when being a pastor's wife is hard: trials

>> May 25, 2011

Stephanie is The Candid Pastor's Wife. She can’t decide what she wants to be, so she does it all: blogging, neurotic, break-the-mold pastor’s wife, blessed mommy, math nerd, film and commercial actor, virtual assistant, and household deal hunter. Stephanie has been blogging since September 2010, with favorite writing topics including marriage, mission, and beauty outside of culture. Besides loving to work (apparently), she tries to spend all of her free time with her two favorite men: pastor hubby Brad and 15-month old Samuel. She thinks it’s also important to sneak in moments for food-love, laughing in the sunshine, and late-night reading.

There are times when being a pastor's wife seems unbearable. Something has happened, whether you're aware of it or not, and all of a sudden, you feel like your family, ministry, career, etc. are all crumbling down. And you want to crumble with it.I'm not going to point fingers in this post because I know that congregations and pastors/pastors' families alike can bring pain into ministry. We are all sinners, and we will all seek pleasure over God at some point. Sometimes, our sin leads to pain, especially in ministry. After all, our sin often effects not only us, but also our families, friends, and the members of our church body. While our own actions can certainly throw us into a downward spiral, we also may be experiencing spiritual warfare. Instead of doing something wrong, you may be doing something very, very right - something so God-honoring that Satan wants to throw a ringer in to your life, hoping to trip you up. Hoping to stop the Spirit's work in your life. Private sin, public scandals, demon attacks: all of these can be debilitating to us, our families, and certainly our ministry. What can we do?It is vital for you and your husband to fight sin. Temptation yields its deathly fruit in a heartbeat, and we can't be lazy. But it's not just about rejecting the temptation; when we do sin, we must come to forgiveness and true reconciliation. How do we do these things?Anytime I think of fighting in the spiritual sense, I go to Ephesians 6.

Finally, be strengthened in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Clothe yourselves with the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. For this reason, take up the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand your ground on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand. Stand firm therefore, by fastening the belt of truth around your waist, by putting on the breastplate of righteousness, by fitting your feet with the preparation that comes from the good news of peace, and in all of this, by taking up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With every prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit, and to this end be alert, with all perseverance and requests for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:10-18, NETBible)
There is so much in this section of Scripture that will help us through trials. Most of all, notice that we are to be so bonded to God in thought, action, faith, and word that we are practically wearing Him on us. When was the last time you could say this about your life? That faith clothed you? God's word filled your mind and mouth? Your motions were aligned with His? That every moment was a prayer? Most certainly, wearing the armor of God will help us when we're tempted. But it also helps us fight the enemy. The sword that we use? God's own words. Therein lies the truth. If we know it and preach it to ourselves, it will be much more difficult for the enemy to get us down.But don't forget what happens when you do sin against your husband, children, unbelieving neighbor, church body. You need to go to them. Tell them your heart was wrong. Spell it out, and thank them for the forgiveness they offer you. Then, be reconciled. What I mean is - make it right. If there is any way to mend what you did, do it. And commit to future changes that will heal the hurt.If you ever talk to me about sin, you know what I'm going to say next - You need accountability in your life. Being a pastor's wife doesn't exempt you. Make sure you find someone you can really trust - someone to whom confidentiality is vital - someone who will challenge you to live for God alone.Please help me add to this list - perhaps you have experienced trials caused by you, your husband, a church member, or an unknown source. Answer this in the comments: How did God help you get to healing? Please note: this is not a place to rant - please post comments that are helpful to our fellow sisters.

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Brenda May 26, 2011 at 9:38 PM  

This was very good! We have lived in our current town for 6 years now, and I have yet to find that one woman. The one who will challenge me to live for God (I have found myself being that for women but they are not in a place where they can reciprocate). That is why I love this blog so much, I find women who share so much with me. Its amazing! Thanks for writing what was on your heart.

Anonymous,  May 29, 2011 at 4:46 AM  

I agree with the above comment. It is very hard as a pastor's wife to make friends, and friends you can trust. I unfortunately had friends that burned me, fortunately it did not hurt the church! God has Mercy on us! It now terrifies me to make friends in the Church. Still looking for a friend to point me to Christ! At this point it is Husband, Hearing the word of God in Church and blogs like this keeping me focused! Thank you

Anonymous,  May 30, 2011 at 9:21 PM  

I'm really glad this could help you! It is SO difficult! This woman doesn't need to be a superstar for Christ (although that would be nice!). She needs to be someone with whom you connect, someone who will help you filter the gospel through your life, and someone who thinks confidentiality is important. When you find a "candidate" - talk about these things up front! Ask them how they feel about confidentiality - to me - confidentiality does NOT mean you share my junk with even your husband. Set up your relationship on a probationary basis - lay all of this out up front. Stephanie

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