Cavanaugh’s honesty adds zest to speaking
JEFFERSON CITY—When you are a pastor’s wife, saying all the right things but having a season of dryness, the last thing you want is an invitation to speak. That was Connie Cavanaugh’s condition when the phone rang, but it was the first step to spiritual healing after nearly 10 years of hopelessness.
Cavanaugh will tell about her experiences at the Missouri Ministers’ Wives Luncheon Oct. 30 as part of the 173rd annual meeting of the Missouri Baptist Convention at Tan-Tar-A, Osage Beach.
With insight and humor, Cavanaugh is a writer and sought-after speaker. Vivan McCaughan, WMU/Women’s missions and ministry specialist, refers to her as being “very authentic. She brings Bible truths to life practices. She adds humor to her sharing. She’s just a very authentic Christian woman, wife, speaker, mother and grandmother.”
Cavanaugh’s topic, “The Journey: Facing the Giants of Ministry,” is especially directed to ministers’ wives, particularly to those who may have faced, are currently facing, or may someday face a season of dryness.
She said her own season of dryness was personally devastating. She had always been zealous for the Lord and never thought such a thing would happen to her. Now, she was fearful that others would learn the secret of her spiritual condition.
Cavanaugh, who lives with her husband, Gerry Taillon, in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada, said spiritual dryness is especially difficult for ministers’ wives. “You didn’t marry an electrician. You can’t just stop pulling wires. You’re stuck,” she said.
God pursued her through another believer, a woman in the church who felt led to pray for people in ministry.
The Lord impressed on the heart of this woman a message from Psalm 51. She called Cavanaugh and invited her over for tea.
“She exhorted me from Psalm 51,” Cavanaugh said. “My Bible was gathering dust. I was going through the motions and saying all the right words, but my heart wasn’t in it.”
Verse 6 was particularly penetrating, “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts.” When she came to verse 12, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation,” Cavanaugh thought, “Yeah. Right.”
After reading verse 13, “Then I will teach transgressors your ways,” she looked at Cavanaugh and said, “Connie, that is what God is calling you to do. Face it.”
“I nodded, smiled, and sipped my tea,” said Cavanaugh. “When she prayed, for a moment I was back where I had lived with the Lord for years. When she said, ‘Amen,’ it was over.
“Walking back to my house, I was angry with God. I was praying a rant against God. I said, ‘OK. If I’m supposed to teach transgressors, I’ll do it! Fine! But you’re going to have to come after me!’”
Shortly afterward, the phone rang. The caller was inviting her to speak to a group. She had done some public speaking previously but it averaged only once or twice a year. “It dawned on me that my rant was a prayer. I said yes. I was afraid to say no.”
She wondered what she would talk about and realized God wanted her to tell the truth about her spiritual condition – the one thing she didn’t want to tell. “I didn’t want to blow my cover,” she said.
It was through her speaking and writing that God brought her back into joyful fellowship with Himself. In speaking truthfully of her spiritual struggles she received more invitations to speak.
“The phone has not stopped ringing,” she said. “It helps that God has gifted me with the ability to see everyday things with a humorous twist.”
Cavanaugh will identify and discuss some of the giants that rob ministers’ wives of their joy. Among the giants are rapid church growth, lack of privacy, limited finances, emotional overload, time pressures, other people’s needs and spiritual dryness.
Tickets for the luncheon and program are $16. Seating is limited.