After being in full time ministry alongside my husband for two decades of our marriage, I discovered that yes, being a pastor’s wife is a lonely place to be. At least that is how it was when we served. During our time, money was extremely tight, we never had any extra money for anything outside of the basic needs. I really didn’t mind living that way. I never really thought about it much; I just knew that this was our calling and I was at peace with that. My focus was on my home and family. There were few times that I wished we could take a simple vacation or at least get away once in a while without the worry of finances. I did feel the pressure to be able to supply Christmas or birthday gifts for friends and family members that had grown accustomed to not really receiving anything of much value from us. Our lifestyle was very different from what I see today with the mega churches on the rise. I’m wondering if anyone would understand how we lived in those very lean years. I feel like one of those people that try to tell their kids that they walked to school barefoot in 10 feet of snow. I have some stories from our years in ministry that make me wish I walked to school in 10 feet of snow! We will see if I’m brave enough to share them in the near future.
A few years ago when I was serving as women’s director of our church, we were preparing for a large event. One of the new staff wives had agreed to put a table together with her ministry information out. With just a few hours before the event would begin, her table sat empty and I hadn’t heard from her. I asked a couple of ladies if they had seen her or knew if she were coming. No one had heard anything. I then went to the office and thought I would ask her husband if he knew if she was coming up to prepare her table before the event. He very angrily looked at me and said, “My wife is very busy packing for our cruise, so no, she won’t be coming.” I said, “okay” and slipped out quietly and removed her table that was waiting for her. No problem. All I could think of was, “Wow! first of all…enjoy your cruise and second of all…if my husband had talked to someone like that, his head would have been on a platter at the next staff meeting!” So, yes, times have changed since we were in ministry. I have to admit, I had a very hard time with the man who talked to me that way and his wife who never apologized and for the lady that was in his office as I walked in who obviously went and told him I was asking about his wife’s plans. I got over it though, I grew to love this couple and only wanted the best for them as they ministered. They did a wonderful job as they served the church. Now, for the lady that trotted in to tell him that I was asking about his wife….I struggled a little bit longer on that one…but, I got over it. All is well! Seriously! It is!
I was 21 years old when my husband first served full time at a church. Oh, he also went to seminary full time. This was an exciting time for us. Together we answered God’s call on our lives to serve Him full time. I was also hungry for discipleship and just to learn the ways of the ministry. I read everything I could possibly read and sought out wisdom from people that I knew in ministry. My former pastor’s wife that I grew up under, took me aside for a short season and shared with me many things that I still remember to this day. I was able to share with her my fears and my struggles. She was my source of encouragement. But, she had her own world that she was very busy with, so I tried not to bother her. I waited for her to reach out to me. Soon, I didn’t hear much from her at all. There were so many times I thought, “what would she do in this situation?” If you knew her, you would say, “Um, you probably don’t want to know what she would do.” She was a spitfire. She didn’t take anything from anyone. I wasn’t her…..I was the total opposite. I was like…”hey, you can say those mean things about me, you can chew me out just because you can and I will be hurt, but I will still be your friend.” Since those years, I’m a little bit more calloused and I might not be your friend, but I will wish the best for you. Maybe. (wink)
After three other churches and many years later, I learned so much about the ministry; the goodness of people and the oh, not so pretty part of people. I learned things about myself as well. My weaknesses showed and I did eventually learn to turn my weaknesses into becoming a stronger person. I’m still working on that by the way.
As I look back on all those years I see something that was desperately missing. I never really saw a strong bond among fellow staff wives/pastor’s wives that served together in the same church. At one of the churches we were at, they had a large staff and my husband and I were basically at the bottom of the totem pole and were reminded on several occasions that we weren’t really on the level of the others due to our time at this particular church and our status of living. As if life wasn’t hard enough, right? I also saw a power struggle at a couple of the churches we were at among the wives and even the men. I discovered that the less I had to do with anything the better. I concentrated on my home and would soon learn that was even attacked by some. Yes, I even got a note one time accusing me of sheltering my children too much. (I homeschooled our children, and this didn’t set well with some) I missed fellowship but it seemed too messy. Fortunately, I gained a wonderful friend who became a life saver for me. She was a bit older than me, but we had so much in common and I loved being around her and hearing her stories and being inspired by her life. That too, was a sore spot as I was informed by a pastor that I had to be careful with her friendship.
I’m sure some of you reading this are saying to yourself, “what in the world…that sounds crazy. I’ve never had anything like that go on in our ministry!” I know, right?! I am convinced that some of the things that we saw and went through just can’t be normal. All I can attritute it to is….the enemy had our number the second we surrended our lives to full time ministry; because, the second we did, all heck (or should I use the word “hell”….that is where the evil one is from, right?) broke lose.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” I Peter 5:8
I’m so glad you asked!
“And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.” Romans 15:14
My 10 Reasons for Sharing My Heart:
- It helps me to get it out of my head and in print so I can makes sense of some things.
- I feel that there may be someone struggling with some of the same issues and need help and encouragement. (I truly hope you aren’t going through any of the things I did.)
- There may be a lay person reading this that will reach out to the men and women that have gladly given of their time and service to the people of the church.
- If you are a pastor’s wife, you will seek out the women on the staff of the church and encourage and train the women serving along side of you.
- If you have been through similar situations that I share, I only pray that you will be encouraged to forgive, learn and share with others how Christ desires our lives to be in admonishing and lifting one another up to better serve Him.
- No one is above anyone, treat everyone with the same respect
- Your pastor(s) and their wives need your love, your forgiveness, your encouragement and most of all your prayers.
- Always know that the enemy is alive and well and is out to destroy your pastor, his family and the church.
- When your church is hurting, you are hurting.
- Regardless of where you serve, whether a full time pastor/wife or a lay person….Get in the Word and live your life fully for Christ!
If you know me personally, don’t be trying to figure out who, what or where. I don’t ever share names of people or places unless it helps the story and I have permission. I may even mix up a few details so you won’t try to figure anyone out. I don’t claim to have all the answers and I don’t claim to be perfect by any means. I also don’t sugar coat anything. I do know my life and I refuse to let the enemy win anything in my life. I will use the discouragements, the cruel works of others as examples of how to turn it around for good. I will use it to be a better person and to help others to not fall for his evil ways. I will share the good and give all the honor and glory to Jesus Christ, the one who began a good work and continues to allow me learn and lean on Him for my comfort and understanding.
Be sure to subscribe to my blog so you won’t miss a post. Tomorrow, I will share some ways for women in ministry to build a team among one another in order to be stronger and lift one another up.
Make a difference in someone’s life today! (in a good way)
An Idea: Pick out a pastor’s wife or fellow staff wife and send her a card with a word of encouragement….today. It will make her day! I can almost guarantee that!
“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” I Thessalonians 5:11