“Are all these kids yours?“
That is usually the first question I get asked when interacting with strangers or meeting someone for the first time. When I say yes and take ownership of my five shirt-tuggers (aka kids), the next question that I often get asked is “Are you Catholic?” When I tell them no and explain that my husband and I just wanted a big family, I also share that he is a minister. The comment that usually follows is “Oh, you must homeschool.” I shake my head no. Then finally they ask, “So are you a teacher?“
I am not sure why, but these conversations happen frequently for me. Not every preacher’s wife is an educator (in an official capacity), nor does every large family homeschool their children.
My husband and I met at Freed-Hardeman University. He is younger than me and ended up transferring to Michigan State University for his undergraduate degree in Landscape Architecture. I finished my degree in Social Work. After taking a few master’s classes, I decided that was not the path for me and I enlisted into the United States Army. Yep, not typical of 99% of Americans, much less a preacher’s wife!
Josh and I got married in the middle of my training. I became a radiology specialist (aka x-ray tech) in 2004. I worked in two different hospitals in Michigan and then, after Josh finished his undergraduate degree, we came back to Tennessee. Josh wanted to be like the apostle Paul (a tentmaker AND preacher) and finished his master’s in ministry back at FHU.
I began working at a local general hospital in the Interventional Radiology department. This is a specialized area of radiology in which I have additional training. It runs much like the heart catheterization lab. I scrub cases with doctors and assist in procedures that involve strokes, bleeds, and blood clots using stents, balloons, and drains; the list of possible procedures is endless. I have done this for sixteen years and took a few years off to actually teach (how ironic!) high school health sciences.
I love working in healthcare. I get to be directly involved in patient care. I get to work with a team of specialists to save lives. It is quite fulfilling. As I study the Bible, I find the scriptures are overwhelmingly filled with the instruction to serve others. And that is exactly what healthcare is: service.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. ~Philippians 2:4
If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. ~Isaiah 58:10
For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. ~Hebrews 6:10
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ~Acts 20:35
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. ~Colossians 3:23-24
I often try to imagine as I speak to my patients, or carefully prepare them for procedures, that I am serving the Lord Himself. I have prayed with patients. I have been fortunate enough to talk about spiritual things with many patients. I try to share with them what church I worship at and tell them who my husband is and his job there. Do you know, I have had a patient come to worship with me after I had taken care of her!
Another blessing of working in the setting I do is that I get to know my co-workers very well. I work with a team of techs, nurses, and doctors. We learn to trust each other and anticipate what each other needs. Because of my years of working alongside these fine professionals, we have learned to respect each other and reach out to each other and even have deep spiritual discussions. I have been able to share the Gospel with my co-workers in the form of conversations and sharing Biblical literature. I have had co-workers specifically reach out to me for prayer and guidance. What an opportunity and blessing to share the hope of heaven and the teachings of our Savior in such a work environment!
A woman of God does not have to be a preacher’s wife to teach the lost. A faithful Christian mother does not have to homeschool or be a schoolteacher to raise obedient children and serve others. Every Christian has the responsibility to seek and save the lost and to serve their brethren and fellowman (Mark 16:15-16; 2 Timothy 2:2: James 5:20), whether married or not, and no matter what occupation she chooses.
One of my greatest blessings has been the opportunity to write and create for The Ruffled Mango. I am so thankful for Kristen who asked me to be a part of this great work for the Lord four years ago. While helping to heal the physically sick is important, nothing compares to bringing souls that are spiritually sick back to their Savior.
I want to encourage you that no matter where you are at (in school, at work, at home) that you can serve the Lord! You can teach the lost! You can fortify your own faith and fulfill your purpose in His kingdom.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. ~Ephesians 2:10