>> December 15, 2009
and we're off to enjoy our babies' first Christmas.
Go, get off the computer, enjoy your families, your PH, your churches, the season and Him.
We wish you a Merry Christmas
and a Happy New Year!
We talk about it again and again here on Clutch, so I know it's an important issue for pastors' wives. Well ladies, since moving to our current church almost two years ago I prayed for friends. And I got friends. And now I don't know what to do with them!
I forgot that along with friends comes DRAMA!
And now I want out. Not out of the friendships, but out of the drama. Away from the she said/she said mess. Far away from, "Can you believe that she...."
So I think it's time to look outside of the church for friends. But for me, there is no "outside of the church." I'm a stay-at-home-mom of a four year old and two year old. Our oldest son goes to preschool at our church. And when preschool ends, he'll be homeschooled.
Where do I find friends outside of the church? What has worked for you?
|Sandra and her PH Lee live and serve in Pennsylvania. Check out the blog|
she does with friends at Today's Housewife. You can follow also her on Twitter @HeartforHim.
I saw this article on Lifeway.com and wanted to share.
Here are the 5 phrases they say every pastor's family should know:
(...continued... start from the beginning)
I’m sure I’m not the only one to have high hopes about a situation, only to come crashing down into despair. So if you are there, you are not alone.
Take it to God.
He said that He would not leave us comfortless and that He would never leave or forsake us. He is faithful to fulfill His promises, I assure you.
‘Father, I pray today for all those who are finding themselves in situations they never dreamed they would be in. I pray that your sweet peace would wrap around their hearts at this very hour. Help them, Lord, to trust your heart and not their own. Hold them in your lap and dry their tears. Thank you, Father, for your faithfulness to hear our every prayer. Amen.’
As a PK, Carrie had many dreams--to make it big in Nashville, marry a tall, dark and handsome prince, own a metallic green Chevy Beretta, be a missionary, and wear a pair of jeans. 3 of her dreams came true.
Today you will find her supporting her high school sweetheart on the mission field of Eastern Europe. You will also find her homeschooling, gardening, canning, cleaning (oh, the laundry!), reading, writing, or singing.
She enjoys long walks, date night, talking with friends, listening to singing and preaching in English, and uninterrupted sleep. Other than Jesus and family, Carrie is most thankful for chocolate, good books, internet, and indoor plumbing.
Her heart is to serve. She has a burden for the Gypsy children in her area and wants to make sure they are fed and clothed. She also has a burden for women—women who feel that they are carrying their burdens alone. Her desire is to show the love of God in both word and deed.
You can find her musings at Perfectly Imperfect.
After a few years on the mission field, apartment life had finally gotten to me. My gaggle of children was growing as fast as the apartment was shrinking. We didn’t have much room to turn around and felt like sardines in a can.
I dreamed of a home. A house with room to spread out and a yard for the kids to play.
My dreams came true in the summer of 2007. The house was in pretty good shape, though it would need indoor plumbing and a fresh coat of paint. The land was a perfect size, full of fruit trees of all kinds. I fell in love with it.
But before we could take possession, the former owner gutted the house. In the place of the cabinets, flooring, and electrical outlets she took, she left a huge mess, bare wires, and a plain unlivable house. It didn’t even look like the same house.
We were aghast.
We quickly composed ourselves and went to work trying to make our new home livable. I kept my chin up most days, though the work on the house, the needs of the children, and the ministry weighed on me heavily.
Ready or not, our apartment lease was up and we moved into the “new” house. For a while we had to shower in the mud brick barn (Did you know that it takes two to shower? One to hold the watering can and one to stand under it and wash up.).
I held up fairly well until mid October when the fall winds blew in. I remember one night taking a shower in the barn and the wind was so cold that I shook with chills. I cried. Then I felt badly for crying. What a big baby I had turned out to be.
But God worked things out. No, things didn’t work out like in my dreams. Instead I got to experience what life is like for the many people in the villages here—people who live in run down houses, people who sit on the floor instead of furniture, people who wonder if their roof will fall in on them. From my own hardships I developed a deeper love and appreciation for the people.
What I have learned (and am still learning) is that God’s plans don’t usually go the way we think they should. But they are always right and always for our good.
Stay tuned for Part 4 on Friday!
continued from yesterday.
With all the packing and farewells behind me, I climbed aboard a plane for the first time in my life, with 4 small children in tow, a newborn on my chest, and my Love by my side.
Twenty-four hours into the trip, our last plane about to land, my Love and I looked into each other’s eyes. “Are you ready?” he asked. With tears of joy I told him I was ready. I had dreamed for so long of all those we would meet, the children we would feed, and the people we would clothe. Together we would tell the world of Christ’s love.
But all my plans and wishes quickly crumbled before my very eyes. Dogs everywhere, crowded, busy streets, terrible traffic with no personal vehicle—all of it was so dangerous for small children. My Love was able to join another missionary and work among the people, but I stayed in the apartment with the children.
The already tiny apartment felt smaller and smaller by the day.
I was once again spiraling into despair. Had I not been called? Had I not surrendered to work among the people? Was I to spend my days inside a small apartment forever? Why did God call me just to leave me sit?
What a silly, stubborn child I was (am).
Somehow knowing what I was going through, a fellow missionary wife stopped by one day. We talked for a while and as she was getting up to leave, she hugged me and said, “Carrie, surrender again. God knows what He is doing and knows what is best for both you and the ministry. Surrender again.”
“Surrender again. And again and again. God’s way and not mine.” Those were the thoughts I meditated on.
Soon I found myself on my knees telling God that if He wanted me to be the best peanut butter cookie baker, then that’s what I wanted to be.
Surrender didn’t change my situation. It didn’t make the apartment larger. It didn’t make the dogs go away.
Surrender gave me peace. Sweet, sweet peace.
Today we begin a series by Carrie, who alongside her husband, serves as a missionary in Eastern Europe.
I am a die-hard optimist, seeing the world through my own designer rose-colored glasses. So when my husband surrendered to the mission field and we began to talk about deputation, I had very high hopes.
Of course all the churches we visited would want to support us because my husband is a great preacher, the kids and I could sing and play instruments and the five-year-old could quote scripture like no one I had ever seen. People would embrace us with open arms.
Well, after several months of visiting churches to fill a quota and never receiving support, I became discouraged. No, I became bitter. I started just going through the motions. A fake smile. A forced song. I lost sight of what really mattered.
One night at a missions conference in TN, I was particularly unpleasant of heart. I didn’t want to be there. I hated feeling like I was on display along side the other families where the one with the best behaved children and the nicest song would be picked for support.
Then it happened. A young woman from the church walked up to me, holding a baby in her arms. She spoke to me with such admiration. She told me how much she loved missions conferences and how challenged she was by them. She thanked me for giving up my home to tell the world of Christ’s love.
Her words smote my heart. I had once been that young woman.
Just then I heard the tender voice of my Heavenly Father, speaking to my cold, hard heart, “Remember the Carrie who used to love missions conferences? Remember her tears? Remember her heart for others? Remember the night she surrendered to go with me, come what may? What happened to that Carrie?”
I cried out to my Father and asked Him to draw me closer so that I could see His plan and not my own preconceived notions about how things were supposed to be. I surrendered again to His will.
I went back the next night, full of zeal and ready to follow Christ wherever He may lead. I found the young woman and hugged her. Later that night, her husband surrendered to the mission field. She ran back to where I was at our display table and hugged me like she’d never let go. She thanked me for being there and letting the Lord use me to help her.
But I didn’t help her. She helped me.
As a PK, Carrie had many dreams---to make it big in Nashville, marry a tall, dark and handsome prince, own a metallic green Chevy Beretta, be a missionary, and wear a pair of jeans. 3 of her dreams came true.
Today you will find her supporting her high school sweetheart on the mission field of Eastern Europe. You will also find her homeschooling, gardening, canning, cleaning (oh, the laundry!), reading, writing, or singing.
You can find her musings at Perfectly Imperfect.
After brainstorming, planning, strategizing and dreaming, here's a sneak peek of some of the cool things we have in store for you in the next year:
Our trip down memory lane continues....
spousal abuse: one woman's story
follow the leader
the hospitality commands
the doctrine of hate
10 ways to give your PH amazing support
All the Interviews with PWs were my favorites
Audio interview with Lisa Chan
Guest blog: 8 reasons to close your blinds
What do you call your PH?
Guest blog: LPL Event Recap
who is your PH's wardrobe consultant?
MOST-COMMENTED (NON-POLL OR GIVEAWAY) POST:
open letter from a pastor's wife
Our dreadful April Fool's Joke
readers in: 68 countries
total pageviews: almost 22,000
In this past year of Clutch, we began to dedicate the first full week of each month to dealing with real, and oftentimes serious, issues that PWs deal with in ministry.
PMS stands for:
These, we believe, were some of the most helpful posts that tackled issues head-on. They also featured the victories that many PWs had over these problems, mistakes and sins. For those of you who may have missed it, here's a PMS Year-In-Review.
I'm linking to the first post in the weekly series for each month, so keep clicking "Newer Posts" to read more on the topic for the week.
One Woman's Story
The day everything changed
The Demise of Hospitality
Reality Check: The current state of hospitality
Forgiving the big things
The doctrine of Hate
Hospitality @ church
How do YOU find ways to foster warmth and genuine relationships among your church family?
How has your role as PW affected your career choices?
The stay-at-home PW
How do we maintain our sanity as women married to wonderful but very human men of God - while supporting, respecting, loving, and honoring them?
10 quickest ways to undermine your PH
What strategies do you employ to set boundaries in ministry?
Boundaries in your marriage
What you would do to help a fellow PW who finds herself in a tough spot?
The reluctant pastor's wife
A year ago Sarah and I started this blog in hopes that we'd create a place where young pastor's wives could connect, share and encourage. We started the blog with 2 posts, parts 1 and 2 of when his ministry cramps your style and ever since then we've written about the various ways that that tension between our will, our husband's job and God's will plays out in our fishbowl existence.
I think I speak for both of us, that our journey in creating and developing Clutch has been better than we anticipated. God has allowed us to bless other PWs and blessed us with amazing insight, camaraderie and friendships. Getting to meet all of you, albeit virtually, has been a blast and a true blessing. You are amazing women, dedicated to God, your PH, your families and the ups and downs of living ministry. We've loved hearing your stories, getting your perspectives on ministry and hearing your laughter and good nature through your comments. Thank you.
We're going to commemorate our first year all week long and give you a glimpse of what's coming in 2010. We look forward to another year of our growing relationship with you and sharing this journey that we're all in. Maybe this year will be the year that we meet some of you in person.
Here's to you, PWs. You've made our year! Go have a cupcake to celebrate...the calories don't count today! :)
And the winner is......
#6, Jan who said "I am not typical at all. I am not QUIET and I can't play the piano!"
Jan, please send an email to clutchtalk AT gmail DOT com with your mailing address and we'll get the details for your custom letter ironed out!
Thanks for playing! :)
Anyone read the article in USA Today a couple of weeks ago? Propelled by a pastor's suicide in North Carolina, the article explores the reasons lead a pastor to feel depressed and that there's no way out. Some interesting notes from the article:
Counselors say ... fewer depressed ministers get treated because of career fears, social stigma and spiritual taboo.
"Clergy do not talk about it because it violates their understanding of their faith," said Scoggin. "They believe they are not supposed to have those kinds of thoughts."
Amber, the PW we interviewed yesterday, is giving away one of her custom creations, a metal initial ornament. It includes ribbon to hang on Christmas tree or mantel!
Here's an example (the winner will choose a letter of her choice):
The letter (capital) will be AROUND 5" tall.
Check out the other items in Amber's Etsy shop! She has headbands, necklace pendants, hairbows for kids,... great stuff.
We love promoting the things that other PWs are doing. If you'd like to do a giveaway of something you made, let us know!
To enter the giveaway, leave a comment with your:
Name one way that you are not the typical PW:
You have until noon (PST) on Saturday, November 14, to enter. The random winner will be announced soon after.
... for Sarah to be offline for a little while.
Halloween. Say that word in church and ears perk up; it’s rather funny. While we might not all agree on each ones perspectives; we can agree that it’s a controversial topic in the church world.
With the accessibility of modern research, I will leave the opportunity to Google and search for the history, origins, post-modern and modern fact, myths, info etc… to you and your free time for article length sake.
I will share with you what we do and why and you share with us what you do and why! How about that!
In the Brown Household, we have chosen to NOT celebrate Halloween in the traditional manner of “dress up” and “trick or treating." We have done one of the following things over the last three years:
· Hallelujah Night – equivalent to a fall festival
· Handing out candy (inside plastic 3”x4” jewelry bags) with shipping sized labels inviting people to our church. (label says: You're Invited & give church name, website, slogan)
· Decorating for Christmas (yes this is true) (haha)
Truth be told, my children are young; 3 & 5. They truthfully dress up EVERYDAY. As dramatic play is a big deal for them right now, on any given day, you can find Spiderman, The Hulk, A Police Officer or Fireman in my home. To them Halloween is just another day. They are actually into Buzzlight Year and Woody this year; so I’m sure those costumes will be purchased soon. They have no idea the purpose and history behind Halloween and why all these cool costumes are now only seasonally available. With our ministerial experience in dealing with witchcraft and demonic STUFF…., we opt to not celebrate in the traditional manner.
As for our church members, ministry friends, pastor friends, etc…. the Bible teaches us to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. There are essentials and non-essentials in our variation in beliefs, interpretation of Scripture, what we teach and live as an example to our flocks. As for raised eyebrows from church members, “raise on” because if I let them dress up and trick or treat, there will be talk. If I do not, there will be talk. I have grown to the point that their approval or disapproval means nothing to me. If my ways please the Lord, I am at peace with that – as that is my ultimate goal. To please my Father, be accountable to HIM for my children’s upbringing, instilment of values etc..
What do you do? How do you explain it to your kiddos?
Veronica Brown is the co-pastor, along with her husband, of Breath of Life Worship Center in Austin, TX. Her blog is a window into their lives -- pastoring, church planting, parenting, life in the motherhood, being married to the pastor/preacher and life in ministry.
Happy Monday, everyone.
As I read other PWs blogs and tweets and see how they share their personal lives with the world, I often wonder what it looks like from the other side of the screen — from the member's perspective. And I wonder how blogging and twittering is helping to change the way member's views of pastor's wives in general and their pastor's wife in particular.
I bet it makes us look like real people and maybe makes us more approachable. I bet sometimes it may have created problems from things that were said...
What experience have you bloggers and twitterers had with members reading your blogs? How has it impacted your relationships with the members?
The cool thing about Clutch is the opportunity to connect with pastors wives from all backgrounds and religious traditions.
We're curious to know what your worship experience is like at your church. So here's a poll of sorts.
Would you classify your church as:
b. contemporary (praise and worship)
c. gen x/postmodern
*I got my categories from pastorfinder.com
What about you? How would you describe your worship style? Is it the same as your church? Do you feel mismatched? How have you adjusted?
Tell us all about it.
Lori Wilhite (see her Clutch interview here), a PW in Las Vegas, does a lot of cool stuff, like host and plan events for the wives on staff at her church, post video conversations for and with pastor's wives. She has an awesome blog that you should check out and add to your feed. She truly is leading and loving it. You can tell.
The most recent cool thing she is doing is a Virtual Roundtable for pastor's wives, where pastor's wives meet in real time online. You can sign up to join a virtual gathering here.I've signed up for the one on October 27. She'll be rolling out more in the near future as well.
In the meantime, check out one of her videos with fellow pastor's wife, Donna.
Death by Ministry part 10 - Mark Driscoll
Which one of these tips made you say AMEN?
On Thursday, I have it on the schedule to tell you all about Lori Wilhite and the cool things she does for PWs... but I can't resist pointing you over to her site today 'cause she has cool poll going on where PWs can confess how they're a *bad* pastor's wife.
It's all in good fun. Go check it out and purge. It's good for the soul.
Kellee is a fellow pastor's wife that you know casually from Seminary. You run into each other at the mall and she takes you aside and unloads on you. Her husband has cheated on her with a church member. He's unrepentant. Says he's stopped. Wants her to get over it and quit being so angry. He's agreed to go to counseling, but has no time right now. She doesn't know what to do. Doesn't want to leave him. Isn't confident she can make it on her own with her 4 small children. She doesn't want to out him to the church. It will leave her relationship in shambles and the family with no income.
How can you help?
Continuing our Thursday series on cool things PWs are doing...
You might remember Cindy Beall from a profile we did on her here. She's an awesome woman who is totally transparent about the struggles dealing with infidelity and pornography that she's had in her marriage. Recently, she and her husband did a series of videos addressing this issue and how couples can move beyond it to wholeness. Check them out.
You and Beverly have been friends since high school and low and behold, you're both pastor's wives! You feel blessed that you have someone around that you can relate to and your husbands are even friends! She invites your family over for a casual BBQ at their home and you notice that that Beverly is extremely friendly with another man. A couple of days later, you inquire about who this guy is and she shares that he's a church member who has become a close family friend. She mentions how he's helping her get back in shape and train for a triathlon. The man is a friend of her family and he's been so kind. He's even lent the couple money when they were in a tight spot, helped them find an affordable car and was even so kind as to help her find a job at his law firm. She goes on and on about how he just "gets her." You're worried that your PW friend is treading in dangerous waters.
Do you confront her? What do you say?
For the past six months, every 2nd Tuesday of the month, you and Marlene (a local PW) have been going to lunch. You're just getting to the point where you are sharing personal stories and really beginning to trust each other. Then one day, as you're having your morning coffee, you hear Marlene's name on the news. You look up, and there's her photo on the screen. She's shot and killed her PH (this is not outlandish, ladies. It happens). Marlene is now in the county jail. Her children are with family. You're her friend.
How will you show Marlene that you're still her friend, despite the trouble she's in? What will you tell her during your first visit to see her in jail? How will you be a support to her family? Will you raise funds for her defense?
Or be honest, really. Will you just disappear from her life and act like you never knew her (except when you tell the juicy story to friends)?
This is Erika, a driven and successful career-woman, married to a pastor. She's the embodiment of the reluctant pastor's wife. She loves her husband, but can't stand his job. She's stopped going to church with him because she can't stand all the ridicule from the members. Even the older minister's wives on staff chastise her (like a child) for the way she dresses and the things she's unwilling volunteer for at church. She's fed up.
Erika is your friend. What advice do you give to her? How do you encourage her?
*These scenarios are fictitious. Any resemblance to real-life events is coincidental.
PMS is one week late (does that mean we're pregnant!?), but it's here. This week we will ask you for lots of input. Each day (except Thursday when we take a break for our "cool" feature) we'll ask you a question about what you would do to help a fellow PW who finds herself in a tough spot. We're looking forward to sharing in your wisdom.
Any PWs in the Los Angeles area? I'd love to organize a meet-up with you the first week of November. Let's get together and chat over a cup of hot chocolate one of these days. Leave a message or email me at mcpryce AT gmail DOT com.
Looking forward to it!
Continuing our Thursday series on cool things PWs are doing...
Michelle Wegner, a PW in Granger, IN, trekked to India this summer to, among other things, to teach other pastoral families about a healthy, balanced family life. Not only that, she blogged and twittered her entire trip! Here's a piece she wrote for Clutch about what they did and what they learned. Cool!
Rob provided navigation and the girls were the horsepower. The girls have a competitive streak (I wonder where they got that from?)
The girls and I brought some crafts along to do with the children while the pastors and their wives were doing some serious soul-searching, repentance, and talking together. I could have never imagined that these crafts would be some of the coolest activities these kids had ever done. Who knew? The activities we provided drew the creativity out of the kids, broke down barriers, and created real community.
We started all the sessions with the entire family involved. In other words, worship is as an aerobic exercise. We played games and danced like fools.
The "touch the tongue to your nose" game was a big hit. Our girls showed off their mad skills. Many of the people were convinced this was a uniquely American skill, until Abuwanin stepped out of the crowd.
Sarah has no idea I'm posting this. Swipped her pregnant photo right off her Facebook...
But I thought it would be fun to host a virtual mother blessing for my co-blogger and soon-to-be first-time mommy, Sarah. Tristan Alexander will be born in the next few weeks or days.
Will you join in the virtual celebration?
Let's shower Sarah with lots of encouragement for labor, newborn nights and motherhood in general. Leave a note, prayer or word of advice on raising a fabulous PK.
Did you know that October is Clergy Appreciation Month? Does your church know? Just in case they do, we're reserving these comments for you to share how your congregation honored your PH (and hopefully you as well). Tell us!
This month, on Thursdays, we'll be featuring cool things that PWs are doing. Here's the first installment.
The Pastor's Wives Club is like The View with pastor's wives on the panel. I'll admit, I'd enjoy this a lot more if the video had subtitles, but it's still well produced and a cool concept. We should do this, American style. Anybody game?
This is the first episode and you can watch the other 3 episodes, here.
As pastors' wives we often feel pressure from all sides, our husband's, church members, church boards, etc. about a variety of issues. Have any of you ever felt (or feel) pressure to send your children to a private Christian school vs. public school? Or even to send your kids to a particular private school or preschool (maybe one closely associated with your local church)?
Where do you have your children? How did you make decisions about your children's schooling and was the decision influenced at all by your husband's role as a pastor?
If your husband went to seminary, I don't have to tell you what an unlike-real-life experience seminary is. You are constantly around other couples who are in the same boat as you. Your husbands relate to each other; you can share your ministry life frustrations with other wives. Often times it's a safe place and a cocoon life where you have opportunities to grow spiritually and in gain skills for the real world of being a pastor's wife.
Some seminaries, like Western Seminary (campuses in Portland, San Jose and San Francisco)even have certificate programs for, what they call, Partners in Ministry. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary also has courses for pastor's wives, including Woman to Woman Ministry, The Art of Teaching, Ministry through the Home and even intro classes to Greek and other Biblical languages.
Did your PH's seminary offer classes and workshops for the wives? Was it helpful for you? Or have you had to learn in the school of hard knocks?
Last week we highlighted upcoming conferences for pastor's wives, but if a 2010 event is not in your plans, in your budget or in your vicinity, check out these resources from previous events.
Global Pastors Wives Network - streaming videos
Pastors Conference 2009 (Sovereign Grace Ministries) - 2 sessions for pastors wives - MP3 downloads
Seminary Wives Discipleship speakers (The Masters Seminary) - MP3 downloads
Living Proof Live with Beth Moore for Ministers' Wives - (from 2009 Nashville event)
Just Between Us conferences - CDs
Pastor's Wives retreats (The Word for Today) -DVDs and audio
First Lady conferences - DVDs, CDs and some MP3 downloads (scroll down to just above the middle of the page)
While 2009 winds down, it's a great time to start planning for 2010. Will a fun and revitalizing PW conference be on your schedule? Here are some I found. Let me know if you know of others.
Pastors' Wives and Women in Ministry Conference
Sandy Cove Ministries
February 15-17, 2010
North East, MD
Be Still Retreat for Ministry Wives
Heart & Soul Connection
March 11-13, 2010
Stone Mountain, GA
July 8-9, 2010
First Lady Conference (for Senior Pastor's Wives)
September 28-30, 2010
August 26-27, 2010
So often people look at me and they THINK they know who I am. After all, I married a man called by God into His ministry ... I must be a super-holy, deeply spiritual person.
Some people think I must have a beautiful voice, be an excellent pianist, and love teaching toddlers in Sunday School.
Others imagine I am a gifted Bible teacher who bakes fresh bread every day and rises at 4 a.m. to pray for each church member by name.
Still there are some who believe my home is always immaculate and I never lose my temper or feel jealous, inadequate, or tired.
And, to be honest, there are days when any one or two of those things might be true about me ... but there are never days when they all are.
But here is what I wish you could see ...
I'm just a girl like you who wants someone to say they like my new haircut.
I'm just a person like you who is painfully aware of my shortcomings (and doesn't need them pointed out!).
I'm just a mom like you who wishes I knew how to handle every situation with my children but spends most of my life wondering if I'm scarring them forever.
I'm just a wife like you who loves her husband but wishes he'd pick up his socks and towel instead of leaving them in the floor.
Most days my life look much like yours ... I struggle to find adequate time for prayer and Bible study in the midst of helping with homework, doing laundry, and trying to fix a dinner that is nutritious, inexpensive and everyone will at least try. I wonder why the cleaning fairy never manages to end up at my house, who drank the last of the milk and put the empty carton back in the fridge, and where all my forks have disappeared to. I have a never-ending "To Do" list that always gets lost in the frantic pace of carpools, dance and soccer, church activities, and grocery shopping.
Most days I don't do many "spiritual" things ... I'm a wife, a mom, a church member, a community volunteer, an employee, and the list goes on ~ just like it does for you. And there are days when I feel very inadequate for every one of those roles.
Sometimes I wish you could just spend the day with me ... so we could talk about how hard it is to raise Godly children in today's world, so we could share how much we long for marriages that reflect Christ's love for the church, so we could cry over the failures in our past and find joy in the God who takes all our mistakes and molds them into something beautiful to His glory.
The truth is ... I need you. I need friends who will window shop with me and enjoy a venti latte as we stroll through shops we could never afford. I need prayer warriors who will hold my arms when I can no longer raise them on my own. I need fellowship and friendship. I need someone who doesn't need details but whose shoulder can bear my tears.
And you should know this ... every note you send to say that you appreciate me or my husband, every time you say how much you enjoy having my child in your Sunday School class, every time you give me a hug and say that you love me ... that all matters! I may not always be able to tell you why your timing is perfect but God has used you!
Next time you look at me and think, "She's too busy," or "What could we ever have in common?" or "I can't be myself with her, she's the pastor's wife!" PLEASE toss that thought away!!
Yes, my life is full and the seasons of our life may be very different but there is room in my heart for relationships. And I've got no illusions that anyone is perfect ... I look in the mirror every morning and am reminded of that very truth. But I would cherish time to get to know you.
So, go ahead ... invite me to coffee, suggest a new shop I might like, pick up the phone and give me a call.
Yeah, I'm married to the pastor. And yeah, my life is different because of that. But the bottom line ... I'm just a girl, just like you.
CONTRIBUTED BY::TERRI LYNNE UNDERWOOD
Teri Lynne is an avid lover of books, constant drinker of strong coffee (with lots of sugar and creamer), and passionate follower of Christ. Married to Scott since 1996 and mother of Casiday since 2000, Teri Lynne, in her words, is living her own happily ever after ... mostly.
Writing and teaching women to live empowered, confident lives in Christ and HIS strength is a dream come true for her. TL is working on her first book in between teaching Bible studies, volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center, helping with homework, and trying to conquer laundry mountain. Oh yeah, she's a pastor's wife too ... Whew!
Learning to blend the sacred with the secular in daily life is Teri Lynne's writing style ... from sharing how she studies and prays in her own life to helping others laugh as they learn to see the spiritual in moldy shower curtains, TL wants others to find the great joy and peace she has found in Jesus Christ. You can find her musings almost daily at Pleasing to You where she encourages, challenges and inspires others to pursue lives that are pleasing to God.
We'd like to open CLUTCH up to all our readers, in an invitation for you to contribute through guest blogs, video blogs, questions and so on.
Just being totally transparent here - Delina's got 10 week old twins and a toddler, and I (Sarah) am counting down the last 30 days before baby #1 arrives. So we're both suffering from variations of sleep deprivation and baby brain.
We think it's a good time for those of you who are interested, to chime in. CLUTCH can only benefit from a variety of perspectives and insights - so we'd love to hear from you. Got questions? Got giveaways to suggest or offer? Got life lessons to share? Read a great book lately?
Don't be shy!
(Pretty please? With a cherry on top?)
Here's a question that could use your input and advice:
Have you ever been in a situation where the previous pastor of your husband's new church is now attending the church as a member? Or when older/retired pastors are regular members of your new congregation?
I don't really know this pastor that well, so I don't know that any problems will come up, but I don't feel totally comfortable with the situation. Any thoughts?
Does your phone never stop ringing? Breakfast, supper, family devotions - all interrupted?
Church members have lots of needs. Meeting those needs is what the pastor does for a living. But that doesn't mean that members don't sometimes need to gently learn some boundaries. They still need to respect the pastor's family time.
We've talked about having family day and date nights, but what about the phone that won't quit ringing? Does your otherwise-sensible PH feel like he simply HAS to answer every call? Do you feel guilty telling people that you can't do something?
Here are a few ideas if you and your PH need help getting started:
About a year into my life as a PW, an elderly PW gave me some sage advice:
"Any time you move to a new church district, never take any kind of job or role or responsibility for the first 6 months."At the time I kind of thought she was being too dramatic. Why wait so long? What's the big deal? I like to be involved at church! Shouldn't I be active right away?
Last week I had an unexpected early morning Facebook chat with a PW in California. It was around 4 AM her time, and she and her PH been awakened by a 3 AM phone call from a church member.
Seems this particular member has a nasty little habit of calling constantly, at all hours, and venting for 30 or 45 minutes at a time. Leaves them sleepless and frustrated before the sun even comes up.
"How do we get them to realize that we need personal space, family time, and a good night's sleep too?" Not that you wouldn't jump to help if there was actually an emergency, of course.
Sometimes you just need to say STOP.
There's always a period of adjustment in every church, with every pastor, concerning boundaries. When you first arrive to serve in a new church - that's the ideal time to set your boundaries and get people used to them. If the last pastor was single, and you have four kids, there's definitely going to be some differences in your needs for family time and privacy. Sometimes it takes church members a bit of time to adjust. But that's okay.
On the other hand, if you've been at a church for a while, and you're realizing that your family or your marriage is suffering - it can take a LOT of effort to put boundaries in place after people have gotten used to not having them. But it's worth the effort. This was the dilemma of my PW acquaintance in California. How do you help people learn to respect your family's space and needs when you didn't start out with those expectations?
If you're realizing you need more boundaries in order to keep your marriage or family healthy and whole as you serve in pastoral ministry, don't be afraid to take the leap. Explain to them how detrimental it is when you neglect your family, and that you just can't do it anymore. Enlist their help in keeping your spouse and kids protected.
Set some simple limits at first (we'll talk about things like phone boundaries later this week), to preserve family time and date nights. Communicate your intentions clearly, and then be sure to follow up consistently. If your PH has a weakness in this area, enthusiastically support his efforts to set boundaries, and work with him to achieve them.
A little communication goes a long way into the process of establishing healthy boundaries. And in the end, your family AND your church will both be better off.
Whether or not you see it, church members observe your marriage. They pick up on things like how you interact in public, whether you are affectionate or not, if you seem to be fighting (even good-naturedly), and so on.
Members get a sense of security from feeling that the pastor is happily married and that the PW is well-treated (and that she treats the pastor well in return!). There's nothing necessarily wrong with this, but it can make things delicate when you just need to fight something out!
Boundaries in the pastoral marriage are not optional. They are absolutely, 200% necessary. And they work both ways - we need boundaries about what we do and say and how we handle ourselves in public (to avoid giving people unnecessary reasons to worry about the pastor), and we also need boundaries that give us a sense of privacy and protection away from the demands of ministry.
Some boundaries that we've found essential include:
If you're a regular CLUTCH reader, you know that the first week of the month is "that time". During PMS week, we tackle the tough Problems, Mistakes, and Sins that are particularly relevant in pastoral marriages and families.
This month, let's discuss the Problem of Boundaries.
Lately we've posted a lot about things like unselfish service and whole-hearted ministry. About helping kids realize that daddy's job is special, and that they can have a role in his ministry, too. But those ideas have to be balanced with healthy boundaries that keep our families safe and secure.
As you've read in the research we posted about why PKs leave the church, an absence of balance in pastoral families is one of the main causes. Pastoral families, like any other family, desperately need a sacred circle that keeps them close together and protects them from the world outside. Not in a rigid way, not in an overly-sheltered way, but in a way that keeps kids feeling safe and secure and that keeps marriages healthy and strong.
This week we want to hear your stories and experiences about setting boundaries. How sacred is your family time?
What strategies do you employ to keep your marriage safe?
How much ministry is too much?
Here goes, girls!
Last week a reader posted this question on an unrelated post. We thought it was interesting enough to warrant its own post. What do you say, ladies?
"I am not a PW (I was a PK for 40 + years) but one thing I do notice about some PW's, is that they do not tend to go with Hubby when he preaches away. Years ago, we all used to go as a family. Why has this changed? It is something I miss now, only seeing a pastor and no family in tow. Any comments anyone?"
Here's the first post in our new thread "A Word from the Wise", where we interview older PWs for their advice and mentorship to us young'uns. We'll scatter these posts throughout the rest, as we get the interviews back.
I (Sarah) had the pleasure of starting this thread by interviewing Jill Briscoe. Here's a little about her:
Hi there. I’m Jill Briscoe. Seeing that I'm ancient (in my 70s), I have been around the church/mission block a few times! My husband and I experienced the business world, were youth ministry missionaries, and I have also been a PW for 38 years. For the last 9 years we have served as ministers-at-large for global church and mission. We've been married 51 years. Just Between Us is our magazine to encourage ministry wives and women who serve Jesus. Check us out also at: http://www.tellingthetruth.org.
1) What do you see as the single greatest characteristic or personality aspect that every young PW should purposefully cultivate in order to fill her role according to biblical instruction?
We are disciples of Jesus disguised as Pastors' Wives - so strive to do everything a biblical disciple does. The most important thing is to grow your own soul. Be responsible for your own interior spiritual life.
2) Can you share your opinion of current Bible Study trends for women? Lots of women want to study but have difficulty committing to a long series. How would you advise young PWs to structure the bible studies they offer to women in their congregations?
The most important thing is to have a vibrant PERSONAL bible study plan, and to encourage women in your husband's church to put this first. Teach them how to study for themselves... I’m a little out of the loop for current bible study trends, but if we love our own devotional times, we will each be hungry to make time somehow to be attending or leading a small group study.
3) What is a primary pitfall that you would warn young PWs against?
Never use your position as an excuse NOT to do what you would do if you were weren’t a PW and were just a church member instead. Always see your position as a platform for influence. Being a PW is a privilege, not a punishment.
4) What issues do you see the younger generation of PWs facing that maybe the older generation didn't encounter? What advice would you give related to those issues?
So many young pastors today are finding spouses in Seminary or Bible College. Often both spouses are trained and young couples want to minister as a team. But when they get into a church the congregation isn’t always ready for this dual ministry. The PW feels under-utilized and frustrated that their expectations for her are so limited. Or, the church may love to have her involved, but expects her to be an unpaid co-pastor.
Obviously the opposite is also still true. Many PWs didn't have the chance to study and train alongside their spouse and as a result they feel inadequate. Sometimes this makes them want to push back against expectations.
5) How would you advise young PWs who are leading women's ministries in their church? What should they focus on? How can they better connect with the women around them?
Go for it! Good for you! As Paul said to young Timothy, “let no man (or woman) despise your youth.” Focus on the women in your church: love them, pray for them and invest in their lives. Don't be afraid to learn as you go. Find a few women who have a heart for other women and do it together. Heart comes first, then gift.
Make sure you are doing some kind of evangelism yourself: not just teaching others to do it.
6) What's a book you'd recommend for young PWs to read?
Renewal on the Run: Embracing the Privileges and Expectations of a Ministry Wife
Yesterday's guest blogger, Katie Reich, would be thrilled to meet up with other PWs in the Tucson, Arizona area.
Anybody out there from her general region? She's busy, 3 kids and all, but would be delighted to get together with other PWs sometime soon.
If you live in her area, leave a comment on her blog at: http://missionalwife.wordpress.com/about/, or shoot her an email at: katie (dot) reich (at) tucsonrevolution (dot) com.
This is a guest blog by Katie Reich, a PW in Arizona. She is mom to three young children, and wife to Joshua Reich. Joshua is the lead pastor of REVOLUTION, a missional church in Tucson. This post shares Katie's thoughts on ways we can support our husbands, and is the outflow of her and Joshua's discussions as she helps him prepare for an upcoming sermon series on marriage.
What do you do when the spark in your marriage is gone? When you are going through the motions, so you feel more like roommates than soul-mates? How do you treat your man when you feel like he is not holding up his end of the bargain? I can tell you now that I do not have all of the answers, but I think that there are some things that we can do and some attitudes that we can have to help protect our marriage in those difficult times, as well as create a foundation for a stronger future.
PKs have a reputation. Everybody knows that... and even though we try our best, there are generations of bitter pastors' kids who make all of us tremble when we think about raising our own.
I recently read the results of a study that asked "What influences do ministry parents have that affect whether their kids stay in the church?"
This study asked 111 questions of clergy parents across the Mid-Western states of North America to find answers. I wrote the researcher, Dr. Martin Weber, for permission to share his findings. Here's what he discovered:
We know you're all busy. Some of you meet yourselves coming and going each day, and you wonder just how to get everything done.
But in between the cracks, we've all read at least one really REALLY good book. You know the kind - that book that inspired you to be more like Jesus, or that helped you through a crisis, or that answered some burning question for you.
We'd like to feature book reviews from CLUTCH readers. They don't have to be long and complex, or brilliantly witty. They just need to say:
1) the title, author, edition and where to get it
2) why you loved the book
3) a synopsis of what you learned from it
4) why other PWs should read it
We want to keep our posts relevant to PW life, so we're especially looking for reviews on books that somehow helped you become a better pastor's wife - spiritually, emotionally, practically - whatever works. It's just got to tie into life in the ministry in our special calling as PWs...
Write us at clutchtalk (at) gmail (dot) com to share about your favorite book.
Janice, a PW in North Carolina, asks:
I'm starting a group for PWs here locally. Do you have any suggestions? My first meeting is scheduled for September 10. I've wanted to do this for years, and I'm finally doing it!Got any ideas for Janice? Ways to contact PWs? Things to do?
(...continued from yesterday's post...)
Two years ago, I (Sarah) attended a regional PW luncheon. About 130 women of all ages gathered for fabulous food, fellowship and to hear an inspirational speaker, Dr Wilma McClarty. (Sadly, she recently passed away from a brain tumor.)
Dr McClarty's message was about our legacy as PWs. About the little things we might never dream would have a lasting effect. She shared a story that burned itself on my memory, and I'll pass it on to all of you PWs here:
It was 5 AM, as she boarded a shuttle to the airport to catch an early flight. A dozen or so passengers began the two hour drive by introducing themselves and getting acquainted. When her turn came, she shared that she was a professor at a nearby Christian university. Other passengers immediately responded favorably to the university's reputation.
"Oh yes, I had some student interns from there in my office - great kids!" "I've heard about you guys, doing all that volunteer work in the slums!" "Great school!"
With every glowing comment, Dr McClarty sat a little taller in her seat. "Oh yeah," she thought to herself, "I'm proud of my school!"
Until one quieter passenger asked, "Isn't that school from such and such denomination?"
"Yes, absolutely!" she answered proudly.
"I thought so. I know all about you guys!" the other passenger announced bitterly. The group's attention shifted to the new speaker.
"My grandmother used to work for a farmer from your university's denomination when she was a teenager. She worked for him every summer, along with other local kids. And every summer he paid her half what he paid the kids from his church - for doing the same work!"
Eyes widened at the farmer's injustice. Dr. McClarty wasn't sitting so tall now. In fact, she felt like shrinking into her seat as the bitter passenger recounted events from a hundred years ago. None of the passengers were now thinking about the great work her Christian students do every day in the community. Instead their unfortunate final impression was of unfairness from decades past.
Her lesson to the audience of PWs? "That farmer had no idea that his injustice would be repeated to an entire airport shuttle a hundred years later. He never dreamed his actions would be a curse through generations, retold as a reason to disdain his Christian identity."
"Ladies," she said, "as pastor's wives, seek to be sure that you are acting according to God's principles in everything you do. And when you make mistakes, do your best to make it right. You never know the legacy that you are leaving behind!"