Unless you have been a pastor, you really have no idea the weight that their whole family carries. A pastor’s wife recently posted the following on her Facebook and gave us permission to share. I know every PW reading this could have written it, but I thought it was such a great reminder that we should share it with you.
We were having a funny family chat about how much my husband and I have aged over the last 5 years. I told my kids…well, we gained a second child and about 120 more souls to pastor in that time. That sounds amazing, and it is, but it also comes with carrying the weight of 120 more lives and their hardest days. Which is exactly what we were called to do. But I began to think on that through the morning. How impactful it is to the pastoring family to walk with 25, 50, 100, 200+ souls through their ups and downs.
Hear me out, and understand what I’m saying.
In the last few years alone I’ve…
Lost at least 7 parents and 1 child.
Walked through at least 2 divorces and multiple separations, as well as domestic violence.
Experienced multiple job losses and tremendous financial hardships.
Survived heart attacks, surgeries, hospitalizations, and multiple psych admissions.
Worked through alcohol addictions, drug addictions, porn addictions, and identity crises.
Celebrated births and adoptions, while trudging through custody issues.
…none of which were mine. But I walked every single one. I carried the weight. I cried the tears. I lifted the burdens to Jesus. I hugged the broken and celebrated with the joyful. I’ve walked the path God had for each life, each lamb, because that’s what pastoring families (or under-shepherds) do.
Love your pastor and his family well. Pray for them. For the burdens they carry—for they don’t just carry their own, they carry dozens and sometimes hundreds more. They aren’t resentful of doing it. They do it as unto the Lord and know they are fulfilling the call on their lives as they do it. But, in returning to the lighthearted start to this thought, they will also age long before their time because of it.
– Erin H.
We don’t forget about the heaviness of ministry, but sometimes until we see it written in black and white like Erin shared, we realize why it is so heavy! Many times our congregations forget or don’t even realize what the pastoral family goes through for each one of them, but I pray their eyes will be opened and they will pray for their pastor and family and love and support them like they support each member.