This one is for all of the ministry wives out there. To all of you ladies that are married to men in pastoral and ministry leader positions. Thank you. We love you. We honor you. Why? Because we recognize that it isn’t easy being married to a man in full-time ministry. Your life is unique. The challenges you face are unique. You may go from seasons of great highs where ministry is awesome and people are actually nice, to seasons of low-lows where you feel used, abused, and discarded. I know. I’ve been there.
Because your life and life experiences are unique I encourage you to seek out another ministry wife that is a bit further along in ministry than you are. Look for a woman who has some life experience and can not only understand where you’re coming from, but can give you some fresh perspective. Ask God to bring a mentor into your life.
A mentor is simply someone who has experience and can be a trusted friend, confidant, and, if asked, an advisor. A mentor doesn’t need a degree in counseling or a Ph.D. A mentor, in this case, is simply an older pastor’s wife who has already navigated some of the challenges you are facing and has come through still walking in grace and mercy toward others. She is a woman who may have a few scars and bruises from life in ministry, but still loves Jesus, her husband, and the church.
When I was a younger woman I could have used a mentor in my life. I didn’t know who I could turn to for counsel and advice. There were so many people that I couldn’t look to for help and support; people in the church were out (I didn’t want to harm my husband or our ministry during an unguarded moment), my friends couldn’t relate, nor could my co-workers. I really could have used a mentor, but I didn’t know where to find one and, quite honestly, I didn’t give it much thought. I usually just marched along like a good little soldier and stuffed my feelings. Unfortunately my husband was the target when the pressure had built up and I needed a place to vent. Fortunately we weathered the storms and I’ve gained understanding about the need to have a trusted female confidant in my life.
If your church is part of a larger organization, find out if they have a fellowship specifically for ministry wives. Encourage your pastor’s wife to seek out a mentor from that group or at least attend in order to have fellowship with her peers. Are you a seasoned ministry wife yourself? Will you pray and ask the Lord to lead you to a younger woman in order to reach out to her and offer her friendship and the benefit of your wisdom?
There are also some online sources. There are a couple of organizations that offer forums for pastors’ wives to go online and talk to one another and encourage one another. Here at Standing Stone Ministry we have what we call Ministry Wives Rock! We are forming this ministry within our ministry to reach out to the wives of pastors, other Christian leaders, and women in ministry in order to CARE for them (Connect, Appreciate, Relate, Encourage). We recently had a gathering of local ministry wives where we had a great time of fellowship around a cooking theme, introduced our ministry, and watched these precious ladies connect with one another. Local merchants donated great items for a lovely goody bag for each woman. It was a very special time. However, our main purpose in forming Ministry Wives Rock! is to offer a listening ear, a safe place to vent, and an offer of friendship and mentoring with one of our women Associates. Because we understand the vital role these ministry wives play in the overall health of their husbands and, thus, their churches, we take the idea of being a resource for these precious ones very seriously.
If you are a ministry wife, or know a ministry wife, I cannot urge you enough to seek out for yourself, or encourage your pastor’s wife to seek out, a mentor or the fellowship of other ministry wives. No one should feel alone in ministry, not when there are many resources out there.