Jack, I am engaged to a ...

sarah asked:

Jack,

I am engaged to a wonderful Christian man who's truly called to be a missionary in the Pacific islands.

The way we met can only be explained as the hand of God, and I really do feel that through my fiance I am also called to the missions.

My question is this: am I supposed to be feeling so many doubts about my abilities to do well?

I find myself engulfed in fear and unending questions, such as: can I do this? What if I get there and I want to leave? Can I witness to the people? What does a missionary's wife do and can I fill those roles?

Jack, is this normal? I know I have faith in God to take care of us, but I'm filled with so many "what-ifs." Does this mean I shouldn't marry him and go to the missions?

Jack Answered:

Thank you, Sarah, for sharing a very personal question with me.

I can feel your fear. I am glad that you are able to face these questions NOW rather than when you are in the middle of your first or second year of marriage!

Some thoughts:

1) It would be good to review and record how the Lord called you "through my fiancé." Think through your decision, write it down, and keep it in your journal so that in a time of doubt you can go back to it and remember how the Lord led you.

2) I would suggest you talk with your fiancé and possibly with a marriage counselor and/or the personnel director of the mission you will be serving with as to their expectations for you and your expectations for yourself. You may have unrealistic expectations of what a "missionary wife" is supposed to be! There are many options, and I'm sure both your future husband and your mission supervisor will be happy to let the Lord guide you as to what your role will be wherever you serve.

3) The above discussion may be very revealing. Some missions, for example, expect that the wife of a missionary to be as equally involved in the ministry as her husband. Thus, if they have children, and there is no school nearby, the expectation is that the children will be sent off to a boarding school from the time they are in the first grade. Most missions are more flexible. They allow home schooling and if the wife says that her calling is to be a home maker and full time mother, they allow this, especially while the children are young. It would be good to explore these questions and expectations at this point rather than later.

4) It may not be a consolation to you, but my experience is that the Lord always places us in situations that demand of us more than we can produce in and of ourselves. He expects to give us "more grace," to "walk in the Spirit," to "abide in Him," so that we experience His sufficiency. Obviously this pattern is a bit frightening, especially at first, but it is a great stimulus for us to seek Him and grow in Him, and as a result we are shaped into His likeness.

5) The last thing I would say is that your ministry doesn't begin when you arrive in the Pacific Islands. I would strongly encourage you to be involved in ministry right now. Get all the training you can; if possible minister together with your future husband, develop your gifts, discover new ones, etc. These experiences will help you project the kind of ministry you would like to develop once you get to "the mission field."

I trust these suggestions will be helpful.

Blessings on you, Sarah,

Jack

I give you my verse of the year:

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8).

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