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Lavada Richards Wife Of JR Richards
Each of us has a story.  We all have backgrounds, experiences, challenges and celebrations that have shaped us to be the women we are today. The Bible says we are to uplift and encourage others. I think each of us can use our stories to help other women.  So, here’s a little of my story and I hope it will inspire and motivate you to share your story with others.
 
I am a 7-year rookie in this season of my life and still learning…..I’m the wife of J.R. of Gold Harbor. When I married J.R. 20 years ago, he was God sent and perfect for me!  I knew about his ministry and that he was a retired gospel singer, but he was done. I knew his momma had sang and played guitar in brush harbors and tent revivals! I am a PK (preacher’s kid) and actually, both of my parents were and are ordained ministers! When I was growing up, my momma, daddy, brother and I sang in church and I just always listened to gospel music my whole life!  So, that was right up my alley!  I am so thankful that God chose my parents for me and growing up as a PK  I felt like I had a good understanding how God places a call on our lives, that some calls on our lives impacts our families, and sacrifices have to be made to pursue and walk in obedience to the Father.  
 
So, the first 13 years of our marriage we spent almost every moment together; we had great jobs, we went to Church, helped others with Acts of Kindness, had a coat ministry for salespeople in the car business (and other people who needed them), sang in the choir, taught Sunday School and played a lot!  
 
Then, J.R. felt he needed to do more.  During all this time, I should have realized that “we” can retire, but when a call is on your life, it never retires.  So, he went back into ministry.  It was a real change for both of us; I think it was as difficult for him as it was for me, just in different ways.  It was hard, our lives changed from what we had known for 13 years, our finances changed, and we had many talks about these changes.  He knew and I knew, you just do not interfere with God’s plan unless you want a life of misery.  We had already been there and done that….so, together we surrendered to God’s plan.  
 
It was difficult for me because we were always together!  Over the years, Jim and his mom talked about how challenging it was for the spouse at home; they called it the “Gospel Widow”.  I had all types of emotions; excited, lonely, happy, sad, depressed, etc.  Also, there were the little things, like routines.  Before, we each had our “little chores” around the house.  He fed the dog and I fed the cat.  He checked the mailbox and I sorted it.  I bundled up the trash and he took it to the street for pickup.  The first few times when he would come home, he would ask me, when I’m gone, do you mind checking the mail?  I said, Oh…okay, sure…although in 14 years I hadn’t checked the mail!  And he said, by the way, have you been feeding the dog?  Oops….hmmm…No?  I am not sure what would have happened had I been like many of you with children and all their activities!  Oh my!  Then the more significant events like, something happens to the car and who should I call, the faucet starts leaking, something breaks in the house or the more urgent issues like when I got sick and thankfully my momma and a couple of friends were at the house when I passed out and they rushed me to the hospital!   You experience similar situations when your husband is traveling.  
 
And, what about communication?  When do you discuss family plans or concerns?  When he traveled, I usually talked to him for a few minutes at all times of the day; early morning (when I was getting ready for work and running behind), middle of the day (when I was at work and couldn’t talk), or very late at night (when I was asleep!).  Sometimes he was so excited about how God had moved in the service and how many people gave their lives to Christ!  Sometimes they were sitting somewhere eating, laughing, all talking at the same time, etc.
 
Although I was a PK, I was in unfamiliar territory and looking back now, I think I desperately needed a mentor.  Someone to help me, encourage me and help me understand all of my emotions.  Someone who was experienced at this, someone that wasn’t a rookie; a seasoned veteran.  I didn’t know who to reach out to and even if I did, I was not comfortable admitting that I needed help.  The few wives I knew had children, careers, and had very busy schedules, already had their own circle of friends, and I’m sure they were trying to survive themselves and didn’t have time to take on another project (me)!  I understood.  I had my career and was busy myself.  I didn’t have children but I had family and friends, but they could not relate to what I was experiencing.
 
Four years have passed and I’m still learning and growing.  There has not been a spectacular miracle to help me learn how to adjust!  However, God continues to place people in my life to share their experiences with me.  Like recently, I was talking with a couple of precious friends.  We were just talking about when everyone leaves on the bus and you stay behind.  I mentioned how I always cry.  One of my friends said, you really should not do that; it makes it hard on him when you do.  As I laughed, I told this friend, it doesn’t matter if it’s him or me leaving town (in my career I travel a lot myself), I always cry!  .  Weeks went by and one day as we were preparing for J.R. to travel, I remembered how he always sends me off on my business trips!  He is always upbeat, and encourages me have fun, enjoy my job and eat!  (He loves to eat!)  I remembered how I love the way he supports me and makes me feel when I have to leave home.  Then the Lord recalled to my memory, the words my friend had said to me “You really shouldn’t do that (cry); it makes it really hard on him when you do.”  Hm….Wow.  Because my friend shared their perspective and experience, now I do my best to encourage J.R. when he leaves; “Enjoy what you do”, Eat, and “Have fun” with lots of smiles and sincerity!  
 
As I continue this journey, within the last year, I’ve had the opportunity to travel with J.R. a few times.  I’ve seen “his” world (his workplace) and how God has ordained Gold Harbor, how people give their lives to Christ or they are blessed by the songs because Gold Harbor has been obedient to the call on their lives.  Also I’ve seen all the hard work that goes into what they do; the long hours on the bus, the long trips, unloading and loading the equipment, the inconsistency of sleep, their hours, when and what they eat, the drain they have when they’ve been in service ministering to people, etc.  It’s been an eye opener for me!
 
So, why did I share this with you?  I enjoy helping others and if I can share something that I have learned to encourage you, that’s what I want to do.  I wanted to share with you that there are no easy answers, but stay in prayer and study.  Also, know that your steps are ordained of God and so is your husband’s/boyfriend’s.  It isn’t easy, but neither was the road to Calvary for Jesus and His dying for our sins.  Each of us has a gift/call from God and we choose whether to recognize it and use it.  Sometimes we do not recognize our gifts because they come so naturally (please remember this includes being a mom), or “my” call does not seem to be important (like my husband sings for the Lord) or we want someone else’s call (my best friends personality!). Psalm 139:14 says I am (You are, Your husband is) fearfully and wonderfully made! Let me ask you….What is “your” gift/call and how can you touch others’ lives (like only YOU can)?    
 
In closing, God has a Master Project Plan and He has assigned each of us a “task” based on our gift/call,  In order for His Master Project Plan to be completed, each of us must do our task, our part.  You have your task and your husband/boyfriend has his task.  Do you whine and complain when he uses his gift?  Does he whine or complain when you use your gift?   If this is where you are right now (and we’ve all been there), take your whining and complaining to God and He will turn it into peace, beauty and sincerity.
 
 
I hope I have encouraged you today and if I can help by listening or encouraging, I am here.  
Love, Honor and Praise the Lord Jesus Christ
Lavada as published on http://sogospelnews.com/index/content/articles/the-gospel-widow/
 

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