Greetings from everyone at R:TC,
I am grateful for your partnership, and excited to share a few stories with you over the next few weeks. These stories express our gratitude for you and show how your prayers and financial support have been at work in and through R:TC. As I reflect on 2018 I give thanks to God for his work of transformation in many people’s lives.
A Story of Beginnings
I recently met with a couple serving in ministry, whom just embarked on a church plant. As you can imagine there is a lot of stress, burdens, and long hours that are often required in planting a church. Part of my goal with this couple was to shift our conversation toward their relationship. As we spoke, I saw a great friendship and partnership in ministry, but they were starving for intimacy in the marriage. They could easily talk about ministry, but not as easily share about their hearts.
While this might sound alarming for a pastor of a new church, I have found this dynamic all too common among marriages in ministry. As part of a Pastor’s daily work, they encounter heavy conversations about hard areas of life with many people. As a result, a pastor’s wife may not want to burden her husband with the details of her life. This is one reason why R:TC is important. It provides a safe place for ministry leaders to seek help and be vulnerable.
As I have met with this couple, I am grateful to see the progress of what God is doing in their marriage. Recently we have been processing conflict in their marriage. Through this process the husband shared that he pouts if he doesn’t get the loving response he desires from his wife. We worked through Proverbs 18:1 (“Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.”) We discussed how the pouting wasn’t really a way to express hurt, but actually a way of seeking his own desires at the expense of the intimacy in his marriage. He humbly confessed to his wife this was wrong, and expressed a desire to grow. What happened after though, was really amazing. I asked the wife at the end of our time, “Where can we pray for you now?” She stated, “I am afraid of failing, and doing this (pastor’s wife thing) wrong.” All of the sudden you have two people who couldn’t share emotionally with each other, now completely exposing their own hearts to one another.
It is such a privilege to have a front row seat to the work of the Holy Spirit in her life. Her husband’s vulnerability provided a safe place for her to be vulnerable too. When her husband shared his struggles and sin she didn’t attack. As he humbly shared, it was like a door opened in their marriage—a door to where she didn’t have to be perfect either. So many ministry couples feel this pressure to be perfect.
There is something amazing about cultivating vulnerability in marriage counseling. It helps soften a spouse’s defenses and a tendency to attack. It doesn’t happen every time, as there can be deep-seeded pains in the marriage that keep the initial vulnerability from even being expressed. In those moments the work is much slower and often harder fought for.
This one small story is a beautiful example of how I see the Lord using R:TC to help marriages, so that the thief of shame doesn’t steal the intimate fruit of vulnerability. In the coming weeks I will share more stories from our staff, to encourage your faith as each has encouraged mine.
I want to ask for your prayer. Pray for each of our 11 counselors as we step into difficult situations. Our counselors work hard to help people in their deep pain and stress, as well as help people who simply want to grow in their relationships. Your gifts underwrite 25% of our ministry. Thank you for your support over the past year.
May the Lord bless you,
Biblical Counseling Director