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Thursday, July 21, 2005

Desperate Pastor's Wives

Stress2 Hey everyone... we all know that being in ministry is very stressful at times; not only for the pastor or church staff member, but also their spouse.  I just got a very disturbing email from a sister in Christ who is at rock-bottom.  Can we encourage her?

She posted this response this evening on our Why Do Pastors Leave the Ministry? post from back in April.  She writes:

I am a pastors wife. right now I feel like killing myself. Iwant to support my husband and I know this is what God wants for me but I have no one to talk to about the pressures of the ministry let alone the issues with my children. . .I really don't know if I can take anymore!

OK... everyone... this is serious... she needs encouragement and someone to talk with.  Maybe you can share a word of encouragement or something from your personal experience.  Maybe you'd like to contact her for some one-on-one discussion via email or phone.  If so, please leave a message here and hopefully we can all play a part in helping her through her very rough time.

She didn't leave her name or email address... so hopefully she'll check back and read this for some help. Regardless, God knows who she is and where she's at.  Say a prayer for her and all the probably thousands of other pastor's wives who are going through tough trials...


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July 21, 2005 in Church Conflict | Permalink

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I am so sorry to hear of your pain. It seems you feel very alone right now, and you should know you are not alone. Many, many pastors wives feel the same way, but are afraid to share it. I applaud you speaking up to let someone know you are hurting. The church has a way on taking a toll on pastors and their families. Again, please know that you are not alone in this.

It can also be fearful to seek help since it may create conflict within your church. This just adds to the stress. I know you must feel stuck. But I strongly encourage you to talk to someone and share with them your pain. If you would be interested, my wife is a licensed clinical therapist and she would be willing to email or talk with you on the phone at no charge. Please feel free to email me at [email protected] and I can get you in touch with her.

Please know that there are people out here praying for you. God loves you dearly. And so do others you have never met. Please be certain of God's unending care and love for you.

Posted by: Steve | Jul 21, 2005 11:31:42 PM

I'm a pastor's wife too. I'll never forget what it felt like to leave the "normal" home I grew up in, to marry the man of my dreams, and move halfway across the country, into a life that was so very different. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I didn't know that every time somebody criticised my husband, that it would feel like I was being slapped myself. I hadn't a clue how painful it would be to watch the parking lot for cars on a Sunday morning, hoping and praying that people would show up. I wasn't prepared for the times when you do your best, and still people get mad and leave your church, or the times when they don't just criticise the way the church is run, but they come after you and your family personally.
Nobody prepares you for that.
Here's what I've learned in the 23 years that I've been married:
God loved me bunches before I was ever in the ministry, and no matter how crummy I feel about myself, or how rotten others make me feel, He still loves me the same today.
And He loves you too.
I almost made a big mistake several years ago, and if I had, I would have lost out on the years that were to come. And they've been the best yet. I'd love to talk with you more and let you know that no matter how bad it looks now, things can and will change. You're not alone. There are lots of us out there who know how hard it is to do what you do. Let us help.

Posted by: Sherry | Jul 21, 2005 11:32:35 PM

I am a pastor's wife and know EXACTLY how you are feeling: the pain, the confusion, the desire to do what's right, the DESPERATE feeling that there is no win-win. I've been there -- I am sometimes STILL there -- Please e-mail me and I would love to call you and talk more.

Posted by: Angie | Jul 22, 2005 9:55:58 AM

Lately i've been so upset that my blood pressure was dancing up and down for 2months, because of the insults and acussations, by our board memebers against my husband. He did what he believed God, was leading him to do. He ordained one sister, because that is what God! & the Holy Spirit instructed him to do, and not the other. The sister, who was ordained refuses to use, her new office title. And then the family turned on him, telling him his decision was Satan, inspired and not God! inspired...I could not believe my ears and eyes when i heard this. I've been praying, and praying. Every decision that my husband, now makes this family unit reminds him that they are 2 of the original founding members, and they think that gives them license to do what they want to do. They act as though the Pastor, was mad for the boards use, and not the other way around. Please pray, for us as God! takes us through this very difficult time.

Posted by: Deborah | Jul 22, 2005 7:26:34 PM

I can't help but wonder if it wasn't a close friend of mine who made that original post. She has gone through more than the normal pastor's wife that's for sure - and that is not meant to minimize anyone's pain or hurts, I've had them, too!
What I know with firm understanding is that life is full of seasons. In the very toughest of times when all (and I mean all) seems hopeless, don't forget to "stand, stand firm." God will never forget his own and will never abandon you. Keep trusting and believe that one day when God brings you through the depression and despair you will have an even deeper, stronger faith in the mighty Savior! That renewed and deepened faith will then be passed on to another struggling "pilgrim" to be an inspiration to them and an arrow straight to God Almighty! Psalm 3:3-6 "But you are a shield around me, O Lord; You bestow glory on me and lift up my head. To the Lord I cry aloud and he answers me from his holy hill. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side. From the Lord comes deliverance!
Blessings to all of you!

Posted by: anotherPW | Jul 23, 2005 12:56:07 AM

I as well had a rough start. After 31 years of serving the Lord I married into the ministry. I do thank the Lord for a husband that does not pressure me into any position in the church nor into any specific "pastor's wife profile". If He would have, God only knows what would been of our marriage today. I think that serving God is great, I did it as a single woman and now 4 years later I still would not do anything else. But think of this. are your preassures people impossed? I totally understand the isolation you must feel by not being able to talk to anyone. But ask God to give you someone whom to trust! It is important to vent and pray with a woman you can trust. I have my mother. But a trustworthy, Godly friend is just as good. As far as how you feel regarding your children, well, my oldest is 3 and my youngest 2 months, so I don't feel prepared to comment on this too much since I believe your kids are older and your challenges greater. But, many times I have called my older sister for advise regarding my 3 year old's strong will and how I feel like such a horrible mother for being consistant with discipline which could mean 2 time outs, and three bottom spanks in a period of 15 min. while other days he is great! Think of this my dear sister, Please Jesus...and only be conserned about pleasing Him! Are you overwhelmed? Take time off from all the espectations the church may have on you and concentrate on your home...your children and your husband! I pray your husband's heart also hears your heart and tries his best to minister to your needs. I will pray for you as soon as I send this! E-mail me any time! Enjoy the freedom Christ died to give you and die to peoples expectations of you!! :)

Posted by: JMH | Jul 23, 2005 11:42:16 AM

I am a pastor. My wife went through very serious bouts of post partum depression. As a husband and a pastor, I know what you are going through.
First, see a doctor. Depression is an illness than needs to be treated. Therapy, excersize, medication - whatever it takes, seek all forms of help.
Second, and this seems to go against most of the other comments I have read - Let the Church help. Most members of your congregation are supportive and caring. The church is not an evil institution. I believe the congregation would rise to the occasion, if they only knew that you were suffering. Being a pastor and a pastor's wife should not separate you. You are a member of the church. Let the church help.
It was tough for us to admit to needing help. However, it brought all of us closer together as a church family, and no one will think any less of you. We are all human beings, and vulnerable.
Good luck. Email me anytime.

Posted by: David | Jul 25, 2005 11:20:12 AM

Praying for you to find encouragement, hope, and someone outside your church that you feel you can safely speak to. Please share your despair with your husband and a few others you trust. Isolation in such time is very fertile ground for the enemy of your soul to work in.

Posted by: amy | Jul 25, 2005 7:27:11 PM

God loves you and knows what you are going through. But Just like David when life was so bad he was running from Saul; and the enemy came in and stole everything worth having. His men in his army cried until they had no more strenght to cry;then spake of stoning David. This was enough for anyone to want to kill themselves- the only other support he had was Johnathon his covenant brother from day one who soul was knitted with David. So I want you to do what David did Encouraged Himself In The Lord!
No matter what has been done to you; if God Be FOR YOU WHO CAN BE AGAINST YOU! My dear sweet sister don't you throw in the towel but remember all the other trials God has delivered you out of. And if he brought you out that time he;s well able to do it again and again! Why because he is Jehovah Jireh(GOD THAT Provides)! So before you check out of here; Life has no hardships that God can't handle! You're the apple of his eye and he already knows what's up and let him listen to your pain.
Remember To Bee Encouraged,
Dr. S. Surratt

Posted by: Dr.Surratt | Jul 26, 2005 3:46:37 PM

I am recommending you to go to website www.ministry4women.com, in which you will find materials that will be of help to you. This is a true Woman of God who is anointed by God to ministry to women's need as well as First Ladies and Pastor's Wives

Posted by: Queen | Aug 2, 2005 1:11:46 AM

I know how you feel, I was once in your position. It's not an easy place to be in. But think about this God would not have chosen you to be his mate if he felt you were not qualified. Seek God and know that he is right there beside you. Jesus said he would never leave nor forsake you. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Be encouraged Woman of God and know that this to will pass. I will be praying for you.

Posted by: Patti Arthur | Aug 2, 2005 12:53:45 PM

I have decided that I can't be perfect and admitted it to everyone. I am happily serving the Lord, doing my best, but it isn't always as good as I wish it were. (Did I say I was doing my best?) If anyone else can do a better job they are welcome to take over at any time. God is in charge of my life and He put me where I am and I am glad to be here. It IS hard sometimes. Probably will be again. He is here. For me.

I am always happy to talk to anyone about joyously serving God. Please feel free: [email protected]

Posted by: BRENDA | Aug 2, 2005 4:09:47 PM

As a PW, I can recall several times when I was severly depressed by things happening in the church. Being attacked personally or my husband being attacked were never taught in seminary. I was not prepared for the warfare that the enemy would bestowe on my family or ministry. Since we moved 1/2 way across the US and live in a desert region, I knew no one I could talk to about the attacks. We were church planters that had little to no support. I have felt so upset and depressed at times that I too wanted to just end it all. I was gently reminded by a PW from seminary that no matter what trials I go through, God is always with me. The trials are to strengthen me and help me learn to depend on Him. It's not easy when you're going thru the trial. You feel so alone sometimes, but I can attest that He has always been with me and helped me thru it. A great website for PW's is: www.pastorswives.org. It is a place you can go to and see how other ladies have had the same struggles you may be going thru and how they survived satan's attacks. I greatly recommend you check out the site. It's amazing that PW from across the world have the same struggles as we do. It has been a great repreave for me when I am struggling. If your church has a women's ministry, try talking with the director. Let her know how you are feeling. She has taken a vow to keep things confidential. If you have no one in your church in which you can confide, seek another church within your denomination. Contact the PW there. I am so sure she has gone thru some of the same struggles. Not only will you have someone to share your frustions with, but you will also develop a new friendship. You are not alone dear sister. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to talk more.

Posted by: Tammy | Aug 9, 2005 9:21:10 AM

I too am a pastors wife of 7 months. And from the beginning I have been attacted repeatedly. I had no idea it was like it is for pastors and their families. It has helped to read the comments to your email, I
hope it helps you also. I will be praying for you. Remember Jesus Loves You and cares
about your pain.

Posted by: Juanita | Aug 9, 2005 11:14:39 PM

Dear sister in Jesus,
You are echoing to me some of the familiar pain that I personally struggle with too. I've at times thought of personally throwing the towel in. Remember, Jesus is a caring loving Savior who is there right now to hold you in His arms. Go to him and give it to him. Remember, our Savior never gives us more than we can bear. We can do anything through Him who strenghens us!! Dwell on these Words from scripture and let them bring you comfort in your time of distress. Church is no more of a perfect place than the real world and I do believe Satan works even harder in the church to bring down the believers cause we belong to Jesus and not Him. Look to Jesus for total dependence and pray, pray, pray. God be with you my dear sister. Feel free to email!

Posted by: Marleah | Feb 21, 2006 7:23:29 PM

Dear Sisters in Christ,

I want to encourage each of you in your walk. I too was a pastor's wife until 10 1/2 months ago, when I became a pastor's widow...it is much harder than being a pastor's wife! I can certainly empathize with you on the struggles. I was also a minister for almost 20 years. I have seen both sides of that role and believe that being a pastor's spouse is by far the most difficult.

Since my husband's death, God has led me to start a new ministry, Lydia Ministries. I founded Lydia Ministries to encourage pastors and their spouses/families. But, also to teach churches how to uplift, empower, support, and promote their pastor/spouse/family. With over 1600 ministers leaving the ministry each month, and with pastor's wives having one of the highest rates of suicide, God impressed upon me that something had to be done. I believe that the experiences that I have had has equipped me for this ministry.

I encourage you to visit my website at www.lydiaministry.com

I also mentor pastor's wives. There is no charge for this and all I need is an email from you, or if you want to send someone's email to me that you believe needs to be encouraged in their walk as a pastor's wife, then that would be fine too.

I pray God gives you all the joy you can handle today, and that if it is a dark day, that He would so bless you that the Light would shine in your heart.

If you are a pastor, or in a leadership role in the church and would extend an invitation I would love to come and speak to your church, ministry, women's group or retreat. Contact me and we can talk about that today. You can go on my website and get further information about the ministry services that Lydia Ministries offers. Please note that the web address is www.lydiaministry.com

In Christ I serve,

Susan Ferrell, Founder and President, Lydia Ministries

Posted by: Susan | May 10, 2006 11:45:15 AM

I just found this website today and am very thankful that I did. I too am the wife of a pastor, who was recently verbally attacked by a number of members in his small congregation who neither come nor support their local church.

Sadly their only intrest is being in "CONTROL" of the church because previous controlers have died and now it is their turn to run things.

The pastors of this church are assigned by a Bishop, most pastors sent here view this assignment only as a stepping stone to bigger and better charges. We have been here almost five years and believe there is "GREAT" potential, but there is so much strife and dislike for one another among the membership that no one is willing to come together to "TURN THING'S AROUND".

Pastor has used every tool (including movies) God has shown him to "TEACH HIS WORD", but the degree of resentment to the "UNTAINTED" Word of God is like nothing I have ever seen. The members are always talking about "LOVE", but view the "WORD" OF GOD (GOD IS LOVE) as "HURTFUL" and "PICKING ON THEM", and therefore they say Pastor does not Love or Care about them and that they are not being feed here.

He has no connective support as far as other area pastor's due to the fact they are all in "FAMILY RUN CHURCHS" that "DO NOT ALLOW THEM TO FELLOWSHIP WITH ONE ANOTHER".

My husband is 60+ years old and at a stage in his life where he knows that God has for a number of years been showing him to start a "TEACHING" Bible College, but I know he has concerns about our ages (I am 50) and our future,because of the fact 10 years ago we sold our home, gave up a business and I left a job I would be retired from now.

I know he fears that if he were to die I would have nothing to fall back on. I truely believe that God has and will provide for our every need, but we have had 6 fellow pastor friends who have died and their spouses were left in terrible straits.

I would really appreciate any ideas and encouragement you might offer.

In His Service

Posted by: TRUDY | Jun 15, 2006 4:28:16 PM

I'm a 38 yr. old single woman .I got laid off from my job ,and my life has been going down hill every since.I have 2 kids and I been looking for a job for the last 5 months.I feel like giving up.I probably wouldve took the easy way out already but I dont want to leave my kids here to suffer without me. But I just want this not having enough to eat, not having proper things I need to get by . I dont know whats gonna happen good for me.

Posted by: leesa | Jun 25, 2006 11:38:04 AM

I'm a pastor's wife and I just started [email protected]
It's a site that doesn't sugar coat what it's like to be the wife of a minister.
Come and join me, leave comments and communicate about being the wife of a
I'd love to hear from you!
In Christ,
Mediocre Minister's Wife

Posted by: Mediocre Minister Wife | Jul 27, 2006 2:27:46 AM

I would love to hear of any ideas for my staffwive's gathering...

Posted by: Debbie | Sep 23, 2006 1:41:20 PM

(Dimple is not my name & the above ID is not mine. i do not know if such an ID exists.) i hope u r not going through what i'm going through. i'm a pastors wife & a pastor too. we have 3 kids & 3 churches. Lot of people & lot of responsibility. we teach on home & marriage. Many around the world have been blessed. They look up to me as a 'woman of God'. But one thing that i can never share with anyone is the amount of mental torture i go through because of my HUSBAND. That's how i saw this site. sometimes i'm driven to a point where i cant handle anymore. many thoughts cross my mind, but because of the position i hold & the responsibilities i have, i cannot be a stumbling block to the innocent ones. The Lord is my rewarder. if you are facing a similar situation, i would say, Trust God. Hold on to Jesus, He is with you. He will reward you.

Posted by: Dimple | Nov 5, 2006 7:41:41 AM

It's been almost a year since I posted my above post. Lydia Ministries has become an international ministry giving me the opportunity to meet pastors and their spouses all over the world. I'll be in West Africa on Wed. and looking forward to speaking to many pastors and their spouses there...and to many women in ministry!

As I read your comments, I wonder how many of you will be brave enough to make personal contact with someone, either a counselor or someone in an area of ministry that you feel safe to truly express what you are going through.

There's a big white elephant in our rooms, and it's called sorrow, pain, guilt, shame, anger, among many other names. Many of you are in places of leadership where you may feel you are not called to lead, and then you feel like you are a fraud because you are in that position...I know that feeling from past experience. Some of you are overwhelmed. You feel like you have to be perfect...and there are anywhere from 1-1000's of demanding church members who will try to "validate" that feeling for you!

(I would like to recommend flylady.com for those who feel overwhelmed or like you just can't be good enough...fly stands for "finally loving yourself")

I also invite you to visit me at www.lydiaministry.com where you can send an email directly to me. I am more than glad to encourage you, to pray with you, or just to listen.

Blessings on all of you. Take a moment to love yourself.


Posted by: Susan | Mar 5, 2007 1:04:38 PM

Support For the Pastor's Wife!

I am a pw (pastor’s wife) too, and right now I'm going through the worst time of my life. Broken, bruised, and crushed in spirit I’m currently at an all time low.

However I have a safe place where I can talk about everything in great detail and have seasoned pw's pray and walk me through such times. As a matter of fact if it weren’t for this place I would LEAVE the ministry after what I have been through. But the support, prayers, and love I have found keeps me strong in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Your NOT ALONE, there is a place where you can talk, build relationships and be encouraged by other pw's who will LOVE on you as your going through such hard times!


God bless you my sister in Christ,

Love Zoe

Posted by: Zoe | Mar 8, 2007 1:44:29 PM

My sister in Christ,
You are dearly loved unconditionally by Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
My husband is the pastor of a small country church and I have yet to find a women who I can be totally honest with and share my heartfelt concerns to. However, my Father in Heaven is always listening to me and always here for me wherever I am whatever I am doing. My dear sister, always remember that He is always with you and will NEVER forsake you. Just trust Him. Tell Him all that you are going thru and never give up. You have sisters in Christ all over this world who are here for you and know your pain. You are never alone. We are here for you. God is always here for you! Hang in there! Pray for your husband, pray that he will see with God's eyes what you are going through. Always pray! And when done praying, pray some more. That is one lesson I learn everyday myself. There is a book out by Beth Moore titled "Get out of the pit" I have just started reading it myself and it is SO GOOD! It is a must read for everyone!
Just trust in The Lord, He is always with you!

Posted by: Stephanie | Mar 22, 2007 12:26:35 PM

It is unfortunate that people as congregation members don't know the pressures that Pastor's come under, at the same time there are pressures within the body (the congregation)and they can wound others because of their pressure and the same with Pastors. I think the whole idea of posting this is very good, because it really opens up areas where by the body of christ can minister world wide, we are all good samaritans at heart and we desire to bind up the broken hearted and pour wine and oil (with God's help) into open wounds and to ensure that those wounds are treated with the right ointment so it doesn't get infected and touched at the most painful area in the wound. I believe she needs time to allow healing to take place and to surround herself with people that care for her personally. People that will build her up and pray for her. I hope this helps. We can all have the ministry of the good samaritan and bind up wounds.

Posted by: Kaye | Apr 3, 2007 12:58:02 AM

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