life on the other side - part 2

>> April 28, 2009

Here is the conclusion of our interview with Amy Andrews, a former PW.
Check out Part 1 if you missed it.

Is there anything you miss about being a PW?

At this point I am truly relishing this season of reprieve. However, despite its challenges, being a PW can be a wonderfully fulfilling, rewarding, exciting, satisfying and fun place to be.

The relationships we have built over the years and the people we have been blessed to know abound! We've shared many, many wonderful times with friends, have delighted in being a part of their lives, enjoyed watching their children grow and have been the recipients of amazing love, hospitality, wisdom, support, comfort & generosity ourselves.

I have great memories of sharing life with like-minded individuals, watching people discover and grow in areas of strength and bounce back after devastating setbacks. I remember good times of laughing heartily, crying deeply and praying fervently. It's awesome to see God do something great that can only be blamed on Him. There is great joy in seeing people come to know Christ or return to Him after years away. It's indescribable to see God touch someone through this cracked pot! What fun to watch a spiritual lightbulb go on in the heart of someone I care about or in my own. It really is great to get paid to do stuff for God!

What advice would you give a PW who is struggling to embrace her role as PW?

  1. God is trustworthy no. matter. what.
  2. He wastes nothing. The good, the bad, the ugly -- He uses all of it for His glory and our good.
  3. Know that you are not alone. I have heard from many, many PWs who struggle with their role and many who long to be out.
  4. Build relationships with other PWs in your area or other people outside your church. It never hurts to have external perspective and support. Additionally, find other PWs online with whom to connect. The Pastors' Wives Forum is a good place to start. (I also keep a list of pastors' wives blogs here.)
  5. Don't get caught up in the mindset of "If it's ministry, it must be God." It just simply isn't so.
  6. Likewise, be open to the unique ways God works. His ways are absolutely not always our ways. Sometimes we are presumptuous in our beliefs about what God wills. (As more time passes, I become more fully convinced that God brought us to that church on purpose, but His purpose was not to watch it grow into 500-3000 strong as we simply assumed.)
  7. Be yourself. Rabbi Zusya says, "In the world to come, I shall not be asked, 'Why were you not Moses?' I shall be asked, 'Why were you not Zusya?'" Fill in "Moses" with the name of the person(s) to whom you compare yourself.
  8. Guard your marriage as though your life depends on it. Fiercely protect your children as well. It requires balance, of course, and there will be times when you experience relational strains, but in the end, who cares if your church is bursting at the seams if your love for your spouse and the well-being of your children has all but disappeared?
  9. Don't bail. There's a difference between throwing in the towel because you're fed up, ticked off & want to get away from the pain and laying down the towel because you are too broken to continue or have done all you can do despite the pain.
  10. Love God wholly.
How is your family life better because of this transition?

I distinctly remember sitting at the dinner table one evening shortly after we arrived in Texas and we were all laughing. In that moment, I was amazed to realize it was a totally foreign feeling. Our lives had become so ministry-focused in NY that, especially towards the end, any time Brian and I were home at the same time, we were discussing what was happening at church. Meal times consisted of us talking/arguing, all the while shushing the kids because "Mommy & daddy are talking." And if we weren't discussing church, we were both so completely drained that all we wanted to do was withdraw into our own worlds and not be bothered. I still almost cry when I think about how little attention we paid to our children during those years outside of the basics of feeding, bathing and clothing them.

Our family life is vastly different now. Brian's work (mostly) stays at work, leaving plenty of time at home to play "chase," read aloud, watch movies and answer the question "What was the best and worst parts of your day?" around the dinner table. We splurged this last summer and got season passes to Six Flags. We hang out with grandma and grandpa regularly, making up for 5 long years of being nowhere near family. There is noticeably less stress and absolutely more joy.

My parents have noted repeatedly how much of a positive change they see in our kids since we first pulled up in their driveway 16 months ago (after leaving NY). This fact alone makes me want to fall to my knees in gratitude for God's grace.

Do you expect your husband will be a pastor again?

We would absolutely be open to it, however, I don't foresee that occurring. The reason for this is not as much a result of our difficult journey as much as it is a draw we feel towards overseas missions.

Still, our experiences have undoubtedly influenced our current thinking. For me personally, what I've learned from our time in NY, what I've heard from other PWs I know & communicate with and what I've seen as we've served in various churches in various capacities in various states, I cannot help but question the way we "do ministry" here in America. I'm inclined to think there is something fundamentally wrong with the way we have set things up and sadly, I think the number of ministry casualties is bound to increase as a result.

Even so, God remains steadfast, loving, kind, gracious, powerful, sovereign and in control. Praise Him.


heartreflections April 28, 2009 at 10:13 AM  

Thank you for "airing" Amy's story. I have been a huge fan of Amy before and after the PW thing. She is amazingly obedient, transparent and radiant of Christ's love.

Erin April 30, 2009 at 2:51 PM  

Thank you Amy for sharing!

Anonymous,  May 2, 2009 at 2:38 PM  

Thank you for sharing this!!!

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