“Trust in the Lord with all your heart…and he will make straight your paths.” -Proverbs 3:5-6
One evening as my husband and I settled in after dinner, he calmly said, “I believe I am being called to the diaconate.” Although I wasn’t surprised, the proclamation caught me a bit off guard. His gift of a servant’s heart attracted me to him many years ago. It seemed fitting that he would be called to serve as a deacon, yet he has always been a behind-the-scenes kind of guy. Thus, after a short, silent, and prayerful pause I heard myself saying, “That’s wonderful! If God is calling you, I fully support you.”
Over the past year of formation, God has revealed the ways He has been preparing us both for this path. Looking back, we now understand more clearly why, four years ago, God called us to move from our home and the parish where we had been active members for twenty-one years. The move provided the grace to “deny ourselves and follow Him” as we left behind comfort, ministries, and our parish family. This detachment gave us a deep freedom and peace, and this opened both of our hearts to accept God’s call to discernment.
Things have changed since his formation began. We now have less time to spend together, yet the time we have has become rich with grace. We begin our day praying the Liturgy of the Hours together, incorporating lectio divina as we reflect on the Scripture. To be honest, this hour used to be my private prayer time, so at first, I was a bit reluctant to share. Yet, God in His providence had prepared this time for us to learn, amid prayer, the depth of each other’s hearts.
Time alone has also been blessed by God. As Rob attends formation classes and spends time studying, at times loneliness creeps in. Yet I am constantly reminded, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, that I am never alone. The Father calls me into deeper intimacy with Him and seeks to fill the void with His love for me. Along the Via Crucis Jesus must have felt alone, yet His gaze always rested on the Father and His immense love. I believe God calls me to do the same.
Formation has just begun, yet the first year has transformed us both and drawn us into the love of the Trinity. Mary accompanies us as she accompanied the disciples in the upper room and invites us to receive the Holy Spirit and trust in God’s providence. The Lord reminds us constantly – “Be Not Afraid!” He continues to prepare us, and He is always with us. We move forward one step at a time, relying on God’s grace and Mary’s intercession as we pray for hearts open to receive God’s love and share this love boldly with those He places in our lives. Our prayer for all those in formation and their wives is for minds and hearts filled with the gifts of discernment, trust in God’s providential care, and an increased receptivity to God’s grace as He continues to make straight our paths.
We invite you to share your experiences as you support your spouse toward ordination. Do you have a story or reflection that would inspire and support wives in our community? Was there a challenge you experienced during your husband’s formation and would like to share how you overcame it? We welcome your comments and supportive insights.
Special thanks to Judy Shipp, our guest blogger, for her reflection.