The Evangelist’s Wife, Your Personal Self
By Rona Bowerman
There was a man, an older man, who lived his life as a music teacher. One day as he was sitting in his office he heard the most beautiful music being played. Startled, he walked toward the sound. It led to his music room where he saw a strangely familiar man sit ting at his piano playing hauntingly beautiful melodies, his fingers nimbly running up and down the keyboard. “Who are you?” The music teacher asked. “Where did you come from?”
The stranger answered not a word, but continued to play the almost heavenly sounds. The old man listened, seeming to know the tune, but not really being able to place it. Finally, he grabbed the stranger by the shoulder and said, “Stop! Tell me who you are and what you are playing!”
As quickly as the music started, it stopped. The player stood up, turned around to the old man and looked him square in the eye. “I’m the man you could have been,” he said softly, “and that is the music you could have written and composed.”
As our life begins, we are eager and fresh, certain that we can conquer the world and change the tomorrows into power-filled tools of energy. We know that we will leave our mark, that we were created for a superior destiny. Unfortunately, the tomorrows reign as just that—tomorrows. Tomorrows, untouched by human hands, dusty and lifeless, filled with empty rooms.
So remains our life. Still the same as it was two years ago, five years ago. It is still cluttered with fear and doubt. Guilt hangs like cobwebs in a forgotten corner and disorganization is as thick as dust in an abandoned house.
At times our personal lives can become completely useless unless we have a strong disciplinary will. It is so easy to fall into ruts in our lives and spin helplessly around, drifting aimlessly about as each wind blows. With each puff of wind our lives take on the shape of “but I could have been” until we wake up one morning and find ourselves old and grey and our life nothing but a burned out match.
There is a challenge in pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps and slowly climbing out of the ditch. There is exultation in overcoming our flesh and becoming a person in charge, a person full of life, a person that has direction and purpose for herself.
My life was a jumbled mess, and maybe yours is, too. It is so easy to become anchorless. I have met many evangelists’ wives whose lives are just drifting. Maybe your life is all together, but there could be something more the Lord has for you.
You can become the person that you want! You don’t have to spend your life in a tailspin. I would like to share with you what the Lord showed me and how He brought my life together.
I had been raised a Christian, I loved the Lord, I had married a preacher, and I was on the road to heaven. On the road, though, I started getting too many irons in the fire, doing too many things until I found myself on a merry-go-round. I saw my dreams disappearing and my hopes of fulfillment vanishing. My energy became entwined with meaningless tasks instead of soaring into the blue sky of achievement. From the moment I rose in the morning until I fell into bed at night exhausted, I worked at accomplishing my goals; but time after time, day after day, week after week, I fell short. It seemed an unending circle.
In addition to that, things came into my life—and maybe they have yours—hurts and disappointments, bruises and sores from life’s situations that no one has any control over. They tore at me and scarred me, broke my resistance until I felt empty and no good for anyone.
These situations were hurtles in my life, and I jumped them and became a better person for it in some ways. However, the scars were still there becoming a guilt trap and breeding fear and worry. These obstacles entangled me and turned me into a miserable, physically sick person.
Here I was, a minister’s wife, and now an evangelist’s wife with seemingly no more control of my life than any person in the gutter. My self-esteem was non existent. I was scared to sing, scared to play the piano, afraid my choruses were not right, afraid the pastor and his wife would not approve of what I was doing. I would see them together in a corner talking and I would become almost immobilized with shame and fear thinking of what they were saying about me.
As I mentioned earlier, I had become physically ill. The doctor told me that in the condition and state of mind I was in, I would never get well. Twenty-five is too young to be given that kind of life sentence. When anyone is at their miserable lowest, there is nowhere to go but up. I determined in my heart that no longer would I be the person that I was. No longer would I be bound by those tormenting demons of the flesh.
I took a good look at myself and did not like what I saw. It was a life that could not really give, could not really love, and could not serve God the way that He should be served. I also realized that I did not love my self, did not like myself, and at times could not even tolerate myself.
The Bible says, and it is the second part of the commandments, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater. . .“ (Mark 12:31). If we do not love ourselves, there is no way we can love others. We cannot love our neighbor, we cannot love souls, and I wonder if we can even love our husbands without first loving ourselves.
The Bible also says, “He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” (I John 4:20). If we cannot love ourselves, we do not love our brother, and if we do not love our brother, then we do not love God. That, my friend, becomes serious business.
Most of our failure to love ourselves is caused by a lack of self-esteem, which the devil uses to his cunning advantage. It is hard for most Christians to love them selves because it is confused with pride. Our parents taught us not to have pride and our church has taught us not to have pride. They never really separated pride and self-esteem, and one became the other, both appearing to be wrong. We were encouraged to be humble, not to think highly of ourselves, and to be meek and lowly; then you shall inherit the earth. Even the song says, “For such a worm as I.” While these principles are biblical and should be a part of our lives, we should distinguish between true humility and a lack of faith, between self-esteem and pride.
The whole concept of the world thrives on self- doubt and negativism. How often did we hear the word don’t growing up. Even the clerk, making polite conversation, will mention the war in the Middle East. The weather man will say, “Twenty-five percent chance of rain today.” Why didn’t the clerk mention the fact that America has not been in a war in several years or the weather man inform us of a seventy-five percent chance of sunshine?
We, as humans, often feed on the negative side of life, and we can become as dominos, knocking one down so that it becomes a chain reaction. Is there any wonder that there is so much hatred and violence, or coldness and backbiting? It is because few people love themselves in the biblical sense.
Depression, anger, and jealousy, to name a few, are all brought on by a lack of self-acceptance or self- love. I believe with all my heart that this crippling factor in our lives is a powerful tool of the devil. He will attack the ministry in any way possible, and he will use whatever he can to pull the man of God and his wife down.
This fact became evident in my life. When fear and worry were at their peak, I clung to my husband constantly nagging or correcting him (most of the time in public). I would sit through church tied in knots be cause I would not believe or have faith in his ministry. I worried, and I poured out all those worries and fears to him.
Gradually, I saw my big, strong husband become unsure of himself and lose that confidence and authority that was his. In the pulpit, he became less certain, and I’m sure the devil was clapping his hands with glee. “I knew they wouldn’t fall from any sin, but I’m going to get them this way. If I can’t make them fall completely, then I’ll stunt their growth where they won’t be effective for God.”
It is so important to be an uplifter rather than a downtrodder. I have heard it said over and over, “a woman can make or break her husband.” I, believe that with all my heart. When I was lifted up, our home became lifted up. Joy, hope, and happiness returned and peace restored the marred features on both of our faces to their radiant beauty. My husband has re turned to the full strength of his ministry, and we are both traveling on to greater heights and deeper depths. It is a great feeling to have knocked the devil out of commission.
HOW TO OVERCOME
Before I was able to conquer any of my problems, I had to learn to love myself. Jesus had commanded it, He believed in it, and He even revealed to Paul that without love we are as sounding brass or a tinkling symbol.
Coming to terms with the real me was a difficult battle. There were years of teaching and layers of doubt that covered up my spirit. I had spent much of my time trying to become the person I thought every one wanted me to be.
It was only when I realized that Jesus took me just as I was with every one of my hangups could I begin to accept me. I wrote down a list of my plus factors, and I listed everything I could think of. . .pretty hair, strong white teeth, long eyelashes. I did not hold back on anything. I forgot pride, I forgot fear, I just concentrated on the positive assets in my life.
I found to my amazement that there were quite a few. I realized that I did have good qualities—not just one, but several. After I had learned about my assets, I took a good, long look at me. I was not a perfect human being. I had faults. But I was as good as other human beings. And I accepted me just as I was. No longer did I feel inferior or afraid of anyone. I was all right being me.
I looked at my friendship to others, and I decided I wanted not only to love myself, but also to become my own friend. After I had become my own friend, I started to believe in me and to back me up. I knew I could accomplish a certain goal, so I started out. “I think I can, I think I can,” and then it became, “I know I can, I know I can,” and then it was “I did it, I did it!” That was evidence and strength to the belief in myself.
Not one bit of this attitude is pride. Pride is “Look at me, I’m better than anybody. I have the prettiest hair, whitest teeth, longest eyelashes.” Self love says, “You know, I really do like myself. I’m happy with me.” When I was able to say that without any doubt, there was victory in the camp. I was a totally different person. I was calm, I became an achiever, I was an overcomer, and worry and fear were wiped from my slate.
The next step I took in helping myself was becoming better acquainted with the Bible. I had memorized the 23rd Psalm and Acts 2:38 as a child, but I had never established a real, genuine relation ship with the Bible. I viewed it as a piece of theological literature, deep and dark in its meaning. However, as I reached into its pages, I found warmth and love.
It became interesting, really interesting, and I found on some occasions that I could hardly tear my self away from it. It was a positive force, and it rein forced what I was learning about myself.
I hunted scriptures of encouragement and scriptures of promises. Each night I would memorize one and walk with the help and encouragement of its message the next day. I started out with, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippines 4:13). I went on to: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (II Timothy 1:7).
Each verse of Scripture became a stepping stone up the pathway to the mountaintops, and the valleys that had seemed so endless became resting places of green pastures.
Jesus cares about us, of our hurts and torments, and He always means for us to turn to him so that He can minister to us. There are times when we are totally alone and no one, not even our husbands can help us. We have to turn to Jesus and He is always there. He took bruises for our bruises and shame for our shame. We are but reeds blowing in the wind, battered and torn, no good for anyone, but he is the reed mender. “A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench” (Isaiah 42:3). Jesus is the strength of our salvation.
There is another part, equally important with the Word, in cleaning up my life, and that is a strong communication to God. When I began to pray everyday, I became assured of Jesus’ love for me. I began to trust Him, I got to know Him, and He became my greatest friend.
Not only will a prayer life bring a friendship with Jesus, but it will also give strength and immunization to your spirit so that when harmful arrows are flung your way, they will not pierce you.
A prayer life will also guide your spirit into the channel of His Spirit so that in a service you and your husband become one in the Spirit, one vessel ministering, one team accomplishing God’s plan. You will see results in your ministry as a team and also in your own life, for God has a call and purpose or you would not be in the position you are in.
Looking into the mirror of my life, I found smudges in another area. I was an avid reader, but much of my life had been spent reading books that had no significant value, no spiritual uplifting, and no emotional strength. I had persuaded my mind to believe I just could not concentrate on positive thinking books. Maybe you were the same way.
I remembered about my love for the Bible, and I thought I would give some of these positive, faith- building books a try. The more I read, the stronger my positive attitude developed, and I realized that I had lived not only in a negative light, but I had fed my mind fantasy and unreal ideas.
I am not saying that reading novels is wrong, but if that is all you read and you have self-doubt or fear and worry, get rid of them and cleanse and purify your mind. We are a temple of the Holy Ghost and God cannot dwell in an unclean temple. It will be worth it to you to be a happy person.
We must have positive points in our life to be positive. A positive and a negative create a negative force. If we are down, we pull everyone around us down, for a negative is stronger than a positive. We pull down our husbands, our friends, our family, the pastor’s wife, and even the saints where we are preaching. Our husbands were called on the field to minister, not just to preach, and we are blocking God’s will. If we will not allow His will to be accomplished, He will move on to someone who will.
There are several good books on the market today, and I will mention them at the end of this chapter. But the one that became important to me is called, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, by Dale Carnegie. I was grasping for straws because I could see my life slowly but surely getting out of control. I knew that the harmful factors in my life were ruining me, and I would become as the old man, nothing but an “I could have been.” Reading this book helped me become the person I desired to be.
With health and love restored to me, I was headed in the right direction. However, I still found my days uncompromising in attaining my goals. If we are really serious about changing and becoming a better person, God will direct our lives in the right direction. He did that in the form of the evangelist’s seminar.
I listened to Sister Thetus Tenney tell us that evangelizing was the greatest opportunity for self growth and accomplishment. She encouraged us to do something about our lives and not to waste this valuable time. I left the seminar inspired and encouraged, determined to become organized.
Inspiration, unfortunately, did not accomplish its directive, and I found myself back on a treadmill. Frustrated and confused, I tried several angles of bringing my life together, but with each angle my life became even more tangled until I shelved accomplishment until we settled down.
This time is the greatest opportunity for us because when we settle down, time becomes ladies meetings, fixing meals, counseling, visiting the hospitals, and other pastoral duties. This is the best time of our life to get a good foundation on principles, goals, and overcoming.
Again I say that God will direct you. He gave me the incentive and then he showed me the way it could be done. I found this way in the book, Discipline of a Beautiful Woman, by Anne Ortland.
In this book she suggests the use of a notebook. I followed her lead and put my notebook together. I made several sections, the first of which was my daily goals, appointments, and calendar. I wrote what needed to be done on that particular day, and then I attempted to achieve it. At the end of each day, if any thing was left on the page undone, it was given top priority the next day. Then the page was discarded.
I also made a section on goals—what I wanted to accomplish during each revival, what I wanted to accomplish in one year, and what I wanted done in five years. I created a section for prayer and a section for my husband. There are unlimited ideas for your notebook.
I have had my notebook for a year and a half, and it is still working for me. I carry it with me wherever I go, and I am lost without it. It keeps my life on the right track.
If you feel helpless and frustrated and you want to be different, try the notebook. You have nothing to lose and much to gain.
BE THE BEST YOU, YOU CAN BE
It is important to be our best. We should be our best in church, in fellowshipping with others and in our relationship to our home and our husband. When we give our best in our home, we allow God to work because we have created a place of harmony and warmth.
I believe it is important to look neat not only when we are in public, but also before our husbands. Satan fights against the ministry very strongly, and we can become unwilling accomplices just by our actions.
Our husbands view pretty women every day. If he leaves us looking frazzled and returns to the same situation, he could began to notice those attractive women.
It is of consequence that we look attractive even at home (or room or trailer). I don’t mean dressed for General Conference, but neat enough so that your husband will enjoy coming home.
I discovered that loving yourself brings a glow to your features. Self love can create happiness. When we are happy, we make others happy. Self love inspires us to look neat because we feel good about ourselves. It becomes a joy to wake up in the morning.
I have determined in my heart that I will learn from the past day and become better. I will not stay the same as I was, but I will grow and change.
In the Bible, a man had three servants. To one servant he gave five talents, to another two, and to the last one. The first servant increased his to ten, the second also doubled his, but the third hid his one talent in the ground. Maybe he said to himself, “Life was not fair to me. I was cheated because I only got one talent.”
Many of us are the same way. Instead of working on our assets, we look at others and marvel at their abilities. We lose our perspective as we stargaze, after time has past and we are still the same, and we become mealy-mouthed, whiny whimperers bemoaning our fate.
I want to polish every little speck of gold in my life. I want to keep my abilities shiny, and I want to discover in me every little piece of flint that might lead to a hidden spark waiting to be ignited.
I want to be honed and chiseled and smoothed and sanded. I want the rough edges to be absolved. I want to work on myself to be the best me I can be. After all, I’m all I’ve got and if I do it make the best of this situation, in the end I’ll lose.
Benjamin Franklin gave himself a severe going over every night. He discovered he had thirteen serious faults. He realized that unless he eliminated these handicaps, he was not going to get very far. So he battled with one of his shortcomings every day for a week, and he kept a record who had won each day’s slugging match. The next week, he would pick another bad habit and start again.
It is to our advantage to improve ourselves. We will be loved, we will have satisfaction of a job well done, and we will have fulfillment in our lives.
Now is the time to start. Don’t wait until tomorrow—tomorrows never come. They only lead to “but I could have been.”
An old Norwegian tale says it well. A boy in the woods found an egg in a nest, took it home, placed it with the eggs under a goose and it hatched out—a freakish creature! Its deformed feet—unwebbed, claw like—made it stumble as it tried to follow the little geese. And his beak was not flat; it was pointed and twisted. Instead of having lovely cream-colored down, it was an ugly brown color. And to top it off, he made a terrible squawking sound! He seemed to be a genetic freak—so ugly and disfigured.
Then one day a giant eagle flew across the barnyard. The eagle swept lower and lower until the strange, awkward little bird on the ground lifted his head and pointed his crooked beak into the sky. The misfit creature then stretched his wings and began to hobble across the yard. He flapped his wings harder and harder until the wind picked him up and carried him higher and higher. He began to soar through the clouds. He had discovered what he was—he was born an eagle! And he had been living like a goose. We have God’s Spirit dwelling in us; we have His Word to lead us, His hand to guide us, and His power to help us overcome. With God on our side, we will not lose!
GOOD READING MATERIAL
How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie
Imaging by Norman Vincent Peale
See You at the Top by Zig Ziglar
How to Be Your Own Best Friend by Newman & Berkowitz
Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz
Discipline of a Beautiful Woman by Anne Ortland
The Winner’s Edge by Denis Waitley
Positive Verses of Scriptures
II Timothy 1:7
II Corinthians 10:3-5
I Corinthians 13