I simply want to take a moment to talk about the wife part.
There have been times when I get this feeling that some people think that being a pastor's wife would be like living a dream. Obviously a pastor only really works one, maybe two, days a week. But, even if his week is busy, he gets friday off, right?! Then there's the lunch dates that he might be able to take during the day. (Did you catch some of the sarcasm?)
While being a pastor wife does have it's benefits, I think we sinful humans usually tend to look at the greener grass in other people's lives and ignore the burnt grass. Being a pastor's wife is different for different people because of the various types of ministries, but let me just give you a hint of the challenges this pastor's wife faces.
- No helper on Wednesday nights to get the kids in the van to come to church and get to Awana.
- Minimal weekends where there's nothing going on ministry-wise (whether it's youth ministry, children's ministry, men's ministry or leadership related). Therefore, there's a need for creative planning on when grocery shopping takes place or haircuts are done - all the while, we need to ensure that we maintain family time.
- In the Spring and Summer time, most Sundays are packed with TnT's, missions team meetings, youth staff meetings, leadership council meetings and family nights. In the fall and winter months, there are still TnT's, youth staff meetings, leadership council meetings and family nights. Hence, on those days, our children make a sacrifice by not being with daddy (for example, this past weekend, there was a Senior High Barn Bash, Sunday morning I played guitar in the service; so, I was at church by 8:30. I taught Sunday School, played in the service, came home for the afternoon, went to church by 5:00 to practice for the evening service, played in the service, and then had a leadership meeting until almost 11:00 p.m. Who put all the young-ins to bed? You guessed it. My wife.)
- Having a pastor as your spouse means that he's dealing with a lot of spiritual trash on a weekly basis. I personally have dealt with a myriad of sexual sin issues in other people's lives. That alone can have affects on your outlook. A pastor's wife is a radiant oasis at the end of the day to her husband. Yet, to her, she's been dealing with the childrens' sin issues and I'm sure she would love to let her hair down a little when daddy comes home. Hopefully I give that to her, but that's not always the case.
- Many godly men through the ages have dealt significantly with spiritual valleys. Whether it's Spurgeon, Edwards or Luther, each of these men had bouts of depression. Why? I'm not exactly sure, but I know it keeps godly men humble, and it draws them closer to their Savior. I also know that while God means these times for good, Satan intends them for evil. There almost seems to be a literal bulls-eye on a pastor. Unfortunately, the wife gets caught in the cross-hairs since she is the helper and seeks to encourage her husband towards Christ when he is down. To me, sometimes (maybe many times) Tracy is like the medic in a battle.
These are just a few things that a pastor's wife must work through. And, this is written for a couple of reasons: 1) To see how amazing, patient and loving my wife is, 2) To point people to pray for me, my children and my wife, 3) To say "thank you" to my bride for the sacrifice she makes daily in various ways so that Christ will be glorified.
You see, Gary's words this past Sunday were very kind. There was great depth to them. And, I wanted to take a moment to share what that depth looked like.
However, I'd be unfair if I only focused on the struggles. The rewards far outweigh the struggles.
- Knowing you're fighting in a battle that matters for eternity.
- Helping people through words or even simply through example that Christ is worth it all.
- Being able to display Christ through joy and sorrow - with all eyes watching you. (this might sound like an annoyance yet it's great for accountability!)
- Having a family of Christians who pray for us.
- We get to see growth and maturity in people's lives first-hand.
These are a few things. And Christ has enabled us to be a part of this ministry. If Jesus doesn't give us grace, it'd be futile. If Jesus were a fake, we'd quit. But, thankfully, Jesus is who He said He is, and we are able to do what He has called us to do. By His grace, I can pastor my family and this church. And, by His grace, Tracy can support me, train our children, and even minister with Calvary.