Hi, my name is Beth Hogan. I am a New Englander – born and raised on the South Shore of Boston, Massachusetts. I am like most other New Englanders – I give directions based on proximity to the nearest coffee shop, I drive faster than I probably should, and I love the wet-cold feel of a northeasterly wind coming off the Atlantic on a stormy day. I came to know Christ 24 years ago in basic training as a recruit in the United States Army Reserve.
Before leaving for basic training, I had been given a pocket New Testament that I carried with me and read throughout the early weeks of my training. One day, I read something that would change me forever. I read, “…God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). As I read that verse, I thought to myself, “Well, Iʹm a sinner, that must mean that Christ died for me.” It was at that moment that I realized that Jesus Christ had died specifically for me so that I could be forgiven and reconciled to God. There I was standing all alone in a training field in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and I came to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
After basic and technical training, I went home, found a solid Bible believing church, and met Daniel Hogan – the man who was bold enough to give me a Claddagh Ring and tell me that he loved me on our first date (he had only known me for two weeks). We were married less than six months later, and that was 22 years ago this month. We have five of the most amazing, wonderful, beautiful, beloved children in this world: Abigail Grace (19), Rebekah Mercy (17), Samuel Justice (17), John Righteousness (15), and Elijah Peace (14). We love to laugh together, walk together, pray together, read books and share quotes with each other, and just be with one another whenever we can.
When I was 23 years old, my husband went into full-time pastoral ministry, and I set about nurturing the children and caring for our home. Those years were the best of times and the worst of times. They were the best of times in that I loved being with my babies (and they really were all babies together – I had five children in less than five years, talk about going MAC-10 with your hair on fire!) But, as I shared, those years were the worst of times in some ways. For I found being naturally introverted and having not come from a Christian background made serving as a pastor’s wife very difficult for me. In those years, I didn’t understand that God uses weak people – people insufficient for the task to do His work so that He gets all the glory! (1 Corinthians 2 Corinthians 2:16, 12:9-10).
That is not to say that those years were bereft of any fruitful joyful ministry. Dan and I have always enjoyed ministering together: hospitality, small group discipleship, and street evangelism have been some of the ministry endeavors we have most enjoyed doing together. One year, my husband planned a ministry trip for our family. We went to Ocean City, NJ, to do a full week of street evangelism. On our way down to the shore, the transmission in our car blew, so we rolled off the highway into the nearest car-rental location that we could find. Little did we know that the Lord had a faith-building blessing in store for us! Working behind the desk of the local rental center was a retired pastor, who paid for a full week’s vehicle rental for our family – so that we could still do our week of evangelism together. He also paid to have our car towed and loaded us up with books and other blessings for our trip! We were all amazed at the gracious providence of God in that situation!
Learning to boast in my weaknesses, accept my own inability to do ministry, and rest in the hand of providence has freed me to entrust myself to the all-sufficient power of God to work in and through me according to His good will (2 Corinthians 11:30; 2 Cor. 9:8; Philippians 2:12-13). For me, His will has included counselling women with Women at Risk International, in the prison system, and, occasionally, alongside my husband in marriage counselling. It has also included event planning and ministry coordination efforts, writing and teaching Bible Studies, and speaking at women’s ministry events and retreats. I am trusting that the Lord will use the one voice ministry to strengthen women and their relationships with one another in the truth, freedom, and love that is theirs in Christ.