|Partners Assisting the Lords Servants|
Article for the former "Bivocational Beacon" the National Newsletter for Bivocational Ministers,
more specifically, from the women's section, called:
"Meanwhile, Back at the Tent".
by: Margaret Bittle
It's 5:15 a.m. and the radio begins to play at the Bittle house. My husband, Shelby, gives me a kiss and heads for the kitchen. I snuggle down under the covers and lie there for another 5 minutes. As I reach for my Bible and my personal quiet time, he comes in with my morning cup of coffee. Not every day in the year begins this way. You see, my husband is a bivocational pastor/evangelist and that makes for a busy and different lifestyle. He is pastor of Brownsville Baptist Church, near the beautiful Greers Ferry Lake between Heber Springs and Batesville, Arkansas. He also is a bivocational evangelist and serves as Vice President of the Arkansas Vocational Evangelists. If that is not enough to keep him busy, he also takes on the third position of "house husband".
As you can probably guess and to further complicate things, I also have a full-timejob. I am secretary to Clarence Shell and Paul McClung in the Evangelism Department, Arkansas Baptist State Convention. This was where I had met my future husband a number of years ago. He had served as Director of Evangelism in his association and was in the office occasionally. After the death of my flrst husband, Shelby Bittle came by the office to express concern as a friend. This beautiful friendship then led to a beautiful love and on November 22, 1961, I became Mrs. Shelby Bittle. Our five children and ALL grandchildren honored us by being apart of our marriage ceremony and reception.
Becoming the wife of the pastor of a small church brings both much joy and responsibility. As Shelby is all things to all people, my being his wife puts me second on the list. It may be to quickly put out paper towels or teach a class at the last minute and I'm NOT a teacher! They repay this with much love and support. We learn that so much of the time availability is the most important thing.
Becoming the wife of an evangelist has also added blessings. Since we have no children at home, I am free to be with Sheiby as much as my job will allow. It may be a revival in a remote hill area of north Arkansas or a 60-mile (each way) per night trip to a farming area of eastern Arkansas. It may be a small church where they need a pianist and I get volunteered (even with my limited abilify). It may even be as far away as Colorado. We have traveled so many miles and met so many of God's choice people in these times. But I would not trade places with anyone.
To some, this lifesfyle would appear foolish. But then, as a Christian, there are alot of things we do that appear foolish to a non-Christian. It's a busy, but rewarding life. I thank God each day for the blessings He has allowed me.
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