As most of you know, I recently became a pastor’s wife. A couple years ago, I remember dreaming about being a pastor’s wife, specifically a youth pastor’s wife. Look at God, won’t He do it?! Amen! Although, I wanted it and I knew it would be a good fit for me, I had no idea what I was asking for. This short journey as a pastor’s wife has been one with so much joy and excitement, yet so much hurt and heartbreak all at the same time. When I started to realize how unprepared I was to become a pastor, I began to reach out to other pastor’s wives. I wanted to see what others had to say about it, if they ever felt how I did, how they handled this situation or this one, and honestly, to feel like I fit in again. What I found in my questioning broke my heart yet made me excited all at the same time.
I think that often times pastors, as well as their wives, are misunderstood. Most believe that we have it all together, that we know it all, and that we are perfect. You would never say it out loud, but many times pastors are put in their own category, unreachable by the rest of the world. We are labeled different based solely on the title “pastor.” I do believe that we are different, but in many ways that you may not realize. We are fighting many battles that are the same as you, but also many that are different because so often we are fighting alongside others for their own battles. But point blank, we are human too and I think people often forget that simple fact. We have good days and bad ones, we struggle and we succeed, we have strengths and we have weaknesses. I wanted to create a post that could help you understand the heart of a pastor’s wife and what it’s really like to be in ministry, the joys, the hurts, the pain, the stress, the excitement, and the loneliness.
Since it is still fresh for me, I reached out to a few of my pastor’s wife friends. They come from all different backgrounds. Some are newlywed, married for many years, and some with kids. Some are youth pastors, young adult pastors, and senior pastors. Some grew up in church and some did not. Some have been pastors for awhile and some are new to this whole thing. It’s a variety of people, yet the answers all seem to be the same. I didn’t share any ideas of what they could say, should say, what I would say, none of that. This is their honest answers straight from their heart and their experiences. My hope is that this would change your perspective on what it means to be a pastor and how we are just like all of you, just with a different calling. (warning: post is a little longer than usual due to the large amount of quotes from other women I included. I promise it’s not my rambling, it’s real life stories and experiences shared by real pastor’s wives. Basically, it’s worth the read so keep scrolling!)
The first question I asked was, “what is the hardest part about being a pastor’s wife?” Many of the answers reflect loneliness and feelings of rejection. Take a look for yourself:
“This answer will be two fold; the hardest personally and the hardest from a ministerial standpoint. From a personal standpoint, definitely the hardest is knowing people are bashing your husband and then publicly acting like they love and support you. Being loving towards those people is one of the most difficult assignments. Sometimes I think I’ve walked away with a bloody lip from biting my tongue so hard to keep from saying what I really wanted to say. But this is what I know; there is coming a day when we will all give a account for our words and our actions. If I CHOOSE to open my mouth to “give them a piece of me,” I am allowing my flesh to take control.
“The expectations you feel others have for you and the false expectations you put on yourself. I find myself comparing my “role” with other pastor’s wives and wondering if I’m doing all the right things.”
These past 4 plus months for me have been one of the best journeys I’ve ever embarked on. From being newlyweds to ministering together, it has been SO. MUCH. FUN! I love getting to do ministry alongside Brad. We get to plan, dream, and serve together. We get to love teenagers, disciple them, and do things most adults can’t do because it would be weird (birthday parties, trampoline parks, scavenger hunts, etc!) We get to be on the front-lines of the local church, praying for others, setting an example with our lives, and leading the lost into the arms of the Father. It’s such a fun job and I am so honored that we get to do it together!
The next question I asked was, “what is the BEST thing about being a pastor’s wife?” I loved these answers! I think it truly shows why these ladies were called to ministry just as their husbands are. These answers are full of joy, excitement, passion, and a love for others. Let’s take a look:
“Watching people grow and seeing them get involved first hand. I love being part of a church that is so strategic and good at helping people get plugged into groups and serving. That’s where the good stuff happens!”
“Getting a front row seat in watching God move in people’s loves. I get to see sometimes the worst things people go through and then see God turn it around and do the miraculous.”
“Seeing the joy and fulfillment your husband has doing the work he’s called to. Knowing that God has called him and the fruit can be seen in the people is all that I need”
“Is simple, you are God’s hands, words, and He is using you and your husband to make a kingdom impact. He always takes care of us so well. He provides time and time again. He’s seldom early but He is never late.”
“The reward you receive for caring and loving people. As tough as it can be sometimes, it’s worth the joy you receive by blessing others and showing God’s love to them.”
“Sharing in the victories, seeing people healed, set free, disciplining new Christians.”
“Doing ministry together. I can’t imagine having a pastor who is a husband and not longing to do it with him. Again, it’s not my career, I work a secular job. However, I love being there for whatever I can: watching him speak, leading groups together, loving on people, etc. I love debriefing on an incredible spirit-filled night and growing closer together because of the ministry we get to do together.”
“Best part – by far, is getting to be on the front lines of ministry, you really get to see God’s work of transformation vividly. Such as today, I found out that a young woman who everyone had given up hope in ever knowing Christ confessed Jesus as Lord last week.”
“Getting to do ministry alongside your best friend. I love reflecting on what God has done through us and dreaming together about all the things He has yet to do. It’s the most exciting thing.”
I hope this post opened your eyes to the true joys of ministry, but also to the real loneliness so many pastors and their wives face. I encourage you to go give your pastors a big hug and thank them for all they do! I’m learning that it is definitely something you have to be called to do, because there are challenges. As I mentioned earlier, I wouldn’t trade it for the world! I love being a youth pastor and leading students in their walk with the Lord. It’s an ultimate honor and Brad and I hope to do it full time in the future! I think what one of these ladies mentioned in our conversation says it best:
“There are many ups and downs, joys and sorrows, good times and bad times associated with all ministry encompasses, but when it’s all said and done, this one thing I know: I am just as called to ministry as my husband.”