From chapter 6 of Renewal on the Run – embracing the privileges and expectations of a ministry wife, by Jill Briscoe, published by New Hope 2005.
Then came the time when Stuart and I were invited for a meal with the elders and their wives. I was naïve and thought, ‘Oh how fun! An evening of food and fellowship with the elders and their wives.’ And the meal was very nice. Only at the end of it the chairman of the board said to my husband, ‘We really brought you here tonight to talk about what Jill is doing.’
In a nutshell, they wanted me to stop my women’s meetings [which had grown to several hundred strong but included women not from their church]. There were a number of other things they thought I should be doing.
My husband listened quietly through all this. As for me, I shrank smaller and smaller in my chair, wanting to die so that Stuart could have an American wife who could do all the right things.
But Stuart suddenly said, ‘You know, if you insist in telling my wife what to do, then I will insist in telling your wives what to do. Is that understood?’ Then I really wanted to die. I thought that with this remark I had probably lost all the friends I might have around the table.
Then Stuart continued, ‘Look, you hired me, not my wife. She started this in all innocence. She responded to a lady coming to the door, and we had no idea what it was going to lead to. Isn’t it incredible what’s happening? Couldn’t you women get behind her and help her? If you let her be who she is and use the gifts God gave her, she will be a huge blessing to the fellowship.’
That was a small turning point. The pressure was off me, and I was free to do what it seemed God had called me to. And some of those women became my co-workers. But, you see, my husband insisted that I exercise my gift for the good of the body, even though it didn’t fit the expected role. Some people never did understand, and I did lose some friends. You have to accept such losses; they happen in ministry. Some people will never understand the role that God has gifted you to fill in a particular situation because they don’t want to understand. In a way, your gift should determine your role. You simply have to do your best and leave the rest to him. Your best won’t always please some people, but you have to be what you were meant to be.