There is no seminary course or Scripture reading plan that prepared me for being a pastor’s wife. Sure there were tools that I was given and questions to think through. My favorite were the statistics that talked about how hard this journey would be on my marriage, on my kids, on my own pursuit of Jesus. There were communication pointers and some wise words from those that went before me and somehow survived, but they didn’t really expound on how deep the hurt and how hard the tension would be to do this thing well. How ugly the wrestle would be, and how many times the temptation to shrink back, not try so hard, and maybe on the rough days just quit.
I have the privilege (and I do mean privilege) of being a young PW and knowing a good number of others who are walking and wading through this same path. As Josh and I were talking this morning of several of our friends in the trenches with us my heart sank for them. I’ve been in their shoes and I know the heart prick they feel as they try to fight for Christ’s Bride as well as their family and their faith. And it’s in those weary days, weeks, months that tensions rise, marital fights break out, and your passion to fight for something you love so much dwindles and fades into self-preservation mode.
And with so many of you on my mind this morning I want to plead, beg, push you on and remind you of a couple things. I wish I could sit across the table with a pumpkin spice latte and have you spill out all that is in your heart and soul. So grab a cup of coffee, take a deep breathe, and lean in my friend and listen……
1) Jesus. If there is ever an example of one feeling what you feel, ministering to the hard-headed, being cast off by the ungrateful, being tired and having to press on it was Him. From the Pharisees trying to trap him to the commoners trying to use him to be healed. In ministry I’m often reminded of the lepers. 10 were healed and only one came back thankful. That’s probably how its gonna be. And more than this, more than His example, the Truth of the Gospel is that we get Him and He is the entire reason we do what we do. He is a leader that has walked the beaten path of frustration, heartache, and weariness. He is steady. He loves unconditional. He gives freely. He listens without wanting something back. He is the very response you yearn for in your people. He and only He will be this for us.
2) Cling to the faithful. Satan’s biggest scheme is to attack my thoughts and shoot lies that say, “You are in this alone, nothing is secure, you’re fighting a battle that will never be won.” He also throws a heap of hopelessness on the fact that no matter where we go or who we minister to its the same broken tune. The truth is, that’s not reality and it is very much a lie. You aren’t alone in this. You aren’t unlovable. And what you are fighting for is absolutely worth it no matter how jacked up it may be. There are those within your church that faithfully and lovingly care for you. They are there each week. They may even be easy to gloss over because they aren’t the ones causing a rift or saying too much. They serve faithfully. They really do you love you, and you need to remind yourself (and your husband) of this. Furthermore, you have others beside you in the trenches. I love Paul’s word’s in Philippians where he says that “We stand firm, side by side, for the sake of the Gospel.” You aren’t in this battle alone so don’t try to go lone ranger. Don’t bottle it up inside. Pray, Share, Wrestle with others who are faithfully fighting for and beside you.
3) Keep Going. Here is where I wish I could look you straight in the eye and put my hand on your shoulder and tell you, Keep Going. Please Keep going. I know you are tired. I know you have wounds that are deep and filled with pain. I know as you walk through halls and you look at budgets and line items and you lay asleep at night wondering what he or she thinks and how that will play out. I know it all too well, and in all of that keep going. In your weakness turn to Him, in your heartache minister through compassion and empathy, in your worry of not knowing the next step trust Him. Oh sweet sister, Trust Him. He loves you and knows your needs, He cares for your husband even more than you. He is teaching you to be dependent and trust Him and to say that He is a Good Father. He’s not done with you!
I am praying for you this morning for courage and renewal, for quiet times of God whispering to you to keep going and that He has this. I’m praying for your marriages to dig deep and lean into one another. I’m praying for tender moments with your kids that help remind you of the faith and simplicity of life. I’m praying, fervently praying for your mind to be guarded and Satan to hush. You aren’t done yet.
Don’t clench your fists. Don’t throw in the towel. Don’t shut off the world. That would be another huge loss for us all.
Dig in your heels, pray an honest prayer, Trust and Just. Keep. Going.