the interview: cindy beall

>> February 3, 2009


THE BASICS
Husband: Chris
Children: Noah (9), Jack (6) and Seth (4)
Occupation: Administrative assistant/bookkeeper; I work remotely for a company out of Ft. Worth, Texas. This allows me to focus most of my time and energy on my family.
Church: LifeChurch.tv, Edmond, Oklahoma
My husband and I have been married for 16 years. We met in college at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, in 1992. I’ve been a pastor’s wife since 1996.

THE INTERVIEW

What is something you wish church members knew or understood about you (or your family)? Those who know us know that we are just normal people. We do things just like a lot of other Christ followers. We just happen to be in front of people more.

What is your favorite way to partner with your husband in ministry? Chris and I enjoy ministering to couples by inviting them to come to our home. For some reason, people just seem to feel at ease and comfortable in our presence. Inviting them to our home seems to work well and foster growth.

What’s the hardest thing about being a PW? That has changed over the years. Early on, it was battling the ideals that people thought about me and things they thought I should do as a PW. Now, it’s sharing my husband’s emotional energy with others.

What are some of the perks of being married to a pastor? People enjoy blessing you with affirmation and even material things, which came in very handy when our finances were very low. We even got a vacation to Cancun paid for one year!

In what ways would you still like to grow in your role as a PW? I’m a part of a big church. So, I am trying to find ways to reach out to women more. I lead a ladies Bible study each week and that seems to help bridge the gap some. But I know there are more out there.

What are some techniques or resources you’ve found that have enriched your quiet time with God? One of the things I do is write my prayers out on my computer. Since I love to write, I often get more out on paper than I would just speaking my prayers. I also try to find different books that I can read alongside the Bible. I gain a lot of insight by reading books by respected authors.

Do you network with other pastor’s wives? Not much. Most of the other pastor’s wives in our church are busy working or raising children. How? I do try to minister to some of the younger pastor’s wives.

How do you help your kids deal with the pressures of being pastor’s kids? My husband and I decided early on that we were not going to force our children into any image or into any activities just to make sure we looked good. So, if one of our sons does not want to go to a particular class, we don’t force him to. We encourage him to go and learn, but we are not going to do it just to make sure that others think our family has it together.

What are some ways that you manage alone with your kids during church services or other functions when your husband is “on”? One of the ways I do it is by treating our work week as Sunday-Thursday. Since my husband only has one full day off, Friday, we consider our weekend to be Thursday evening through Saturday afternoon. It works for us.

In what ways do you think things are different for our generation of pastor’s wives? I think it’s wonderful that a lot of churches are not putting expectations on pastor’s wives. Not every pastor’s wife can sing or has a passion to work in the nursery. Some work outside the home, some work in the home, some home-school their children, some do not. Pastor’s wives are as diverse a group as any. Let them walk in their gifting and talent. The most important thing that a pastor’s wife needs to make sure she does is support and honor her husband and he should do the same for her.

What areas of ministry are you passionate about? I am passionate about mentoring women. I absolutely love helping women by sharing God’s word and promises as well as sharing my experiences in life. My husband and I together are passionate about helping couples work through difficulties in their marriage.

What is the most meaningful thing you do to support your husband? I try to do more than one thing, but the thing that makes the biggest impact on him is how I keep our home. Not necessarily that it’s clean or perfectly picked up, but that it’s a haven for him. I want him to have a sanctuary to come home to and one that he looks forward to. I usually have a good-smelling candle lit when he gets home. That awakens his senses when he walks through the door and I usually get a huge smile!

Do you have any PW mentors? One of my mentors is a pastor’s wife but she lives in another state. We keep up with each other through emails, text messages, phone calls and the occasional visit. I absolutely trust my whole heart with her and have learned so much just by listening to and watching her.

What valuable lessons have you learned as a PW? I’ve learned that there are some people who want to befriend you because of your role as the pastor’s wife. I’ve learned that I don’t have to be perfect, just authentic. I’ve learned that as long as my husband supports me and I support him, I don’t need to worry about making everyone else happy. Because that just won’t happen.

How do you fit the traditional/stereotypical role of a PW? In what ways do you break the mold? Traditional role – Well, I sing and have worked in the nursery, lol. Even though I work part-time from home, I am home with my kids. I run the household and manage everything. Break the mold – While being a mom and a wife are my highest callings, I am very involved in ministry and spend some of my time in ministry appointments and writing on my blog to bless the entire body of Christ, not just those at my church. Oh, and I watch the UFC. I’m sure that HAS to break the mold, lol.

What are you reading? For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Menby Shaunti Feldhahn

What’s playing in your iPod? Carrie Underwood, Hillsong, John Mayer

How do you like to spend your husband’s day off? Well, first thing is that we have 2 ½ hours together each Friday morning while our sons are in school. We just enjoy the quiet J and have an extra cup or fifteen of coffee with each other. When the boys get home from school, we do family stuff. Fridays are rarely shared with anyone…just us!

What was the reaction of your church members and your church-member friends (did you lose friends, etc.)? The church was amazing. They rallied around us because our pastor told the truth about our situation. He led the way in our restoration. There were some friends of ours that we’d known a long time who struggled with all of it, but eventually got through it.

How did this experience enhance your dependence on God? In every way. Not only did we lose our ministry and our livelihood, we lost trust, joy, peace and so much more. When trust is broken, as it was in our case, you realize that there is only One who is truly dependable and trustworthy. So, we both leaned on Christ. I did because I did not trust my husband and my husband did because he did not trust himself. We were under earning, to say the least. Our finances were so tight, but we were faithful to tithe and God always came through. It was an amazing opportunity to learn that God is who is says He is.

In what ways did you see God’s hand guiding you through this? God’s hand was everywhere. It was in the new friends we made, it was in the mysterious money showing up from out of nowhere, it was in the way our family rallied around us, and it was in the way our marriage became better than new. It was clear that God was carrying us through this.

How do you keep your ministry from being defined by this chapter in your life? We don’t. This is our ministry. We help couples who have walked or are currently walking the same road. It’s what we do. And we do it willingly because God brought us through such a tumultuous, life-threatening circumstance. How can we not?

With whom did you feel safe to talk to? We trusted our mentors, Jim & Beth Kuykendall. We trusted our pastor and the leadership team at our church, but our mentors were with us through it all. They spent many an evening sitting on our living room floor as we wondered how we’d ever get through our circumstance.

What were some milestone steps in your healing process? A couple of huge things were during a short trip to my hometown. I met with my mom’s pastor who spoke amazing truth to me. He told me that I was not a fool to stay and be a part of the redemptive work in a man’s life. I then, after begging God for a Word to stand on and believe in, heard Him speak to me through a young teenage girl as she shared Habakkuk 2:3 with a group of us. Those two milestones were huge and absolutely necessary for my desperate heart. I knew I was on my way to healing after hearing them both.

What steps did you (and your husband) have to take in order to forgive and trust again? I can’t really speak for my husband, but can say that I learned a lot about the forgiveness of God. I learned that retaliatory sin doesn’t make things better and hurts the heart of God. I came to a conclusion that I had to forgive for two reasons: God had forgiven me and I didn’t want to be in a prison where I was the key holder. The trust issue is another story. That is still a work in process. I trust my husband when he is walking in the Spirit and not submitting to the flesh. But, most importantly, I trust my God. And when I was making the decision as to whether I would stay or go, He asked if I trusted Him. I knew I did. I always had. So, I said yes and have never regretted remaining in my marriage.

What are some important things men struggling with sexual addiction need to do to “stay out of trouble” (accountability, etc.)? Protect your computers. That is probably the biggest thing you can do because most men (& women) look at pornography on the internet. Accountability is always important, but my husband lied to his accountability partners so that may just be a smokescreen for some. My husband would say now that he found a guy in his life for whom he really cares and then asked him to hold him accountable. They work very closely together and are with each other daily. He cherishes the friendship and would never want to let him down. That helps him, he says. But most importantly, you must feed your spirit so that the flesh will starve. It’s not enough to just say “no” to things of this nature…one must, must, must bombard his/her mind with things that honor God and keep your focus on Him and no one else.

In your opinion, what role should the wife play in this process? I think the wife should know everything from day one. Because the reality is, she’ll learn about it eventually. Unfortunately, so many wives take offense to their husband’s sexual problems understandably so, but don’t realize that it has nothing to do with them. I’ve met some of the most beautiful and amazing women whose husbands are addicted to pornography and/or have committed adultery. If you have a strong friendship with your husband, it’s key that he be able to share with you without you panicking. It’s okay to be upset, but remember that he is trusting you to hold his heart as he shares something that could bring about a lot of devastation.

We've asked Cindy a ton of questions, but do you have more?

1 comments:

Luke February 6, 2009 at 10:33 AM  

Her book about porn addiction is a great read! Thanks for posting this interview.

You might really like this new video from Covenant Eyes about the purpose of accountability when it comes to pornography temptations: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ICTrHtUkx8

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