What I want to share with you today is a very raw letter written by a pastor’s wife to the church. I know any pastor’s wife reading this could have written it, but I pray it will encourage you to know you aren’t alone and possibly it will be something you could share on social media since it’s written by someone else.
I find it amazing that some people think we are living “the dream.” They think our life is perfect and is without trials and tribulations. Or they think that if we have trials and tribulations, then we have some spiritual “inside secret” that gets us through.
Wouldn’t they be shocked to know that we also struggle with the problems of today and with the uncertainties of tomorrow? We struggle in our marriage and with our kids. We struggle with past regrets, anxiety, depression and fear. We worry (yes, it’s a sin) about our own family and our Church family. We wonder what we did to turn people away. We blame ourselves when the church is not doing well. We question ourselves and even at times we question God (I know, I know – never question God).
We, like you, have feelings and our feelings get hurt, just like yours do. Too often we take things personally, whether it was meant to cut us or not, and it usually does. And when we open up and talk to people, who we think are close to us, who we think may actually get us, we find they don’t understand us at all. A typical answer in response to letting people see and know the real deal with ministry is, “But you’re so blessed” or “Don’t you know that God will take care of you?” Or they will brush you off because they don’t really want to admit that you have feelings and that you’re human. Or even worse, they pass judgement on you because of the mess and use it against you later.
So, in time, we have learned to keep to ourselves and continue on quietly and try to appear to be what everyone expects us to be. We smile through the pain and depression. We pretend that we don’t have the same struggles that others have. We say all the right “religious” things, because anything other than that makes people uncomfortable. We will do this for you, but when we can no longer hold it together and we lose it or we leave the ministry, please remember that we really tried to open our hearts to you, but you wouldn’t listen, you wouldn’t share our burden or try to reach out and help us.
And maybe you feel we have in some way or another let you down, not encouraged you or been there for you. Perhaps we said the wrong things or you felt we didn’t value you or your opinion. We never wanted you to feel anything from us other than love, compassion and care. We have prayed over your souls. We have counseled you, as you would call on us. We have offered to help when we knew there was a need. We have been there for many of you when there were death beds, sick beds and trials that you felt would overtake you. Are we no different? Are we not in need of support and encouragement as well? I tell you we are. We are discouraged and questioning God’s will. We are tired and ache when we see the unfaithfulness and lack of commitment in our church. We give and give until we have nothing left to give and then we give up. We quit. We leave and you wonder why.
I pray our churches will become aware of the fact that pastors’ wives are people too! Please know we are here to walk with you on your ministry journey.