How many times do we as pastors’ wives want to quit on Mondays? And many times our husbands do as well; I’m just thankful God doesn’t allow us to both be there on the same Monday!
I recently had a pastor’s wife share her very candid blog on being a pastor’s wife and how hard it is. I know many of you could write this as well, but I pray what she shares will tug at your heart and remind you why you are a pastor’s wife.
This is Too Hard!
“I can’t do this anymore.”
“Ministry is not for me.”
“I want to leave my pastor husband.”
“My husband is a pastor but I don’t want to be a pastor’s wife.”
“This is too hard.”
“Help! My husband wants to be a pastor. What should I do?”
For as invisible as it may seem to most people, there is a tremendous battle being waged for the hearts of pastors’ wives everywhere. While we speak of the husband being the head and leader of our homes (and he is to be that, biblically), a great amount of life and influence hinges on the pastor’s wife – first in her home and family, and secondarily in her church relationships.
The temptation to quit is a common human plight that troubles even the most successful of people. And oh, how the tempter especially likes to whisper taunts to the shepherd’s wife:
“You’re not making any difference.”
“You’ll never be able to minister to that person.”
“All that criticism? That’s who you are.”
“You’re a failure.”
“Why do you even try? Those people don’t even care about you.”
“God isn’t using you.”
“God doesn’t have anything special planned for you – just more of this nonsensical mundane service that doesn’t yield any results.”
“You shouldn’t be a pastor’s wife if you struggle with that.”
“You can’t be a good mother because you’re a pastor’s wife.”
“You don’t have to take that abuse. Just look out for yourself, because nobody else will.”
On and on the list goes, for Satan never runs out of one-liners. Whether it’s a thought coming into your head, or whether it comes out of the mouth of a person not right with God, discouraging phrases do a lot of damage to pastors’ wives. Consider this statistic:
- Fifty percent of pastors’ wives are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living. (Statistic obtained from Focus on the Family and other reputable sources)
Pastors’ wives give up all the time. Some actually throw in the towel and walk away (you don’t want to know those statistics), but still others give up in a more subtle way. They keep up the appearances of ‘the pastor’s wife,’ but inside, in the deep places of the heart, they are done. They can’t handle the unfair pressures, criticism, and unkindness for another minute. And so quietly, they retreat. And a great battle is won. But yet another, more important battle is lost.
So what happens when a pastor’s wife gives up?
Satan wins. He renders them discouraged, and therefore unproductive.
This is one of the enemy’s greatest tactics – to dig at and pick away until one is utterly exhausted. Striving for the cause of Christ ceases, passion is lost, and real ministry dies. Survival mode kicks in, and this is how the enemy likes us best. Unproductive and unusable for Christ. Serving self- ‘just taking care of ourselves for once, since nobody else will.’ And a slow death begins to take place. One that will ultimately harm, if not end, her husband’s ministry. One that grieves the heart of God.
How can I speak such things as this? Well, I have lived in these places myself. I have completely fainted, bone-weary from criticism, attacks, and accusations.
I have rendered Satan more powerful than God as I sank into survival mode.
All the while I hoped that no one would notice that I had given up. I was done trying, and God just needed to show up and take care of things so that ministry was enjoyable again.
Well, He doesn’t usually work that way, does He? Instead, He woos us back to Him, and pulls us close to His heart, where He binds up our wounds and pours in oil and wine.
He works His healing and then He infuses energy into even the most faint of hearts.
I have seen God do this in my heart even recently. He has filled my empty places with fresh passion and vision. He has brought people (from my church, from the general public, and even through email) across my path daily and has shown me ways to minister and encourage, to pray with them, to cry with them. He has whispered in the darkness when I couldn’t find my way, “It may be hard, and you may be alone sometimes, but I can still use YOU. Let me show you how.”
And with a humble awe, I watch my God at work in a dark place. And through the haze of not fully understanding God’s eternal plan, I see it.
He’s using unworthy, imperfect, totally incapable me. In the same place where I had been before I had given up. He’s come alongside and said, “Let’s walk this road together. Don’t give up, because our path ends in heaven.”
Oh, the grace. It leaves me speechless, bowing in worship, asking for more.
Therefore, my beloved brethren (sisters), be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
– Amy (A Pastor’s Wife)
Let’s stop believing the lies from Satan and serve in freedom!