I am so excited about this post! This beautiful family came into our lives only just recently. Julie and Martin Johnson, with their two kids, Sarah and Seth, came to stay with us in Singapore on their way over to begin their work over in Indonesia. Although the time we spent with them was short, the faith demonstrated this amazing missionary family had a great impact on me.
What impressed me? Their children are sweet, well-behaved, well-informed and a joy to be with. Julie home schools the children (which is something we want to do!), and obviously does it remarkably well. The respect and love Julie and Marty have for each other is evident. Their presence was such a breath of fresh air, and I was very encouraged by how beautifully balanced this family was.
Julie is so strong. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself in my situation… but things are a lot more different in Indonesia than what I have had to grow accustomed to! Not only are there a lot of different things to adjust to culturally, but Julie along with her family are also having to learn a whole another language. Amazing right?!
So now I’m sure it’s obvious to you now why I sought out her advice–hear what she has to say on how to be a good support to your husband as he works as a preacher/missionary.
Julie Anne Johnson writes:
“Being married to a missionary/preacher can be the greatest adventure of your life! The key word in that sentence is CAN. I emphasize, “can” because to some degree you have the power to make ministry joyous or miserable for yourself and your husband.
I think that there are three main components you need to possess to find fulfillment in your life as a missionary/preachers wife. These three components are: your commitment to God and to your husband, being able to be flexible in difficult and uncomfortable circumstances, and sharing the same vision as your husband. If you have a good grasp on these three components, then I think you are well on your way to a terrific adventure!
Point 1: Commitment to God and your Husband
Why is commitment so important? Commitment to God and to your husband should be your first and foremost priority. Remembering that these relationships are for life will help you get through the uncomfortable times. Submitting to your husband means supporting him in his decisions without “complaining or disputing” (Philippians 2:14).
Being committed to your husband means following him where he feels most suited to serve God. Remember how Sarah submitted to Abraham when God told him to “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house” (Genesis 12:1). Never forget that God and your husband are your number one priorities in everything you do.
Point 2: Flexibility
I don’t mean can you touch your toes with your fingertips or do the splits! I mean can you exude and attitude that glorifies God even when you find yourself in a physically or emotionally uncomfortable situation? I don’t know of anyone who desires to be uncomfortable, but at times we all are.
Having been married to a missionary/preacher for 12 years, I have found myself in physically and emotionally uncomfortable circumstances at times. Having lived several years in the jungles of Indonesia, I have had the opportunity to put my flexibility to the test! We all have our own levels that make us uncomfortable. Mine might be living in Malaria infested jungles without electricity and drawing water from a well. Yours might be having unexpected guests arrive that your husband invited over and you feel that your house is a mess and there is no food to speak of.
The point is not can I be more flexible than you, but rather, can you be flexible and still exude an attitude that glorifies God? We must remember that we are servants of God and helpers to our husbands. As Eve was Adam’s helper in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:20), so God expects us to be for our own husbands. Getting out of yourself and more into the moment will help your ministry tremendously. Be flexible!
Point 3: Vision
Frequently I have to pause and clean out the cobwebs in my brain. I find myself forgetting my purpose in life. I like to know what our vision is in our ministry and if I am being helpful in it. Marty and I make it a habit in our marriage to write our vision down so we can review it and see if we are making progress or if we need to make changes. Sharing a vision with your husband will 1) help you stay focused and 2) help you stay involved. Jesus gave us our ultimate vision when He said in Matthew 28:18 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” The specifics on how to carry that vision out can be as varied as each of our individual talents. Your husband may have ideas on how to further the gospel in your community. What can you do to help? Remember that Sarah traveled with Abraham and helped him along the journey. She didn’t stay behind in Haran doing her own thing (Genesis 12:5). Share in your husband’s vision and be prepared to be an active participant. If your husband feels comfortable in your support he will share all kinds of ideas with you.
If you are married to a missionary/preacher get ready for a great ride! You may experience many things that most wives never will. I have had it told to me several times over the years that there is a special reward in Heaven for wives of missionaries and preachers because of all the inconveniences and hardships we put up with. I have to say in reply that it cannot be seen as a hardship to be involved in such a glorious work! We are all just servants who have done just as we should (Luke 17:10).
If you want to have an awesome life being married to a missionary/preacher then you need to remember that your commitment to God and your husband is of first priority. Remember to be flexible when you find yourself in physically and emotionally uncomfortable circumstances. Think more about the souls around you than about your own personal comfort. Share your husband’s vision. Be his greatest helper! I pray that these three components will be helpful to you and that your ministry together will glorify God.”
Learn more about what life is like for Julie and her family in Indonesia!
“What is one of your favorite blessings you receive because you are a missionary/preachers wife? Please share with the rest of us so we can be encouraged by your experiences!”
(Linked to Make a Difference Mondays)