On Thursday, I will celebrate with my husband a wonderful milestone that he has achieved by God's grace. He will graduate from ReTrain - the yearlong Missional Leader program at Mars Hill Church. In many ways, our whole family has sacrificed for this accomplishment - giving up family time, days off and large chunks of Phil's brain that have been preoccupied with reading, writing and studying. It is a minuscule price to pay in comparison to the richness of redemption I have experienced in my husband as a man, pastor and father.
Phil's passion for the gospel has exploded. Sitting under the teaching of amazing pastors like Piper, Storms and Ware, I have seen admiration for the Father, affection for Christ and acknowledgement of the Holy Spirit's power multiply exponentially. Many a night, Phil would share with me what he was gleaning from the most recent book. Spurgeon's biography remains my favorite as I have memories of Phil tearing up as he spoke of the deep, passionate prayer life that Spurgeon inspired him with.
Phil has always been a man whose adherence to truth stands firm. His life is marked by integrity. I saw that commitment to truth be coupled with a tenderness and compassion as he was charged by one teacher with this exhortation: Sometimes the sheep need to be corrected but sometimes they just need to be loved and inspired. God used those words to continue to work gentleness and compassion for the people into my husband's pastoral heart.
I have witnessed Phil's pastoral calling be sharpened and strengthened through this process. Receiving encouragement, perspective and challenge from his fellow cohort members has given him clarity and confidence to continue in obedience to God's call on his life. The life of a pastor is often marked with loneliness. I watched my husband enjoy the brotherhood of shared mission with other godly men.
My heart is filled with gratitude and joy as we celebrate the close of ReTrain. God has faithfully sustained our family through a difficult season while he honed my husband towards greater passion and influence for His glory. What more can a wife ask for?