Spirit-Led Woman

Want to receive SpiritLed Woman by email? Sign up here

How Did I End Up Here?

Ellen Stumbo
Ellen Stumbo wanted to be a lawyer when she grew up. God had other plans.

The SpiritLed Woman podcast is empowering women weekly to follow their purpose in Christ and boldly walk in faith. Listen at charismapodcastnetwork.com.

The associate pastor walked into our house with his wife and oldest son. I could tell right away they felt uncomfortable. They were poor, barely making ends meet. Although we were not a rich family—and my parents would have also agreed we were barely making ends meet—the difference between the poor and the middle class in Mexico is obvious. Especially when you walk into a home that still boasted furnishings, paintings, books and decorations of once upon a time, when my dad had a successful and thriving railroad business.
They walked in slowly. The pastor and his son looked around in awe, like they couldn’t believe they were in such a nice place. They made me feel like my house was a castle. If only they knew how small it was compared to the house we used to have in Mexico City. His wife couldn’t look around; she gazed down, so humble.
They’d come for dinner, so we sat down to eat.
The adults talked, and once in a while their son would look at me and smile. I was 16, and he was a year older than me. I knew he liked me, but the feeling was not mutual; I didn’t want him to get the wrong impression. So I talked to my little sisters instead.
The pastor’s wife was as quiet as her husband was friendly and open. He told stories and had us laughing while we enjoyed dessert. He was asking me questions about the future, like what I wanted to do once I graduated high school. I told him I wanted to be a lawyer.
“Maybe someday you’ll be a pastor’s wife, Helen,” he said.
Many Mexican people struggle to pronounce my name, and often people called me Helen. He was one of them, no matter how often I reminded him it was Ellen.
“Oh, I don’t think so,” I said.
“Why not? You would make a great pastor’s wife.”
I glanced at his wife, who looked at me and smiled. She was so meek, so shy.
“That’s not the type of life I want,” I said.
“Why not?” he pushed.
“Because pastors are poor, and I want so much more than that. I want to be successful in life.”
The table went quiet. I glanced at my mom and dad, who looked at me in shock. Had I really just said such an offensive thing to our pastor?
But he’d asked, and I was telling the truth.
Then our pastor started laughing—thankfully. “Oh, you’re right about that. We don’t have much when it comes to earthly treasures, but we are rich in the Lord.”
Yeah, well, being rich in the Lord didn’t cut it for me.
“And we are happy," he said. "God has met all our needs. We’ve never been in want.”
I don’t remember how the rest of the afternoon went. I don’t even remember being talked to by my parents later on. But what I do remember was calling a good friend of mine my freshmen year in college. I was already living in the U.S., attending a Christian college.
“Rumi, there is this guy I really, really like,” I said, “But here’s the problem: He wants to be a pastor.”
“Well, you’re not the pastor’s wife type of girl,” she said.
My friend, unlike me, dreamed of being a pastor’s wife. Her greatest desire was to do ministry full time. She did not care about being poor or making sacrifices. And she had always agreed with me: I was not fit to be in ministry like that.
“We’re only 18. It’s not like I’m going to marry him,” I said.
But I did. I fell in love and married him.
Almost 11 years later, my life is indeed rich—rich with love, with a man who makes me love him more and more each year; rich with the blessing of having three little girls who mean the world to me; and so rich in God’s provisions in our life.
I still wonder if I am cut out to be the pastor’s wife, but I know all God asks of me is to be real, to love Him and to trust Him. I know He’ll do the rest.
Adapted from Ellen Stumbo's blog. Ellen is a pastor's wife, and she writes about finding beauty in brokenness with gritty honesty and openness. She is passionate about sharing the real—sometimes beautiful and sometimes ugly—aspects of faith, parenting, special needs and adoption. She has been published in Focus on the Family, LifeWay, MomSense, Not Alone and Mamapedia among others.

Best Magazine Deal. Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Charisma, SpiritLed Woman and Ministry Today, all for $24. YES - I want this deal!

3 Reasons Why you should read Life in the Spirit. 1) Get to know the Holy Spirit. 2) Learn to enter God's presence 3) Hear God's voice clearly! Click Here to draw closer to God!

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Roadblock

    6 Roadblocks That Will Stop Your Spiritual Growth

    God wants you to grow in your faith, but many of us get stuck along the way.

  • 2017 is the year that swords will clash.

    Prophetic Word: 2017 Will Bring a Clashing of Heaven and Hell

    "This is a time to cross over and not pull back."

  • Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    I have been puzzled about the subject of inner healing for some time.

  • Bishop Eddie Long died at 63.

    Bishop Eddie Long Dead at 63

    "Although his transition leaves a void for those of us who loved him dearly, we can celebrate ...

  • The devil will try to silence you in any way he can. Don't give him the satisfaction.

    Satan's 2 Most Potent Lies to Render You Ineffective

    There's something in you so powerful that Satan doesn't want it out. Kyle Winkler reveals ...

  • Cindy Jacobs

    2017: Year of the Breakthrough

    "There will be a significant increase in miracles and signs and wonders."

  • Foot washing

    Shaking the Gates of Hell With a Basin of Water and a Towel

    "When I saw His foot, I knew He had come to take back territory the enemy had stolen from His ...

  • Growing relationship

    2017 Prophetic Word: The Supernatural Key to Growing Your Relationship With God

    It's vital that we understand what comes from God and what comes from the devil.

  • Are you willing to volunteer for God's offensive army?

    Prophetic Word: Preparing for God's World War 3

    God is searching for soldiers of the cross who are willing to volunteer for His offensive army.

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit