Sunday, December 6, 2015


I pulled into the Costco parking lot and, though the lot was crowded with December shoppers, was happy to find a spot right away. Walking quickly towards the entrance, I reached into my coat pocket for my phone, wanting to check the time, knowing I had but a short time to get this errand done before school pick up. 

As I glanced at my phone to see the time, I noticed an unexpected text from a woman in my church. Her hastily texted words were about her pastor, my husband, Justin. My eyes filled with tears. I wanted to stop, to write back, to say what was on my mind. But I knew it would have to wait.

Inside the store, I quickly wound my way through, arriving at the check-out line with a little time to spare.

As I unloaded several packages of paper coffee cups and a bunch of cans of dark coffee onto the conveyor, the woman behind me made eye contact, smiled, and asked me if I was shopping for the office. “Nope,” I told her. “I’m actually getting these for our coffee time at church.” She asked me a couple follow up questions about this, and I wound up sharing that my husband was the pastor of a small evangelical church in Toronto’s west end. Her eyes narrowed at this news. “Oh really,” she asked, tone skeptical. “What’s that like, being the pastor’s wife, always being under the microscope?” I paused, wondering where a question like that came from.

I said, “let me answer that by reading you a text a woman in my church just sent me. Here’s what she writes: ‘What a great guy Justin is! Great servant heart! We praise the Lord for you both.’”

I looked up at the woman. She didn’t seem to know what to say, so I filled the quiet. “These are the kind of people my husband gets to pastor. This woman, the one who sent this text, she’s actually in her seventies. I guess when the people in your church take every opportunity to love and encourage, it’s actually pretty amazing being a pastor’s wife.”

Since that afternoon, I've thought about this woman in line a few times. I wonder why she asked what she did. I wonder what she thought I would say. Most of all, though, I’ve thought about these words: They’ll know we are Christians by our love.

My 73 year old friend, Judi, chose to love me by sending me a short text telling me she appreciates my husband. Her love reached not just to me and Justin, but all the way to a stranger in line at Costco. They’ll know we are Christians by our love.

Justin is by no means a perfect pastor. But he’s a good one, a faithful one. And we’ve been so blessed to belong to a church family that has loved him and encouraged him.

Do you have a pastor who, though imperfect, is faithful? Does he know you think so? Does his wife? If not, tell them. Because your words of love might reach farther than you think.