limits.

God did not form me—my personality, my gifts, my strengths, my weaknesses—while forgetting who he was going to have me marry. God did not unite me and Philip while forgetting that he wanted Philip to pursue pastoral ministry. And God does not have to choose which one of us gets to live out the promise of Jeremiah 29:11—“For I know the plans I have for you … plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope”—and which one of us must just be happy for the other as we get swept up in their wake. His sovereignty is not limited to one person at a time.

In fact, it was through Philip’s sense of pastoral calling that the Lord began growing a greater heart for ministry within me.

Through serving together with Philip, God grew my understanding that he doesn’t call us to tasks because we’re already “just perfect” for them. Instead, he is the one who equips us for every task he calls us to.

Through Philip’s pastoral internship, I had the opportunity to grow in fellowship with the pastors’ wives of our church and witness how the Lord has uniquely and specifically gifted, called, and equipped each of them for ministry that is not merely a byproduct of who they happen to be married to.

Through the Pastors College, we both received care, training, and mentorship thoughtfully designed for each of us that we would not have experienced apart from the Lord calling Philip (calling both of us) to Louisville. We also gained dear friends whom we would never have met apart from the trust that each of them placed in God’s good plan, many of them giving up a great deal of earthly comfort and security for the sake of walking in faith and obedience. Each person was specifically brought there by God’s sovereignly orchestrated design, and that path was made clear to them through the pastoral call he placed on the heart of each student.

Let me be clear: although I’ve had these experiences, my heart still hasn’t arrived at perfect trust in the sovereignty of God. I am dependent on new mercies each day to keep walking forward in faith, especially when it comes to things that I don’t see how I fit into. But praise God, I have One to look to who trusted in the sovereign plan of the Lord even unto death. His obedience makes it possible for me to obey when I don’t understand, and his resurrection proves that he who calls you is faithful!

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