I was sitting on the edge of our bed staring at our bookshelf in July when it hit me: Year two of church planting is so much harder than year one. “Am I crazy,” I thought, “or am I onto something? Can anyone confirm this for me, or am I losing it?”

After I finished rolling my eyes at the dust collecting on the edge of the bookshelf, I spotted an old-ish title by a church planting pastor that I had read two years earlier. “Yes, there!” I said out loud as I reached for it. “There has to be something in this that will tell me I’m not crazy.”

I frantically flipped backward through the chapters and stood up when I came to,

“Chapter 1: Our Offering Was $137 and I Want to Use it To Buy Bullets  (0-45 people).”

I didn’t need to read another word. The chapter title confirmed that I was definitely not one Sunday away from a straight jacket like I thought. Feeling a little on edge was part of the deal.

A few days later I realized that I was craving more confirmation that year two was a different kind of hard than year one. I needed to hear more stories of people (wives in particular) who pushed church planting boulders up hills and questioned their footing—and their endurance—they way I was questioning mine. So I did what any legit pastor’s wife would do: I combed the Bible Twitter until I landed on a little blog called Grace Covers Me.

“I want to bear fruit in my home, in our church, and in our community. But sometimes I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere.”

~When You Don’t See Fruit, April 30, 2012 

I clocked out at work and spent two hours devouring nearly every post from Christine Hoover, the blog’s writer, including several helpful interviews she featured there with other church planting wives. True to the name of the blog, grace covered me. I felt relieved, understood, and more confident in our call to Vegas than ever before. Reading her blog has been a staple in my morning routine ever since.

Which brings me to a giveaway!

Christine’s first book, The Church Planting Wife: Help and Hope for Her Heart, released today, and she was kind enough to send me a copy earlier this month. I gulped it down like it was a cinnamon dolce latte, and I’m thrilled to say that it deserves a permanent perch on the shelf of every woman who
is in ministry alongside her husband, be it church planting or otherwise. The book is a tight hug and a hand up; it’s an intelligent and impassioned reminder that while the ground beneath us may feel wobbly, it is actually quite solid.

 “No matter who you are or what kind of church planting work you’re doing or what is going on with your church, you will face the decision daily: faith or fear? dependence or independence? In fact, those are questions for all believers seeking to live a life of faith, church planting or not. Everything hangs in the balance and things feel a little wobbly all the time.

But that is where we meet Christ. He’s not in our independence and control and plan Bs. In all the uncertainty and instability of church planting, we don’t have to despair for He holds all things together. Rather than expending our energy attempting to control life, rather than trying to fulfill some false standard of perfection, we must instead cultivate a dependent heart.” ~The Church Planting Wife, page 33 

If you would like a chance to receive a free copy of The Church Planting Wife, Christine has graciously offered to send a copy to one of my blog readers. So, if you are out there, leave a shout out in the comments and I’ll draw a winner on Monday. Even if you aren’t a ministry wife, you can enter and win a copy to give to your pastor’s wife. Word on the street is that they appreciate awesome gifts. But I’ve just heard this.