When I was in elementary school our gym teacher, Mr. Sherald, forbade us from ever using the words, “I can’t.” This frustrated me a great deal at the time. Athletics weren’t exactly my strong suit, so those words often crossed my lips in the gymnasium. Mr. Sherald kept correcting me even as I finished last, or next to last in every possible category.
Twenty years later, I transitioned from full-time teaching and ministry to full-time motherhood and a debt-snowball. Before I knew it the words, “I can’t” were escaping left and right. “I can’t do that. We can’t afford that. I don’t have time for that. I don’t know how to do that. I’ve never done that before. Please don’t ask me to do that. I’ve never been good at that. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.”
One of the things that I began to realize and struggle with almost as soon as I began walking and praying for our local high school, is that I am one of the biggest obstacles to my husband’s success in youth ministry. My “I can’t” attitude has limited his usefulness in the kingdom of God. Yet, I can tell you with all honesty, that he has never complained about how I have been holding him back.
When I began this walk, my primary motivation was to pray for the school and students where my husband works. I wanted to take an interest in my husband and in his work. However, I had no idea how much this time in prayer would change me in such a short time:
- Three days after I started walking I insisted we update our phones immediately. We got local phone numbers (yes, we’ve lived here 2 years!), texting (no, we haven’t had texting since 2007), and a smart phone (we still had 2 flip phones from 2009) with a data plan.
- On the first day of walking I met the owner of the coffee shop down the street and asked her to host our Club. 12 days later she hosted our Club for the first time. 2 days from now she’ll host a second Club.
- I looked at my husband’s raffle prizes in the prize box and decided to dress them up. 3 high school boys were delighted to take home brightly wrapped t-shirts, wrist bands, buttons, carabiners, and coffee shop gift cards.
- Twice in the last 3 weeks I’ve walked with posters and duct-tape to advertise our Clubs on the traffic light poles around the school.
- I’ve stopped by the school’s front office at least 4 times with fliers advertising our Clubs.
- I’ve personally invited at least 5 students to our Clubs.
- I’ve called or messaged some of my adult friends to share about the ministry, and invite their involvement.
- When a female student showed up on our doorstep hoping one of us could come jump-start her dad’s car, I offered to drive her while Brad stayed home with the kids.
- Instead of just watching my husband prepare for his annual spaghetti dinner, and cleaning the house, I took an active role in preparing the food. As soon as we were done, I asked how soon we could do it again.
You get the idea. The more I have walked and prayed for my husband and the school where he works, the more my eyes have been opened to how I can be a better wife and helper to him. As I have walked around the school, approaching students and teachers, and interacting with business owners and church-goers, God has given me a great deal of insight into the man I married almost 8 years ago.
In these last 18 days, I have gained so much more respect for how hard my husband works at his job. When I am praying for my husband and his work every day, I naturally think of ways I can help him throughout the day. Instead of an “I can’t” attitude, I have an “I can” attitude. I may be a stay-at-home-mom of 3 small children, and we may be a 1-income 1-vehicle family, but there is still a lot that I can do to help my husband in ministry.
Do you pray regularly for your spouse? What changes have you noticed in your marriage since you began this habit?