October has been Pastor Appreciation Month, and I've seen several great blog posts about everything from how to appreciate your pastor to how hard it is to be a pastor's wife. I'd like to add my two cents worth. Our current church doesn't need to celebrate Pastor Appreciation Month because they appreciate Blake year round! (Many have indeed taken time this month to verbalize their thanks to Blake as well as the whole family, and some have even blessed us with free babysitting and money to eat out! For these gifts we are so so thankful! There's just nothing like a steak with just the two of us!) But seriously, we wake up every morning so incredibly thankful for First Baptist Lee's Summit and their unconditional grace toward us! They have helped us to love ministry more than ever and sealed our callings once again! Without even knowing it, they've healed me in ways I wasn't even aware I needed. I've never met a local church more supportive and kind to not only us, but also to their community. Not one hint of ugliness prevails in this church, and I'm convinced that God is their ultimate desire! We McKinney's do not deserve to live life with these gracious Midwestern folks, but we sure are grateful for the HUGE blessings and support they have been to us for four years now! I'm not a Midwestern girl by birth, but I am now one in spirit and truth! I'm never leaving... which is so funny because I said I was never coming! Praise God He knew what He was doing!
A blog I've read recently articulated a great blessing that makes ministry fun! Another pastor's wife wrote about how we, as ministry spouses, have a front row seat to so many wonderful things! She talked about how being married to the minister means that we hear daily of God's miraculous and merciful acts. She mentioned how blessed we are that our families have opportunities to meet and hear stories of great saints who are living out their faith in reckless ways and seeing Him faithful. All this is so true, and I'm very grateful for this reality; however, we as pastor's spouses also have a front row seat to some pretty funny stuff too! I have Blake's permission to share one recent example.
Just last week a dear friend and church member passed away. Jackie Voris was absolutely the most servant hearted person in Lee's Summit! She served our family and our church in the preschool department, rocking babies with the joy of Jesus every week! She cooked the best cinnamon rolls in the world and was probably the very reason Blake decided we were being called to Lee's Summit four years ago as he is an avid cinnamon roll lover! Jackie cooked for every Disciple Now and youth camp our boys attended....and she made those cinnamon rolls a million times for hungry teenagers! She was a massive supporter of every single women's ministry event I worked on, and she encouraged me in more ways than I know how to put into words. Needless to say, Jackie was a saint to us, our church, and this community. Blake was honored to preach her funeral last Friday at 10am at FBCLS. Then he rode to Boliver, MO with Jim Carter in the hearse to preach at the graveside service.
On the way to Boliver, Blake developed a kidney stone. Poor Jim must have wondered what in the world he was going to do with a pastor in excruciating pain! Was there time to take him to the ER and make Jackie late to her own funeral...literally? Would poor Jim have to do the service himself? They at least needed some pain medicine, and evidently that's not a normal addition to a hearse. So here's the funny part! Jim and Blake (and Jackie's earthly body) stopped at the only place they could find in rural Missouri to buy some pain medicine: a liquor store! Oh my, how Jackie must have been laughing in heaven! Can you even imagine that sight - a hearse at the liquor store? I've been wondering what the family must have thought if they were following behind! By the way, Blake assures me the only "medicine" they purchased at the liquor store was Motrin.
Well, Blake made it through the trip and the graveside service. Incidentally, he also made it through a band competition, three worship services, and hosting a small group at our house last weekend while nursing that kidney stone. The entire bottle of Motrin was used! These are the everyday, normal life occurrences that even pastor's have to deal with. And these stories, in addition to all the great miraculous and merciful moments, make ministry memorable! God is indeed faithful, even using well placed liquor stores.