Category Archives: On Being a Pastor’s Wife

Find Some Monkeys in the Cage with You

As mentioned in previous posts, for the past couple months I have had the privilege of meeting one-on-one with a young woman who will marry a pastor the 2nd weekend in August. When I heard the good news of her engagement, I sensed the Holy Spirit prompting me to take her under my wing and teach her some of the things I have learned along the way about being married to a pastor. There were five distinct topics I wanted to share. To read the other four click on the links below:

Figure Out Your Role

How to Support Your Pastor-Husband

Work Hard to be Healthy

Get Some Prayer Support

This post is the final heart to heart we had. From the title, you may be wondering what on earth it is about. . . A few years ago a study was done on monkeys. They took one monkey and put it in a cage in a dark and quiet room. Being caged in darkness and quietness can be scary enough, but then they started flashing blinding lights and deafening noises. They tested the monkey’s stress levels and, as you can imagine, they were through the roof! Next, they put a second monkey in the cage with the first monkey and started the bright lights and loud noises again. This time when they tested the stress levels, they were cut in half, just because he had a monkey friend in the cage with him.

There is no denying that ministry is stressful. There are seasons where it is quiet and dark. Then the bright lights and deafening noises start in. Thankfully, it is not God’s plan that we are in the cage alone, therefore, He provides “monkeys” in the cage with us. Our job is to ask Him to show us who our “monkeys” are and seek out and pursue relationship with them. I encouraged my young friend to look for the following qualities in her “monkeys”:

  • Availability – time, emotionally available, proximity in distance
  • Deep relationship with Jesus – your “monkeys” will influence you, make sure they are influencing the way Jesus would
  • Trustworthy – this is of utmost importance
  • Speaks the truth to you – not just what you want to hear, but the truth of what you need to hear

As a reminder, I gave her this little sock monkey that says, “Be You Tiful” on its shirt and I also let her know that I am available to her as someone who has walked the road as a pastor’s wife and I am available to her.

Kate & Whit

Just last weekend we had her bridal shower and at the end I was able to pull her, her mom, her sister and sister-in-law aside to share with them how much she is going to need them as she steps into this calling that God has on her life. I explained the “monkey in the cage with you” concept and then this amazing group of women and I prayed over her. It was one of those moments in life that was so special it will be remembered a long time. (Ministry is full of those moments!)

Monkey Friends

Do you have monkeys in the cage with you? If so, cherish those special relationships and hold on to them tightly! If not, begin to pray for the Holy Spirit to send a monkey or two your way. Since it is His plan for you not to walk alone, that is a prayer He will delight in answering!

Your Friend in Ministry,

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Get Some Prayer Support

On Being a Pastor’s Wife

This is post number four on the five most important things I can share with a new pastor’s wife.  (To read all of the posts, go to the “On Being a Pastor’s Wife” category on the sidebar.)  Here’s what I shared in the first three:

  • Figure Out Your Role – passion + gifting = calling
  • Support Your Pastor-Husband – pastors need support too!
  • Work Hard to be Healthy – spiritually, emotionally and physically

Number four is “Get Some Prayer Support”.  One of the blessings of being married to a pastor is that people often come to you with their prayer requests.  I consider it a high honor and privilege that regularly throughout the week people ask me to pray for their needs.  Praying for someone is one of the best ways to serve them!  Through the years, I have prayed for marriages, for financial provision, for health, for strength, for reconciliation, etc. . .   I have seen with my own eyes some pretty amazing answers to prayer, thank You Jesus!

Several years back, I had someone ask me (with all sincerity), “Who prays for you and your family?”  At that point, I didn’t have a very good response.  Sure, I knew that people prayed for us, but I was not being intentional about enlisting a prayer team to pray for our specific needs.  This dear sister gave me a word of admonishment and strongly advised me to get some prayer support.  She had learned what I knew, but hadn’t taken seriously; there is unique spiritual warfare that takes place in the heavenly realms regarding pastors and their families.  The enemy works overtime to dissuade, discourage and defeat those who serve as pastors.  I was putting our family somewhat at risk by not enlisting a team who would cover us in prayer.

Today, if someone were to ask who prays for me and my family, I’d have a better answer.  I have worked hard at being vulnerable and having the humility it takes to ask for prayer.  God has blessed my efforts and I now have a team of family and friends who regularly prays for our family.

Let me offer some suggestions of how you can build a team of prayer support:

  • Godly moms are among the best prayer support you can get because there is nothing quite like a mom’s prayer for her kids.  Does your extended family know enough about what is going on in your life so that they know how to pray for you?
  • A prayer partner is someone you meet with on a regular basis to exchange requests and pray for each other’s needs both while you are meeting together and then throughout the week as well.
  • Find women who have a strong relationship with Christ, are reliable, trustworthy and are led to be a support to you.  Then call upon them as often as needed, especially when you sense that you are under some spiritual attack or have a situation going on (family or ministry related) that requires special wisdom and guidance from the Lord.

There is a degree of risk involved with being vulnerable and humble before others.  You may be misunderstood or misinterpreted.  People will see your weaknesses.  The enemy knows this and that’s why he tries to get us to muddle through life and ministry on our own.  I speak from experience, the reward of having others pray for you far outweigh the risk of vulnerability.

Prayer support gives you strength when you feel like you can’t go on.  It protects you in ways you may never know this side of heaven.  Allowing others to pray for you lets them be a partner in the ministry God is doing through you.  Prayer support gives you peace, hope and joy as you faithfully serve Jesus.  It also gives you wisdom beyond your years and experience.  Prayer covering allows you to be successful in ministry!

So let me ask you, just like I was asked many years ago, who is praying for you and your family?

Your Friend in Ministry,

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Work Hard to be Healthy

I have so enjoyed my Monday morning meetings with the young woman who is engaged to marry a pastor this summer.  She is fun to spend time with, is teachable and has been open and honest with me about her life.

This morning, we talked about working hard at being healthy – #1) spiritually, #2) emotionally and #3) physically.  Longevity in ministry is dependent upon the degree of health is each of these areas.

#1) Spiritual health – As a pastor’s wife, it is your responsibility alone to take care of your spiritual health.  Although your husband is the head of the home and He will lead you in God’s ways, you also need to have your own vibrant, growing, healthy relationship with Christ.  The primary way this happens is through spending consistent one-on-one time with Him through reading His Word and prayer.  However, there are other disciplines which help us grow as well, such as, journaling, memorizing Scripture, worshipping, fasting, accountability, etc…  Make your personal, spiritual health your number one goal, knowing that what is done in secret will reap the biggest spiritual dividends.

#2) Emotional health – This is where success in ministry is lost or won.  DO. WHATEVER. IT. TAKES. TO. GET. EMOTIONALLY. HEALTHY!  Every human being has some degree of emotional unhealth, that is part of the human condition.  A person’s unhealth affects them and also flows over into their small circle of influence.  By definition, a leader has a large circle of influence.  Therefore, as a leader, your unhealth affects a greater number of people.  Through the years, I have heard stories and witnessed first-hand the damage that has been done by emotionally unhealthy leaders.  Leaders aren’t immune to the traps/stumbling blocks of insecurity, comparison, anger, jealousy, and pride.  That’s why it is important to recognize these roadblocks to emotional health and do the hard work necessary to get victory over them.  Emotional health happens as you get real about the areas you struggle with, talk them through both with the Lord and other trusted people in your life, and get the help you need.  Emotional health is not something that happens by accident.

#3) Physical health – I like to regularly remind myself that ministry is a marathon, not a sprint.  In order to reach the finish line, leaders need to pace themselves.  By maintaining your physical health, you ensure that your body stays strong for the rigors of ministry.  Adequate sleep each night is essential for help.  I am the type of person who is an early riser.  I naturally wake up around 5:00am each morning.  In order for me to get the 7.5 hours that my body needs to function, that means that I cannot stay up past 10:00 at night.  I have heard going to bed early called “sleeping in on the other side of the clock”.  Also, what we put into our body makes a big difference in our overall health.  Making sure we are well-hydrated is a relatively simple way to take good care of your physical health.  Physical activity not only keeps your body healthy, but also does wonders for your brain and mood as well.

No one but you is responsible for your spiritual, emotional or physical health.  In the effort to love and serve others, sometimes self-care is the first thing to go.  Don’t feel guilty for taking care of yourself.  If you don’t do it, no one will do it for you.  Your personal health – spiritual, emotional and physical is the first step to a long and fruitful ministry.

Your Friend in Ministry,

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