Enjoying the Journey
In a family of preachers perhaps it is inevitable that the men of the family receive much of the attention. The older I get the more I realize how little those preachers could have accomplished without the women God placed into their lives. I am very grateful for the ladies that have influenced me.
It was a very kind lady named Miss McKinney who led me to Jesus as a five year old boy. She was a single woman, a kindergarten teacher, and the one God used to give me the gospel on the day of my salvation. How often I have thought of what a few minutes of her time have meant to me for time and eternity.
The Lord gave me two godly grandmothers whose constant love and prayers were a source of encouragement. Grandma Pauley was a faithful pastor’s wife and loving mother and grandmother. She lived as a widow for more than thirty years before going to Heaven. Grandma Martin served as the church treasurer for much of her life. Her heart of hospitality never failed until the Lord called her home. Recently I went by the cemetery where they both are buried and thought again of how much I miss just being with them.
My pastor’s wife, Mrs. Evelyn Sexton, has been a woman of influence in the life of our young family. Faithfully standing by her husband, she has given us a picture of what God intended for a pastor’s wife to be. She has loved on our children and encouraged my wife. Her ministry has been just as great as her husbands and his greater because of her.
Indeed, my life is richer for the virtuous women God has brought across my path. My mind is flooded with thoughts of aunts, teachers, and older women in the church who have made it their business to be an encouragement. But there are three women who have made the greatest impact on my life.
My mother, Marcia Pauley, has been all that Proverbs 31 describes. She made growing up fun and serving the Lord a privilege. Home was always a place where we wanted to be. Never has there been a woman who thought more of others or worked harder to meet their needs. For over twenty years she has stood by dad in the first and perhaps only pastorate he will ever have. Whether she knows it or not she has done more to shape my thinking than perhaps any other person on earth. Her children truly do “rise up and call her blessed”. At this point in my life I understand more than ever what Paul meant when he spoke to Timothy about “the faith that dwelt first in thy mother”.
God has allowed me to have one sister. (He knew that was enough!) Stacie and I have always been close. The years and miles have not changed that at all. As a teenage preacher I was very aware that she was carefully watching my life. After all of the brotherly torment I inflicted she even put up with having me as a teacher in College. Stacie has always been one of my chief encouragers and I know she prays for me faithfully. Few things have brought me greater joy than seeing God give her such a beautiful family of her own. We share so many memories and I am blessed to call her my sister.
In my freshman year of College the Lord allowed me to meet Tammy Reis. She has always been beautiful but it was her friendship that won my heart. We were married on Friday the 13th of June, 1997. (Friday the 13th is not all bad!) While much quieter than her husband, she has used her voice to tell me just what I needed to hear again and again. She is a loving mother and praying wife. When I am home I am happy just to be with her; when I am often away I am thinking of how good it will be to get home again. Her patience and contented spirit have provided such refreshing in the midst of a very busy life. My heart “doth safely trust in her”.
These are the women that God has used to minister to me.
God has always had a special ministry for godly women. Scripture is full of examples such as Sarah, Hannah, Ruth, Esther, and Mary. The history of God’s work is not complete without the record of women like Susannah Wesley and Amy Carmichael. Even in the life of the Lord Jesus the Holy Spirit is careful to tell us about a group of women from the Galilee who followed Christ and ministered to Him.
As I look at my daughters I can only pray, “Lord, let them grow up to be women you can use.”