Pastor's Wife, Mom, Writer & Imperfect Seeker of Jesus
Pastors' Wives--Letter to My Pastor Husband #3
September 6, 2015
WHERE'S MY PASTOR?
Dear Pastor Husband,
I don’t have a pastor. It’s true.
I attend my local church extremely regularly. I serve within the Body. I cry when those in our church are hurting and I celebrate with their victories. But I DON’T have a pastor. Most of the time I don’t even really think about it, but there ARE those few times when I find myself desiring the calming presence and spiritual guidance of a pastor. Yet I stop in my tracks and look around—there is no pastor for me.
Yes, I realize that in reality you could say the same thing. But there ARE many pastors who get together on a regular basis with other pastors for that very reason. They NEED someone safe they can talk to about the frustrations that build up within them in their ministries as well as any personal or family issues they are dealing with. These types of meetings have been going on for decades. But not so for pastor’s wives.
It has always been a bit taboo for a pastor’s wife to say anything negative about….well, ANYTHING. Even to each other.
Think about it. I can’t very well go to another pastor on staff at our church about how tired and worn I am because my husband is never home and leaves me to take care of the house and family by myself. He is either YOUR boss or you are his. That would be extremely awkward and probably inappropriate. And let’s face it, that stress IS typically my most consistent struggle for many years.
I don’t mean that in a griping way. It’s just the nature of the ministry and something that I completely accept as normal life for us…until three funerals, a wedding, two counseling sessions and a partridge in a pear tree makes my jenga-balanced life come crashing down for a moment. And just for a moment…I need to vent. Venting to you may create an argument that I’m really not looking for. I simply am like a volcano that needs to erupt for a few minutes and then I’ll be nice and calm for months on end.
But even when I’m struggling spiritually on a personal level and in a valley the Lord has me in for a time, it’s not something that I would normally take to the guy in the office next to you. And if I sought out a pastor friend of yours or even a pastor who you don’t really know, imagine how the rumors would fly about the pastor’s wife meeting alone with another man! Yes, I can and should talk to you about my struggles, but as my husband, NOT my pastor. (That’s for another letter.)
So maybe I don’t go talk to a pastor, but instead seek out wise counsel from someone who I look up to spiritually. That might sound like a great idea, but deep within me is this insane desire to protect. Not myself, but you first and foremost.
Yes, I always want to be very transparent and real with people so that we don’t accidentally get put up on some pedestal that we have no business being on, but at the same time it’s very challenging and stressful to know exactly what I CAN share with someone that won’t make them have an unfavorable impression of you, whether it be that YOU are my issue at the moment or else they think that their pastor has a crazy and unstable wife. And I would NEVER want to share something that would cause someone to stumble in their walk with the Lord.
So I keep it to myself.
The beautiful part about this though is that NOT having a pastor to go to has channeled me into turning more to the true High Priest. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses.” (Hebrews 4:15 ESV) For I KNOW that Christ is the Rock who I can always stand on even in the midst of the storms. His Word is light to my life and the calming presence I seek. And the Holy Spirit is the best spiritual guide I could find.
Sometimes though, it would still be nice to have the comfort of a pastor here in the flesh. Just wanted you to know.