Dear Church Family,
I love serving you and your families. I am happy to share my husband and children with you. I joyfully engage, and give, and even receive, the love we get to share in Jesus.
I’m your pastor’s wife.
And I am afraid you are going to kill my husband.
Not murder, more like negligent homicide. Nonetheless, he’ll be just as dead and just as gone. The expectations are sometimes suffocating. We’re in our early 40’s — not too many years younger than my own dad was when cancer killed him. That’s part of it I’m sure. And then last year, another pastor in our community, one not much older than us, dropped dead jogging, and I couldn’t help but think that that would one day be my husband’s fate.
I am truly afraid you might destroy the man I married 20 years ago. Some of you might not like your spouses. In fact, I know that many of you don’t. But I really do. He’s caring, he adores me, he is gorgeous, and we have a great sex life. That’s right, your pastor is having a passionate love affair with his beautiful wife. And I won’t let you cut it short with your endless demands and your unreasonable expectations.
We must give grace upon grace. But not you.
You get to pile high your needs and wants and crises. Some of them are even legitimate. Death. Disease. Divorce. Children run away. Life overwhelms. But it’s not this that is causing the fears of his untimely demise.
We must love all of you, no matter what. No matter what we know of your criticisms, or how you maliciously slander us to others, we have to let it go graciously. But not you. You don’t have to give a rip. You can show up and sit in a seat, and leave, unscathed, untouched, and not even acknowledge our existence.
There are hundreds of you. And each of you wants a piece of us. Even 200 tiny pieces add up to too big a chunk of us. It’s more than we can give, more than we have to give. WE do have lives. We don’t live at church. I know it looks like we do.
Our kids love it – most days. Until you tell them what “perfect role models” that you want them to be for your children. Or you say, “Why didn’t you bring your Bible? Aren’t you the Pastor’s kid?”
Each week, we carry your burdens, your hurts, the words carelessly spoken, and the knowledge that we will never do enough.
And we carry you with us.
Even though some of you bring us sweet encouragement, most of you don’t.
You expect too much.
You give too little.
And you whine too much.
We are tired.
We want more than anything to love you well, but when we give our very best and there’s always someone with something to say about how it should have been more or how it should have looked differently, it makes us want to go to the woods and live among the homeless – perhaps their expectations of us will be more reasonable.
How can you bless us rather than burden us? How can you love your pastor better?
Love his family. Encourage his wife. Invest in his kids.
Ask him how HE is doing, rather than going so quickly to your own needs. Be a friend, and let him be himself. We are busy. We won’t be the friends you have over every week for game night. But we will be loyal, loving, faithful, Jesus givers. We will.
Just let us be us. And stop sharing your thoughts on everything that you think that we aren’t doing right. Yes, we may need it from time to time. We all need accountability, but know that we’re probably carrying things that you’re not aware of, so come in love and be gentle with us. We’re fragile sometimes.
Some days, all it takes is a whisper, “Hey Pastor, we love you.”
October is HALLMARK’S month for celebrating pastors. Do something this month to bless your pastor. Something tangible. It’s not that he doesn’t appreciate the card, or the Starbucks gift card. But even more, give a piece of yourself. It will count for more that way. And be an encourager. We need it more than you will ever know.
With Love and Concern from a ridiculously exhausted and spent . . . Pastor’s Wife
Dear Pastor’s Wife,
Thank you for this gentle reminder that I’m sure most of us are guilty of — taking our pastor’s and their family for granted. Oh how I need to watch my actions and words. May I be more diligent about loving them and not wanting anything in return. I want to be the uplifting one my pastor and family can count on. Thank you for this sweet morsel of truth and the reminder that October is Pastor’s month.
Did these words stir your soul? Are you a taker or giver when it come to your pastor and his family? FEEL FREE TO COMMENT AS ANONYMOUS IF YOU’D LIKE.