Sunday, February 2, 2014

Life as a Pastor's Wife

Since Will and I began dating six years ago, I've seen him in various pastoral roles. He's been an intern for a college ministry, an interim youth pastor, an interim preacher at a Chinese Church, a small group leader, a young professionals intern, a guest preacher at summer camps and D-Nows, a college pastor and a teaching pastor. I've never known him to not be serving the church. I have seen his skills as a pastor and preacher grow and I'm so proud to see how Will serves the Lord faithfully.

I grew up in the ministry. I'm one of five children and in my life, my dad has always pastored large churches. I remember telling my Sunday School teachers that I could do what I wanted because "my dad owned the church." My birthday parties were held in the church fellowship halls and gyms. I lived the fish bowl life, knew how to plaster on a smile as soon as we hit the church parking lot because people were watching. My oldest sister was on a date one time and someone called my parents to make sure they knew. After moving to Alabama, my parents received an anonymous typed letter from a "concerned church member" because they felt that I had chosen the wrong friends.

As I have now crossed over into the ministry wife role, I have a few things that have been on my heart that I haven't had the courage to share. I worry about offending some, of being too vulnerable, or earning judgment.

Before I share my heart, please stop and read these recent blogs I've come across that really addressed life as a ministry wife:

Seven Things Pastors Wives wished they had been Told Before they Became Pastor's Wives (what really struck me about this post was the theme of loneliness written by pastor's wives in the comment section).

To Young Ministry Wives: Advice from Emily (I really like her points- especially accepting unique giftedness).

10 Ways to serve your Pastor's Wife (I want to scream YES YES YES to this list!)

As a ministry wife, I've learned a lot about myself and my marriage.


  • My spiritual walk is not my husband's. I can't depend on him to carry me. I also can't get by on his spiritual walk. I have to invest in my own relationship with the Lord. 
  • Ministry can be lonely. It's really hard to move to a new place and have the expectation for your new church to be one that you immediately love. It's almost like pastor's wives are expected to be extroverted and to initiate relationships. It took a few years to feel "at home" here and it took a long time for relationships to feel deep. 
  • Sunday Mornings are often the least favorite day of the week. I'm a single mom on Sundays. I have to get the kids up, fed, dressed, and to church by myself. Sometimes the morning is so rough that by the time I get to church I'm so exhausted. Don't get me wrong: I love worship, and I love going to church, but GETTING to church can be such a battle. My mom used to get 5 kids out the door and always had lunch on the table for us when we got home. I have no idea how she did this. Most Sundays we go through Taco Bell on the way home from church!
  • Having children took me away from my husband's ministry. Before the kids, I hosted a bible study and was at every event (camera in hand!). Now, our ministry meetings happen after the kids' bedtimes. If I want to go to ministry events, I have to pay a babysitter (out of our personal budget- which means no dates for the month!). I realize my children are my number one ministry now, but I miss being involved in what my husband is doing. 
  • Which brings me to... it is really important for me to be a part of my husband's ministry. Every time I go to our ministry events, I am reminded of what the Lord is doing in our ministry and through my husband. It gets me excited for him and I am more gracious to him when ministry takes time away from our home. I am seeing the fruit of our labor. I love seeing my husband in his element. 
  • Ministry is messy. There is real sin. There is a constant reminder to die to self, to elevate the gospel. Having your profession be devoted to serving the Lord is a privilege. 
  • Getting to be on the front row seat of a gospel movement is so exciting. In our marriage we have been a part of a church with an incredible heart for missions and church planting. We've seen God grow our college ministry from 10 students to 300. We've watched hearts change from death to life. We have been able to disciple students and get to see firsthand the joy and freedom of understanding grace. 
  • Being in the ministry allows for your life to be a spotlight- good and bad. Our adoption of Israel was public news, and we were able to show others how to grieve and hope for a son across the world from us. We were able to encourage others to adopt. We've been an example of a marriage that seeks the Lord and fights for each other. We get to open our home to students and let them see the beautiful chaos of raising small kids. We get to show people that we are NOT perfect but that we need Jesus. That just because you accept Christ doesn't mean your sin won't be an issue again- but that repentance and grace are a daily part of your life. 
I wouldn't change being a ministry wife. I didn't know that the calling also included roles of volunteer/ single mom/ photographer/ chef/ host, etc. 

So other ministry wives... please chime in! Am I alone in these things? How can we support each other? How can we ask for help?

3 comments:

  1. I can TOTALLY relate! I try hard to not get annoyed on Sundays by reminding myself many women live this way daily. But oh goodness it's work. I totally relate to and have been struggling with lately are: missing out on doing ministry with my husband and ministry being loney. I've found lately that being involved in my own ministry/serving with and around my husband has been SO encouraging, even if that means bringing the kids along and only be at half there because I'm with my kids and answering questions the whole time. ;)

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  2. My husband and I are about to embark a new job as an associate/youth minister. I'm not that thrilled because I have lost the passion for it & it is hard work! We have been doing ministry for so long and we took a couple years off to work on ourselves and recover from being burnt out. After reading what you have to say, I feel so much better. Thank you for sharing your heart.

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  3. This is a great post! My husband is not in full-time ministry, but I have often wondered what it would be like to be in that role as the wife of a pastor. Thank you for being honest about what you love about it and also your struggles in it. I'm sure so many women out there feel what you said here.

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