(Photo courtesy of Jennie Lusko)
By Jennie Lusko
Serving in ministry with your spouse can be really overwhelming. Leading together is beautiful and powerful, but it’s heavy. My husband, Levi, and I met serving in youth ministry together, and we planted a church together about twelve years ago. We are leading and loving this same church, and it is truly a joy.
In Mark chapter 7, Jesus heals a deaf and mute man. It seems that this man had some friends who brought him to Jesus, believing He could heal their friend. Jesus healed him in a really unconventional way like He does, and the following verse says, “People were overwhelmed by amazement. ‘He has done everything well,’ they said. ‘He even makes the deaf hear and mute speak.’”
These people were starstruck by Jesus. They were captivated by this Man who healed their friend. Something I have learned is that this is the very thing that must be present if we are to successfully love and serve God by leading others.
There has to be a sense of being overwhelmed by Jesus. Captivated by the One who saved us. Keeping our gaze generously fixed on Him.
And in our marriage relationship, we must fight for our eyes to gaze generously at our spouses too. It’s easy to stop seeing our spouse in all their amazing qualities that first attracted us to them at the beginning and to choose to only see their faults and mistakes.
But we must fight for honor. Fight to honor our spouse, to encourage and speak life and to support them. And this is hard. This takes a grit, a mental toughness, to not do what we feel, but to do what God says. To love like we’ve never been hurt like Pastor Jentezen Franklin says, and to love when it’s hard. Anyone can love the lovable, but to love the unlovable is being like Jesus.
I think Levi and I have a really sweet relationship as we have chosen to serve God together. Believe me, we have learned the hard way in so many ways, and I’m still learning to speak kindly and not get so easily offended, and to choose to stir up the sweetness in our relationship; but the hard work we have put in over the years has shown such beautiful results and rewards as we love Jesus, and love each other.
One thing that helps me is knowing that God has called us uniquely to be who He’s called us to be and to lead like He’s called us to lead. It can be easy to get overwhelmed by how other couples do it. But we must be in a place where we can learn from others, and enjoy relationships with other couples who serve together in ministry as well, but to not compare; that’s not from God.
He has called us each to something special. Yes, we get to operate in this body of Christ together, but that’s the beauty of it. So many different, unique people loving and serving God in such special ways.
If you are married, God is calling you and your spouse to be overwhelmed by Him and His goodness and grace. And He’s calling you to uniquely minister to the people in your life. If you’re not married, God is also calling you to be captivated by Him. To set your eyes on Jesus, and to work hard serving Him and loving the people in your life. And as you focus on being the right one, in His perfect timing, He’ll bring you to the right one. He’s good at that.
Don’t let the trials, difficulties, and daily grind overwhelm you. Instead, look up to the Lord. Allow yourself to be starstruck by Jesus again – to see what He wants to uniquely do in you and through you, letting His love and peace and grace overwhelm you. Keep company with Him and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly in ministry and in your marriage.