Better Half

Family, Life, and Politics from Wifey

Count it All Joy January 9, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — raitking @ 8:33 pm

Pastoring is hard…duh, I know.  I’m sure most of you kind of figured that.  But I tell you what may be just a little bit harder-being the Pastor’s wife.  It’s hard for several reasons, but mainly because it’s a job that doesn’t come with a manual,  and I for one, wish that it did.

I’m full of questions on how to do this thing right.  I’ll share some of them.

Early Questions (simple and a bit shallow)- what should I wear? Hats or no hats? Stockings or no stockings? Cleavage or no cleavage 😉

Answer: whatever I’m most comfortable in; no hats (it’s 2010 ladies); no stockings (Michelle Obama doesn’t wear them and she’s very classy); and no cleavage (if I can help it..I’m a busty girl, so that’s a bit tricky at times)

Then the questions became more like: should I be shy or outgoing (I can easily be both), sing with the praise team, work the kids ministry, or just sit on the front row and look interested?

Answer: Outgoing- otherwise I come off as aloof; wherever I’m needed at the time.

New Questions:

Is it ok for him to meet with women alone?

Do I really have to sit in on counseling sessions b/c people want to talk to both of us, even though I don’t like counseling?

Is it my responsibility to make sure the women of the church are social and get to know each other?

And here’s the biggie I’m REALLY struggling with right now:

How do I handle vicious, nasty murmuring and criticism of my husband?

Shaun is always telling me about some crazy person that a particular pastor he knows is having to deal with- some blogger with an ax to grind, some former member gone rogue, or some crazy website that has been devoted to the defaming and tearing down of local and national pastors.  But I thought that stuff only happened to “big time” people.  I figured it was par for the course when your ministry is large and your life is so public.

But our life is neither.  Our church is small, and though we do our share of social networking, Shaun’s not a big, national name.

So it genuinely surprises me that anyone would have anything negative to say about him.  But it doesn’t just surprise me, it angers me!  Granted, I’m biased.  I love Shaun more than my words can express.  He has been my knight, my protector, my best friend for 12 years now.   He’s such a great guy that genuinely loves God and God’s people (sometimes to a fault, I think- well, not the God part of course).  And though he’s not perfect, he’s above reproach in my eyes.

I know no line of work is without it’s difficulties.  But I find the church world particularly vexing.  I honestly don’t know much of what anyone says good or bad about us, because I don’t run in gossipy circles.  But every now and then we’ll catch wind of this or that, and it just blows my mind. The church world can be the most inflammatory, the most judgmental, and the most gossipy of all.  And if there’s nothing for real to talk about, people are perfectly content to invent stuff!!

But here’s my answer to that:

1. Keep girlfriend (my name for my temper) in check 😉

2. Keep my eye on the prize and stay focused.  We do the work that we do, in the way that we do it, to glorify God, not man.  So what man says is of little to no consequence.  Keep playing to an audience of ONE!!

3. Take inventory. There are many more who are for us than are against us.  Too often those 10 people (or 1 person) whose goal it is to tear us down become more important than the 1000 that build us up.

4. Count it all Joy!  The bible reminds us that every rumor, ever lie, every whisper, every criticism not spoken in love, every turned up nose…is all designed to work faith and patience in us.  James 1:2 says it like this:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

And since I want to be both complete, and mature, I will continue to face every trial of every kind with joy.  Knowing that any “suffering” we endure is indeed par for the course whether we’re “big time” or not.  And that it ALL pales in comparison to what Jesus- who was truly blameless- endured for our sake.

Are you a Pastor’s wife? What are some of the questions you’ve grappled with and answered over the years?

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10 Responses to “Count it All Joy”

  1. Erin Says:

    Hi Rai. great post! I’ve had many of those thoughts myself,
    My husband is the Media Pastor at our church. It may be a little different for me, b/c he’s not the Lead pastor, but yeah..there are still things that come up that can be hard sometimes.
    At the beginning I thought I had to fit into a Mold – the Supermom/wife mold. Luckily we don’t have a church that puts anyone into molds. We counsel couples and I counsel/study the Bible w/ women too … and I always felt awkward, b/c I was struggling w/ the fact that I had my own Junk that I was working on, how is right for me to be helping other people? But then I realized,,,Who can relate to someone who’s perfect??
    We’re strongest when we’re the weakest.
    Our church is Real Life!… we’re blessed.
    I was reading this yesterday and it came to mind when I read your post –
    it’s The Message translation of Matthew 5:
    10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.11 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable.
    12 You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

    Just keep doing what you’re doing…building up God’s Kingdom!

    • raitking Says:

      Hey Erin!

      Thanks for this. That scripture was awesome, and even more relevant than the one I used. And you’re so right about being qualified to counsel even in our own mess because no one can relate to someone who’s perfect anyway. I will remember that.

  2. LaVonne Says:

    Much needed word. I continue to pray more and more for pastoring families, especially after seeing the downfall of one wife who tried to please the “never satisfied/always complaining” few.

  3. DisneyCyndi Says:

    If you had asked me two years ago if this PW stuff would come with pain, hurt, loneliness, anger, tears, frustration, and so many other words I can’t explain I would have said…no way. I have been preparing for this for a while and back then I was determined to handle it differently from the way I saw many others handle it. But nearly two years into this I am amazed at all of the emotions I have had in such a short time. I use to think it was different for the planter wives then those of us who lead in “traditional” church and we all seem to go through the same thing. The one take away I have had so far from this experience is ..trust in the Lord at all times. When I’m hurt..trust in the Lord. When the enemy attacks my home and family….trust in the Lord. When I start to doubt in my dreams…trust in the Lord. When I can’t find my way….trust in the Lord. No matter what comes my way….trust in the Lord! So Rai….whatever happens…..trust in the Lord. Don’t let the haters steal your joy. Go with your instincts…be Rai, and leave the rest in God’s hands.

    • raitking Says:

      Cyndi,
      Your reply brought me to tears! The last month or so has been a particularly tough season with church stuff. I thought I was prepared for whatever ups and downs I might face as a PW, but still find myself caught off guard by people. Very few people understand. Thanks for your encouraging words!!

  4. DisneyCyndi Says:

    Believe it or not you asking this question has helped me. Funny how we hesitate to take our own advice.

  5. Rebecca Smith Says:

    HI,
    I just started following Shaun on twitter and having been reading thru your blogs. I first off want to say if we where in the same room I would give you a huge hug! Thank you for your trasparency. It’s beautiful. I am a PK, my dad was a pastor in Atlanta in the 70’s and the we moved to Southern California in the late 70’s and he pastored until he retired in the early 90’s. ( So my entire childhood and teen years). During this time I watched the heartache my parents went thru as people told lies about them and spread rumors. My mom did not really have any close friends, during this time and she suffered for it. Near the end she had close friends, but none of them went to my parents church! I got married I & went to work at a church. I thought what had happened to my parents would never happen to me. After a while I was offered a job, I had dreamed about my whole life, I left my position at the church. Rumors flew about me and my family, and my closet friends confronted me about them. It was also announced to the whole creative team that we help run. It hurt. But during this time the Lord really drew me closer to HIm than ever before. He drove home the point that, my parents had learned long ago. It does not matter what people think about me, or say about me, that is between them and God. He knows the TRUTH. That He is my defender and will deal with the problem. What really matters is how my relationship with Him is. Over this last year, I have seen so many ask me for forgiveness in their part in all of that. Then also seeing people searching for my mom ( my dad passed away 10 years ago) just to say thank you for the impact and blessing they had been. So I guess I am trying to say please don’t let the little “foxes” steal your joy, get you side tracked, or get your heart to hurt. That if you all where not doing the right things… then no one would need to talk! So keep up the good work!

  6. Josh Linsky Says:

    I had to refresh the page 2 times to view this page for some reason, nonetheless, the data the following was worth the wait.

  7. Heidi G. Says:

    One of the questions I continually struggle with as a church-planting PW is how “real” to be with people. We are new in a small town and I need friends, too. By being vulnerable people can see the life-transforming power of Christ and how I need Him to navigate my days. I’m just a real person trying to seek out what God is trying to teach me each day and struggling through the duties of supporting my husband and keeping the house and teaching the kids and embracing others who need a friend or to feel God’s love or encouragement or challenge. I choose to lean to the side of vulnerability, but realize that that opens us up to greater hurt

  8. Allison Says:

    My husband is the youth pastor (almost 5 yrs) and we’ve been married almost 4. Our church has some similarities to Courageous. I wish I could type some of my questions but my phone would explode with brimstone and fire…
    What breaks me down into little pieces are the comparison questions. Why I act like I do..why I’m not as nice as so-and-so, do all of us ladies hang out in the best friends club (um we don’t) yak yak yak. I’m very involved in my husband’s dept of ministry, but I’ve hidden quite a bit on Sundays because I feel raiked over the coals. Count it all joy is right.. there are days I have to wake up and remember that God chose me to be his help mate and not these bored naggin people.


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