This woman not only is a cowgirl and rancher, but an author, preacher's wife and first and foremost a Jesus follower! We started following this woman on our instagram and then I further started following her on her blog thecowboypastorswife.com. There was a story in particular that she posted called "13 More Sayings We Don't Hear Anymore." She wrote about finding a letter from her father in law and the excitement that she had when she found this letter. You will have to read the whole post, but this ministered to me as I had just found something that I had not seen in years. It was such a reminder to me that God is faithful and that no matter what, He's got it. She then stated, "I want to approach God's word just like I did when I found this long lost letter." Norma Elliott has a way of writing that connects you to directly where she is at as she shares everything from living the ranching life, to cowboy church, being a Pastor's wife and marriage. You will definitely want to check out her blog and her most recent book, "30 Ways To A Confident Marriage" that her husband Wendel and herself wrote, just this year. When I asked Norma about the book and her marriage she told me that Wendel and her have been married for 27 years in December (congrats). I love asking people who have been married for a great length of time for any wisdom on marriage! Take a look below at what Norma said about her book and about marriage!
The push came when we were at a rehearsal dinner years ago, you know the one, if you've been married five years stand up, ten, fifteen, twenty. Well, we had been married the longest. In a room of grandparents, parents, friends, we had been married the longest! We were in shock. We have been married for 27 years this December. That was our push to change the numbers. I give the advice that I received as a bride. "Now is when the work begins." I thought this was funny at the time. I had caught the guy, right? I felt like I couldn't love Wendel any more than I did that day. I can honestly say I love him more and he feels the same. God gives us this assignment too. Philippians 1:6 says, "He that began a good work in you, He will continue to perfect it." We had to trust the builder, God and follow His design. Philippians 1:2 says, "work out your salvation...", and the results effect all areas of life, including marriage. Now with that said, check out her Brave story!!!
Hello! My name is Norma Elliott. I am a wife, a mother, a mother-in-law and a grandmother. I’m a grandmother! For goodness sakes it’s a blast!!! I’m also a cowboy Pastor’s wife, and an assistant ranch manager. I just gave myself that title! I don’t know if the ranch owners are aware that I am the assistant manager but I’ll pencil it in, to be erased if they ever see it. I also am a blogger. I am really nobody. Just an ordinary girl or grandma girl, I should say. I don’t even know if I am brave but I hope that I am. I’ve done several things afraid so I guess they call it brave.
I would say out of the list above I never thought I would be a “pastor’s wife." My husband never expected to be a Pastor. In fact if someone would have told me ten years ago that I would be helping my husband manage a ranch and a church, I would have asked them if they were feeling okay. God takes us to places we never expect, if we can get passed the fear of it!
So that’s where I will begin. My husband, Wendel and I were doing youth ministry at a Leon River Cowboy Church in Eastland, Tx. We were trucking along just fine. We absolutely loved our Pastor and his authentic personality. We began to feel a restlessness. We weren’t sure what it was but felt like there was a change coming in our lives. Our Pastor approached Wendel to ask if he would be interested in being a Pastor in west Texas, close to where he had grown up. He immediately thought no!! He didn’t see himself in this position and I for sure wasn’t seeing myself as an organ playing preacher’s wife. I’m sorry in advance if you play the organ! We both had an idea of what that might look like and weren’t interested. As the words came out of his mouth, I told my husband he better ask God. We began to pray, silently, without mentioning it to anyone else. Then, we called friends to pray with us. We came to visit the current Pastor and his wife. Before we knew it, we were loading the truck, trailer and heading west!
I had much fear about my new position. How could a girl of my age (this was before the grandma thing) possibly be a Pastor’s wife? Would I be good at giving advice. Would I point them to the right scriptures. Would I embarrass myself or worse, my husband by doing something so in my character. Would I laugh when I was suppose to cry or vise versa. I had so much apprehension. What all would be required of me anyways? A Cowboy Pastor’s Wife at that! I’m not sure what you’re calling me to do Lord!?! I am not a confident person and have struggled with this all my life. I began to pray about what I needed to do, I knew I would need to step up in some areas. God have me Hebrews 10:35-36, ”Do not throw away your confidence, as it will be richly rewarded."
I would have no idea what this would really mean and how many situations I would be in that were difficult for me. You know, I mentioned earlier, doing things even though you’re afraid I felt God calling me to get over certain fears I had about horses. My husband on the other hand was raised on a horse. He was also raised on a ranch with four other brothers that rode. His dad managed ranches, ran packing plants, and all kinds of “ranchy” things. My family had not. We had a little family farm at one time. Enough to spark my interest. Somewhere along the way, probably after seeing a few good horse wrecks my husband had on colts, I developed a real fear. A fear that chased me down and tackled me. It became REAL BIG, REAL FEAR, REAL FAST!! Now, no one said to me…"Norma, since you are now a Cowboy Pastor’s Wife, you need to ride a horse, you need to day work, you need to rope, you need to do….xyz!" I was never told that! It had been something God had been dealing with me for years. It wasn’t necessarily the riding part, it was the fear part. Anytime we let fear steal away something that belongs to us, we miss opportunities. I was hungry for those opportunities. Mine just happened to be in this area. Yours might look different. Your fear might be flying, or starting a Bible study, or standing in front of people. But, I bet you can identify your fear, even as you read this post. I knew the more I focused on the fear, the more I was moving away from my opportunities. I had to take action in the opposite direction.
So, we scraped enough money together to buy me a horse. Not a horse for one of our sons, a ranch horse for my husband, or a colt that had never been saddled. This would be a horse that could be trusted. A horse that I sat on in the pens for 45 minutes before I got up the guts to walk her up the road, with my husband and boys encouraging me the whole way. A horse that babysat me, that didn’t run off, that didn’t try to buck me off. One that wouldn’t be gone in 30 days, 60, or even 90, but was very own. One saddlin’ at a time, God would begin to chip away on the fear that resided in my heart. I would go with Wendel to work for our friends the Nelson’s. They were so patient with me, even when I switched places in the drive. Some days I came home crying because I messed up. Other days I would do something I had never done before, that for me was a small victory, like riding up and anticipating where I needed to be. I’m embarrassed by my fears or what used to be fears. I wish I could say that I was amazing!!! But, one task at a time God gave me more hope, more trust, more confidence! I had no idea I would be doing the things I get to do. I had no idea how this confidence would help me in other areas of ministry, of helping other woman find their opportunities.
Since that time of being held in fear, I have gotten to day work beside my family and wonderful friends. I have experienced the trust worthiness of ranch women who have taught me immeasurable lessons, not only about horses but about life. I have ridden beside my husband to baptize some dear friends, who committed to following Christ in obedience. I’ve ridden beside him, while he performed a very special wedding, it was for a rancher he greatly admired since he was a kid. I also experienced a horseback funeral procession for a cowboy who was well respected in our little community. I’ve also worked beside many ladies, either on their ranches or them helping us. At church we’ve done Cowgirl Gatherings, where you have the option to bring a horse or not, either way it reaches out to women who love the western culture and most of all love Jesus! One of my greatest joys is working beside my husband on the ranches we manage and working along some of the best hands I could ever imagine. Sometimes, I look up and I am with a crew of men and I will think, “You did this Lord!” Other times, when my husband is not too happy because I missed a cow when sortin’ I will think, ”You did this Lord!” I had to add a little humor.
You see, that’s just it. It’s not the horses, living on a ranch, or how “punchy” we think we are. We can elevate those things above God. It’s hard to be brave in the face of fear, even ordinary fear that overcomes you. I guess the one thing I would want someone to take away from this is, find your opportunities even if you have to face your fears. Thank you for listening……..
The Cowboy Pastors Wife