“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8
Your presence matters. Years ago, a friend told me the importance of my presence as a pastor’s wife and how much it mattered. I didn’t really take it into account at the time, but as years have passed, I have thought of that statement many times. What does it mean to be present? It means to be in a particular place. The more I have thought about that reality, the more I have realized what spins off from just being present. When I am present, people know I care. They feel supported, they recognize they are a priority. How does it grow and encourage me to be present with God, with my church and with my husband in ministry? I receive a front row seat to what God is doing. When you embrace being present, it makes you move from simply showing up, to taking part in what is occurring. You find ways to invest your time, gifts, and resources to increase the impact of how God is moving.
I am so thankful that God was first present with me. When I not only realized He was present, but valued His presence and the impact of just knowing He was there, I saw an increase in my desire to be present with God, too. Seeing the beauty of a relationship with a God who is present, demonstrates for me the importance of being present, just showing up. It gives me the opportunity for depth and I can carry that into my family, my church ministry and my community. It also allows me to notice people, notice processes that can be improved, to fill gaps that exist. I am able to function with my talents and gifts in the way God orchestrates.
Just think of the opportunities the disciples had simply walking alongside Jesus. They saw miracle upon miracle, they learned more about God, they SAW God. Their faith was increased, their lives were made whole, changed forever. They traveled with Jesus.
God has provided more and more opportunities for me to experience Him at work and to serve as I continue to work toward being present. When I say work, it takes planning and knowledge and decision-making to know when and where to be present. But at the same time, I can rest in knowing many times my presence is enough and I do not have to be consumed with my words or actions and the impact they do or do not have. I can understand that the more I am present, the appropriate words and actions will arise.
This is the same way that God works in being present with us. He shows up and makes Himself known. He proves Himself and we are changed by it. He is giving us an example of how we should be with others. I am so grateful for His relational example. He promises to be present many times in His Word and He has been faithful to those promises over and over for me.
The next time you feel as a pastor’s wife, that showing up doesn’t make a difference, give it a try. Consistency builds trust. Trust builds intimacy. Intimacy opens the doors to change lives. So go make a difference in your church ministry. Show up, be present with God and then, your husband and your church and see how God unfolds your ministry. And know, that God is present with you as you step into those spaces and places to be present and used of Him to further His kingdom.