Archives For Pastor’s Wife

Recently in my water aerobics class, a new woman joined us and I started a conversation with her. We were enjoying each others company and learning about one another when “the” question came up. I knew it was coming. There seems to be no way to avoid it – whether it’s the first conversation or a few conversations later – it always comes up and has to be answered….truthfully.

“What does your husband do?” she inquired.

“Oh he’s the pastor of “name of our church”,  I answered with a cheerful smile on my face.

Her response was similar to many others I’ve had over the years. A slight hesitation and then “Ohhhh….he’s a pastor?”

My interpretation of that particular “Ohhh” is  “Un oh, I’m talking to a pastor’s wife, I better be careful what I say.” And usually the conversation changes from talking about our lives, to lighter topics like the weather and the latest news. I used to think I was imagining this shift, but after experiencing it innumerable times, I can safely say it’s not my imagination. I also must add, there have been many occasions when the response has been very warm and open as I shared my husband’s occupation. I am always thrilled when that happens!

This time, I simply replied yes and continued on (as if I hadn’t heard her hesitation) by asking her other random questions, hoping to take her mind off this new discovery. As our class began to tread water, she swiftly maneuvered to the other side of the pool and began chatting with someone else. I moved nearby and tried entering the conversation with a few comments and questions, but there was no response.

At this point I had to make an inner decision not to take her reaction personally. Fortunately, these days I smile to myself and think, “I bet we could have been really good friends!” or “I think you might even like me if you got to know me a little more.” But please believe me when I say, these thoughts are far different than they were when I was younger! Back then it was an emotional struggle and most generally I took it very personally.

The solution to this problem came some years ago when Jesus whispered something very precious to me! Those words embedded deeply into my heart, and they continue to resonate within me to this very day….even when rejection tries to wash over me. I find it interesting He didn’t come and preach a sermon about how not to feel rejected or that I just needed to “get over it” and face the fact that I was a pastor’s wife. No, He very gently said,

Cheri’, I like being your friend. You’re a good friend to me.”

And honestly……that did it! It settled something in me once and for all!

Jesus likes being my friend! Jesus thinks I’m a good friend to Him! It still warms my heart when I think of it!

So, here’s my little piece of advice. If someone moves to the other side of the pool  — no matter the reason — just listen for His voice telling you He likes being your friend!

Because ….. It’s true….and it’s enough!

 

With tears streaming down both their cheeks, my husband and his friend embraced! I could hear Don’s muffled voice saying, “I’m sorry I hurt you, will you forgive me?” And with warmth in his voice, his friend responded, “It’s all forgiven and in the past.” Then, I too, was embraced by our friend’s wife, and we both cried as forgiveness flowed among us all. Other men and women came too, with similar statements of forgiveness and many with tears.

This amazing moment took place at the business meeting of a very honorable denomination of which we had once been a part. We had left the denomination some years ago, but we had done it wrong. We had not communicated well with them prior to our departure, and as a result we had hurt our friends. In the wake of our decision we had left our friends with hurt feelings, misunderstandings and confusion – all of which needed to be healed.

While in Europe a few years ago, God allowed us to hear an amazing message on honoring our spiritual heritage.  The speaker opened our understanding to the scriptures which state clearly to “give honor to whom honor is due.” He spoke of honoring those he knew, who had walked with God before him. Those who helped him come to the Lord, discipled him, and helped him through difficult times. He challenged us to do the same! To honor those who had helped to spiritually shape our lives.

As the message concluded, my husband leaned over and told me he knew he was to write letters to the officials of the denomination in which he had grown up. He felt he was to give them honor for their influence in his life and to ask their forgiveness for the hurt caused when we left. His heart was tender as he spoke and I too, sensed God directing our hearts in this matter.

True to his word, Don wrote the letters.  Our friends responded graciously and wrote or called him to thank him. Recently, some of those men invited us to the denomination’s business meeting to share publicly the letter Don had written earlier and to bring public reconciliation to the situation.

As he addressed the assembly Don said, “It is an undeserved honor to be here today.” Those words were never more true. We did not deserve the door of reconciliation God had so graciously opened! But, it was time! Time to repent to them face-to-face, time to embrace, time to cry and time to say the things we had held in our hearts for all those years. And so…..we did! Last week.

I cried as friends from years-gone-by embraced me and lovingly forgave me. I cried because a deep awareness of restored friendship was settling deeply inside me. It was as if I could literally feel the fragmented pieces of my heart smooth out and nestle back into the places they belonged. My heart felt whole again!

Don and I truly believe relationships matter to God. We teach it, we preach it and we try to live it. But that day……….. amidst the hugs and tears……….as forgiveness flowed………….as relationships were restored…………….

I know…………

I felt HIS pleasure………

and I was undone!

 

Don’s first Sunday as a new pastor, was also the first day after our first child (Dan) was born! Change doesn’t adequately describe what was happening to us!

While our pastor was passing the baton to Don, I was in the hospital getting to know our little b0y and learning to care for his needs. As Daniel nestled in my arms, I should have been feeling contented. Instead a sense of apprehension seemed to be hanging over me. The doubts weren’t about raising our baby. They were concerns about the new responsibility and the challenges we would be facing. On one hand I felt honored the pastor and congregation believed in my husband and me, and on the other hand this assignment felt like a heavy weight I wasn’t quite prepared for at this point in time.

It was incredulous that our first steps into parenting were occurring at the same moment we were to start taking care of His flock! Only God could have designed such timing. It took many years of reflecting on this before I finally realized what (I’m sure) God would have loved for me to have seen at the time…

These two colliding experiences were really one lesson!

We became parents the day our baby was born, but the work of parenting our little boy would require getting to know who he was, what temperament, talents, gifts and personality God had given him and what God’s purpose and plans were for his life. With these things in mind God could then help us mold and shape him, and help move him towards the plan and purpose God had for his life.

Pastoring the people of God needed to look the same! We were to mirror these parenting aspects — Know our flock, understand them, love them, serve them and then help them step into the plans and purposes God had for them!

Funny how truth and time can make cloudy things clear!

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“Just as a nursing mother cares for her children,  so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”   I Thess. 2:7-8 NIV

11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.  I Thess. 2:10-12 NIV

 

 

May 25, 1974 I married the most wonderful guy!!

 

So you know I’m a Pastor’s wife, right? Almost everyone who knows me personally, knows this about me. However, it is NOT the first thing I mention about myself when I meet someone new. I have learned over the years, many people shut down as soon as the words come out of my mouth. It’s one of the hazards of being a pastor’s wife (PW) A very hard thing I had to learn to accept.

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned being a pastor’s wife occasionally in other posts. I’ve been once since the day I married Don….37 years ago! The funny thing is, I didn’t ever see it coming….this pastor’s wife thing!

In the early 70’s Don was the Campus Pastor on a small college campus. We both had been in the campus group, and he had grown into the leadership role and was on staff at a local church overseeing ministry to the campus. After we fell in love and married, we continued working with college kids and we thoroughly loved the great relationships we had with them. I’m sure I pictured us being in the campus environment for the rest of our lives. I guess we were actually pastoring on the college campus, but I never thought of myself as a pastor’s wife and I KNOW the thought of pastoring a church NEVER crossed my mind at the time!

But God had a definite surprise in store for me, when after three years of marriage, Don was asked to pastor the church we had been part of since our college days. I remember thinking, “How is it that suddenly I’m supposed to be able to take care of other people’s spiritual lives, when I’m barely learning how to take care of my own?” By this time I had only walked with Jesus for about 6 years and had not gone to Bible School. Our season of leading the college students had been one of mutual learning and growing as friends. The idea of being a pastor’s wife seemed like entirely new territory!

Don and I had been trained and discipled by our wonderful pastor, so he and the elders felt we were ready for the challenge. However, for me it felt as if we were suddenly being pushed out of the nest, and I was quite sure I was NOT ready to fly! Regardless of my feelings, it was going to happen, so I tried to wrap my mind and heart around the idea.

I set aside time to think and pray about this new step! And one day God dropped a couple thoughts into my heart that brought peace…. I could either try to play the role of “a pastor’s wife” or I could “be” the same person the people in our church had known all this time. In the moment the choice was easy — be myself!

Sticking to that choice would definitely have its challenges in the years ahead….. (that’s another post).

The other thought the Lord gave me was simple: He said, “I didn’t call you to be A Pastor’s Wife, (and He said it as if  He was reading the title of a book), I called you to be Don’s wife. Be the best wife you can possibly be to him and the rest will fall into place.”

Although at times it was difficult to keep those two things separate, God was ALWAYS faithful to help me see when I had taken on a role — and then He helped me re-prioritize my life, so I could take the time to “be” Don’s wife ….. and let the rest fall into place!

Dave & Beth

Pat & Theresa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever experienced a moment when you were in the midst of a rather routine happening, yet you realized it was more significant than it would appear to anyone standing outside and looking in? Let me explain…

Over the past couple years, my husband and I have been privileged to host several couples in our home over a handful of days. Each pastor and wife came with expectant hearts! As a group, we were acutely aware of our need for the Lord’s refreshing and healing. We gathered as friends to spend time with God and one another.

We talked, listened, prayed, wept and found healing together. Through our openness we discovered the uniqueness of each individual, and we grew in our appreciation of our differences, likenesses, weaknesses and strengths. As a result of this kind of vulnerability, we knew God had indelibly linked our hearts together!

Following one of these remarkable sessions, I found myself seated beside two dear women as we took  some time out to simply talk, laugh and copy recipes. Suddenly, their laughter became like background noise, and I felt as if I had stepped outside the moment and was watching it occur. In that instant a powerful awareness of my two friends’ love and acceptance of me, swept through my emotions and made a direct hit in my heart! It took my breath away as I fully realized what true and faithful friends these women were to me, and how honestly they loved me regardless of my weaknesses and shortcomings. In that moment we weren’t doing anything exciting or important. We were just being ….. friends. I felt safe. Understood. Accepted. Healed! It completely overwhelmed me! And changed me!

This incredible experience revealed to me a very simple truth regarding friends:

“…the sweetest friendships of all are the unlikeliest, for they are founded in something even more precious than delight. They are founded on nothing less than the complete and perfect acceptance of one by another.” (Larkrise to Candleford)

While it was amazing for me to know the love of my friends that day, it also left me with a very deep desire to exhibit love and acceptance to the friends God has brought and will bring into my life, in order that together we might experience…. the sweetest friendships!

This is the kind of friend I desire to be! How about you?

Selah

Dave & Karen

Randy & Mary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kathy & Wendell

 

Not all these couples were with us during those days of meetings in our home. However, I consider them “some of the sweetest friendships!”

 

 

 

 


The temperatures were sub-zero as the movers brought boxes into our new apartment. My almost-three-year old little boy was very sick, my little girl was celebrating her fifth birthday without her best friends, my oldest son was starting second grade in a new school, and my husband was planting a church in this new city! Change was swarming around us at every turn.

This month marks twenty six years since we arrived here to start a church. We came with more hope than training, but our hearts held a big vision for the new church we were to plant and for our city. Shortly after we arrived, my husband was driving home and came to a routine stop at a nearby STOP sign. In an instant he heard God speak to his heart. He said, “I’ve called you here.” Don responded, “I know Lord, that’s why I moved here.” Again, he heard the Lord, very emphatically say, “I’ve called you here!”

Six months later, the “stop sign” encounter was the deciding factor as to whether we would walk away from what we had started or remain.  That prior “moment with God” held us in place through some extremely turbulent days…….had it not occurred, we would have packed up our family (now expecting another little one) and headed back across the state to the people we knew loved us.  Although it felt as if our world was crashing around us, it was evident we had no other choice but to remain and persevere! Knowing He called us here was the rock we stood on throughout the tumultuous storm — and has been the rock we have continued to stand on throughout every trial we have faced in the last twenty six years.

Looking back from this vantage point, it’s very easy to see why God grabbed my husband’s attention that day.

He knew we would need this “confirmation of His call”  in the years to come.

He cared enough to speak louder than the distractions of this world.

He loved us enough to meet Don on a normal-every-day drive!

We sometimes drive by the stop sign and remember its significance as a starting place with God, on a cold February day in a lonely city. Upon seeing it recently I suddenly realized — the sign where God “stopped” Don also became the marker of our destiny!