ORLANDO—Handing each woman a broken shell similar to the one she wore around her neck, Cheryl Rice called the ministry wives to observe the beauty revealed in its brokenness.
The shells were broken for many reasons, Rice explained. Some had weathered storms. Some had been stepped upon. Others had experienced the trauma of rough waves or had been battered by crashing shells.
There are more broken shells scattered along the beach than whole ones, Rice reminded the women. And in their imperfections come their beauty.
Then she shared 2 Corinthians 12:19. “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
The illustration was especially meaningful to Milvian Lema of Miramar. “We are all broken but God still uses us. We need to see our church members in that same light. They, too, are broken, but God will use them. I’ll never look at a broken shell in the same way again.”
Sandy Parrish of Jacksonville, who serves in a ministry to pastors and families, said the shell anecdote was one that all ministry wives need to hear. “God sees the beauty of our brokenness. We must pour into others with the beauty of our own brokenness.”
Rice was the main speaker during the Ministry Wives breakout session at the Challenge 2025 gathering in Orlando Feb. 22. The wife of Willy Rice, pastor of Calvary Church in Clearwater, told the women the past two years in ministry were nothing like the 38 years she previously had served as a pastor’s wife.
She took the time in lockdown to study the Bible, write, pray and look at lessons God was teaching her in the midst of the pandemic. The lessons she gleaned included: take your “weary worn out wondering” to Jesus; passionately pursue your purpose; face conflict with kindness; and value beauty in brokenness.
“God showed up and did great things in the middle of a global pandemic,” Rice said.
Many of the questions related to family relationships, maintaining friendships within the church, and responding to same sex couples in the church. The panelists shared testimonies of “how far love and kindness can go in any situation.”
The breakout session drew 51 women.