I’m thirty-four years old and was involved in full-time ministry for thirteen years. For seven years, my husband and I pastored a local urban church in Chicago. We conducted Bible studies, seminars, teachings, trainings and outreaches. We saw people saved, water baptized, filled with the Holy Spirit and went through discipleship courses. However, we saw very little lasting fruit.
Even though we did everything we knew to do, I often doubted that we were doing enough. I felt like I wasn’t measuring up as a Pastor’s wife. I always felt condemned for my shortcomings and sinful attitudes or thoughts.
I was fearful that God was displeased with me. I became anxious and depressed because I was always expecting something bad to happen.
I was also physically, emotionally and spiritually drained due to the work in our church.
We took a sabbatical when the Lord showed us that our work in Chicago was finished. During our time of sabbatical rest, I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue and depleted hormones from chronic stress. A few of the symptoms I’d experienced were chronic, debilitating pain throughout my entire body, severe migraines and depression. I would sleep anywhere from twelve to fifteen hours a day to relieve the pain.
In January 2015, I began watching Pastor Joseph Prince preach daily on television because I was so worn out to even read my Bible or pray.
Hearing him preach about God’s grace was like healing waters washing over me.
My heart burned as he spoke about Jesus.
He revealed God’s heart of love for me like no one else I’ve ever heard before! Much of his teaching is counter to the performance-based gospel I was raised up under and yet, the gospel of grace resonated in my spirit as truth.
One day, I heard Pastor Prince preach on the prodigal son. He highlighted that when the father forgave the younger, rebellious son, the older son was angry because his rebellious brother received effortlessly what he wanted. I realized in that moment that I was the older brother.
I was angry with God. I worked so hard in the ministry. My husband and I did everything we were trained to do. We prayed. We fasted. We listened to the Spirit. We worked hard and still, the church did not grow to be a “successful”, healthy, thriving church. I couldn’t understand it. I felt God had let me down.
I realized that all the Father had was already mine even if I couldn’t see it tangibly.
I repented from my self-righteousness and for expecting God to give me what I thought I had earned. I decided to choose grace.
In the past few months, I’ve meditated on God’s grace and I have a greater understanding of all the benefits I have through Jesus. I‘ve learned God has forgiven all my sins and He will never again be angry with me. I know good things are in store for me and my family, not because I worked for it, but because through Jesus, God’s promises and blessings rest on me.
My focus is no longer on my performance, but on Christ Jesus and His finished work on my behalf.
I am now set free from condemnation, fear, anxiety and depression. I remain in a constant state of rest. I’m experiencing more joy, peace and hope than I ever did before. God is also healing my body. My doctor was surprised how quickly I’m healing. I know it’s because the message of grace has set my mind and heart at peace. I believe God will show us in heaven, the fruit of our ministry in Chicago. Most of all, I believe God used that difficult season to bring me to the end of myself so that I would discover His grace.
God has even restored our dream for ministry.
Right now, God is calling my husband and I to start a retreat center for pastors and their families to rest. I felt God leading me to share this message of grace with those who come to our retreat. I’m amazed how it’s all coming together effortlessly. Men of God caught the vision of our retreat. They bought us land and are presently raising money to make this a reality.
I’m so thankful for grace. Thank you, Pastor Joseph Prince, for obeying God in preaching and teaching grace. You’ve helped me understand the Father’s heart. I rest in His love and grace. My work for the Lord now comes as a response from His love for me.
May God continue to strengthen you to fearlessly proclaim His gospel and build up the body of Christ.
The writer has requested to remain anonymous | Minnesota, United States