This is part of a series on clergy couples and their stories. Andy and I wrote a book about being a clergy couple and all the insanity that goes along with it called Yoked: Stories of a Clergy Couple in Marriage, Family, and Ministry.
“I don’t know how this is all going to work out if we get married.” The sentence hung in the air where we were sitting at a Starbucks in New Jersey. Austin and I were engaged and talking through the logistics of how we were both going to serve in the church, and live together in the same town, and feel fulfilled in our callings, and not feel like we were stifling each other… and… and… and…
My plan-for-the-future brain was on hyper drive. We didn’t know how things would look a year from then, much less a decade down the road once we threw in some hypothetical children. Walking into the unknown was scary for both of us. It’s scary for anyone.
Yet we took a deep breath, got married, entered into the call process, graduated from seminary, and moved halfway across the country for my husband to serve as an associate pastor at a church.
Fast-forward 5 ½ years, and we can see how everything did work out for both of us to serve churches and feel fulfilled, all while married to each other. Some years were more difficult than others but the journey strengthened our faith. The first 14 months after seminary, before I took a call, were hard for me and I often times wondered “ok, God, where am I going to serve? Where am I going to use my gifts?” Looking back, I can see that the God who called us together in marriage and called us both into ministry is big enough to help us both fulfill our callings to ministry and to each other.
It seems trite and unprofound. So much so that I almost e-mailed Mihee and backed out of writing a blog post. Yet as I sat with that truth in my head last night, I realized that it’s not trite. It’s not unprofound. That fact is the basis for our ministry- for every person’s ministry. The God who calls you to something is going to give you the avenue and the grace to fulfill that calling.
The unknowns of serving of a ministry couple can be paralyzing. By resting in the fact that God has helped us both live out our calls to ministry and be extremely fulfilled thus far, that helps me remember that God will continue to do so. Thanks be to God.
The Revs. Austin and Sara Hill currently serve the First Presbyterian Church in Fort Dodge, IA, where they live and raise their two toddlers. Sara previously served the United Presbyterian Church in Goldfield, IA. Austin and Sara met at Princeton Theological Seminary. They both graduated from PTS in 2009 with their M.Divs. Austin is currently getting his D.Min. from Fuller Theological Seminary. You can keep up with them both on Instagram: @hillaustind, @scrhill. Sara hopes to one day meet Mihee in person.