Friday, November 8, 2013

This Means War: A Pastor's Wife Speaks

Yesterday my husband Anthony and I returned from Long Beach, California.

No, we weren't there to surf or walk hand-in-hand along the shore, the cool sand rubbing between our toes.

We were there to attend the 2013 Mosaix Multi-ethnic Church Conference.

We were there to hear from amazing speakers like John Perkins, Eugene Cho, Choco De Jesus, Efrem Smith, and many, many more.

We were there to meet and reunite with friends and co-laborers - other pastors and leaders of multi-ethnic churches around the country, and world even. (There was an amazing group of church leaders from Congo, Africa.)

But one special treat for me was connecting with other pastor's wives like me. Other women who get me and this life I'm living. Other women who know that it's hard being a pastor's wife, but it's even harder being the pastor's wife of a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-social economic church.

Other women who understand that we're waging war every single day of our lives.

At the end of the conference I had a conversation with another pastor's wife about this war we're fighting. Here's what she said about the warfare we face in the multi-ethnic ministry life:
"The enemy wants to destroy us. And if he can't destroy us, he will try to destroy our marriages. If he can't destroy our marriages, he will try to destroy our children."
This is the boxing ring we pastor's wives step into every day of our lives. The enemy doesn't want hurting people to come to God. He doesn't want the Church to reach the souls in its community. He doesn't want the Church to feed the hungry, help the homeless, adopt the orphan, love the unlovable.

He definitely doesn't want the Church to open it's doors to people of every race, color, language, social class and political party.

And he doesn't want the white man to love the black man. Or the Puerto Rican woman to love the Japanese woman. Or the rich person to love the poor person.

Oh, we can love from afar. We can accept from afar. But to sit next to one another on the church pew? To serve food to the local homeless community side-by-side? To sit across from one another at our dining room tables?

Now that kind of activity means war, my Friend.

And the war is real for us ministry wives. Just look at a few of these numbers:

  • 56% of pastor's wives report having no close friends *
  • 59% of church planting spouses lead 1-3 major ministries in the church in addition to family, community and personal commitments **
  • 80% of pastor's wives report having struggled with depression *
I'd love to collect the stats on pastor's wives of multi-ethnic churches. I wonder if the numbers would be even higher... 

The moral of this story? 

If you're a pastor's wife, reach out. Be honest with your family and close, trustworthy friends about your struggles. The gig is up, Girlfriends. This thing is hard. Let's just be real about it.

If you're not a pastor or pastor's wife, pray for your pastor's family. Pray especially for your pastor's wife. Even if she's smiling and happy every single time you see her, know that her life is not easy. She experiences warfare in ways you might not ever experience. Her life is full of responsibility and service like many will never know. She shares her husband in ways that are unseen to most. Accept her. Love her. Even if she's not nearly as cool or friendly or efficient or talented - or whatever - as you'd like her to be.

Friends, this multi-ethnic movement is a force to be reckoned with. I believe it will change the world. 

But if it's going to change the world, it's going to do it most effectively with faithful leaders and healthy marriages and cohesive families.

Let's work towards that end -- on our knees.

* According to Focus on the Family
** According to "A Study of PCA Church Planter Spouse Stress and Satisfaction Levels" by Shari Thomas, 2005

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Thank you for sharing this, Carla...I needed this reminder. I just prayed for my pastor's wife--and for you! Bless you for being on the front lines.