As we come to the close of 2018, I pray it has been a great year for you. So hard to believe we are beginning another new year.
We had our 2nd annual Confidante Retreat the end of September and I asked a few ladies to share what the Retreat meant to them and today I would like to continue sharing those testimonies.
Around this time last year I was at church and one of the sweet ladies (seriously she is a truly kind soul) was pulling together a thank you gift for our Senior Pastor’s wife for Pastor Appreciation Month. She quickly and quietly pulled me aside. After mentioning that Pastors Appreciation Month was coming up, she asked if I could also sign the gift that she had prepared for her. I am embarrassed to say, a look of disappointment crossed my face without me realizing it. And she quickly responded. “When you are a senior pastor’s wife then I am sure someone will do something nice for you too.” This lady really was trying to be nice and I know she didn’t mean anything by it, but the comment still stung.
My husband and I have been in ministry together since we have been married; nearly 15 years. While I know we don’t face the same pressures as do lead pastors, it still kind of hurt my feelings, to be honest. And while I truly appreciated the congregation being kind to our Senior Pastor, no one in the congregation really had any idea of how brutal the past three years at this church had been for me personally. I guess I was desperate for a word of kindness. So, I smiled and signed the gift. Still, I wanted to say, if we had to wait 15 years for a thank you – I’m not sure we would have made it that long.
So, when I think about what it meant to me to go to the Confidante Retreat; it meant so much. It meant being seen. It meant being noticed. It meant being appreciated. It meant being known; not known of… but known. It meant being appreciated because I’m God’s Girl, not because of how great I serve. It didn’t matter if I was a Senior Pastor’s wife, an Associate Pastor’s wife, a Youth Pastor’s wife, or a Worship Pastor’s wife. Yes, we all do count! My credentials, music ability (or lack thereof) didn’t matter. It meant that I matter, that I am worth it.
You know, when I got to my beautiful room on the top floor, I opened the soap to wash my hands and it even smelled of essential oils. HA! It was the little things; the bag of appreciation gifts, the ability to take time to paint, and eat delicious meals that I didn’t have to cook. It was the ability to be able to experience something nice without fear of what someone might think. It was being able to have a conversation with women who “get me.” It was being able to talk without have my four little ones needing me. It was about me being able to be Jen, not just Mat’s wife.
If the first best thing about going to the Confidante Retreat was being able to be truly seen and appreciated for me. The second best thing was feeling known.
If I am being totally honest, I am terrible at small talk. I am usually the type of girl who enters a plane trying her best to NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT. If you make eye contact you have to talk and as a mom of four, silence really IS golden. But as I anticipated this weekend, I found myself looking forward to the conversations. Who would God pair me to room with this weekend? The potential of having a roommate reminded me of my high school days; staying up all night and talking with a girlfriend. I had the feeling that I would make a lifelong friend; a trusted sister in Christ. It was amazing how the Lord had the perfect roommate planned for me; who understood my scars and I hers.
Going to the retreat gave me permission to let my guard down without fear of it coming back to bite me. I hope my roomie felt the same way. We talked the entire break that Saturday. We talked at night. We talked during breakfast. It was as if we had known each other for years, though we had just met. The retreat provided this gift to me, one that was priceless.
The retreat was what my soul and heart needed and craved. The Lord met me there; breathed life and hope into my weary lungs and showed me that He is the lifter of my head. He is all I need. Yet still, He is so good to put people in my life to bring me the hope and encouragement that I might not get elsewhere.
The Retreat for me was an opportunity to rest, to see and be seen, to know and be known, to connect with God and with other women who have the same scars. Scars that are hidden most of the time, but can be revealed in this safe place where we can receive the healing touch from our Savior.
P.S. I just want to say, too, that I left feeling like I wanted to buy Ron and Rodetta this extravagant gift to somehow say thank you for this wonderful weekend. And I began to think about budget and what I can’t do. So, I’ll take some advice I got from someone (Ron) and focus on what I can do. So, thank you Ron and Rodetta for being Pastors to Pastors and their families. Thank you for caring. Thank you for listening to the voice of God. Thank you for sharing the comfort that you received from Christ to us. Thank you for encouraging us to not give up. Thank you for being a great example. Your wisdom and guidance this past year has helped; to shake me out of one of the lowest points in my life and I can truly never thank you enough.
With Love and Blessings,
I know what Jen shared speaks to all of us because we have all been there as pastors’ wives. I am thankful we were able to love on those wives that weekend and they were able to go back to their ministry refreshed, renewed and recharged.
We are here to come alongside you on your ministry journey. Please let us know how we can minister to you and your family.
P.S. We will be having another Confidante Retreat, September 20-22, 2019 and you can register on our website here. Space is limited to the first 30 ladies, so don’t miss out on an awesome weekend with other pastors’ wives that will be a tremendous blessing to you personally and to your ministry.