There is something new and exciting happening this year for pastors’ wives and former pastors’ wives who have been through a difficult time, or need a pause to rest.
We are having a ministry retreat in South Carolina near Charleston. It will be OCTOBER 12-15, 2023. We would love for you to be part! You will be responsible for your travel expenses and a $25 non-refundable holding fee. You’ll also need a little spending money for a couple of meals out. Everything else is covered. The stay and food at the facility are free.
We will focus on rest, connection and healing.
The retreat will be on a 66-acre retreat center just 30 minutes from the airport and 30 minutes from downtown Charleston. The retreat center property includes a 14-acre freshwater bass lake, a dock on deep water that is just minutes from the inter-coastal waterway and the Atlantic Ocean, two miles of peaceful trails, a gun range, hot tub, and ﬁre pits.
The retreat may include salt and fresh water fishing, disc golf, nature trails, access to an in-house fitness center (with coaching), corn hole, crazy ping pong, great conversations and lots of relaxation. At night, attendees and staff will share a great meal together and even greater discussions. At the end of the four days, participants will walk away with new friendships, resources, and ongoing support for those who would like to be involved in deeper soul care.
Please email me (Jan) at email@example.com ASAP if you are interested in participating. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have. Hope to hear from you soon!
(Sponsors and leaders are from Tour of Life, Silently Bleeding and Church Creek Ministry team.)
What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? Matthew 18:12 ESV
Nicole West, a pastor’s wife, didn’t grow up in a Christian environment. In fact, she became a drug addict and dealer. Through a series of circumstances, Nicole went to jail. This was the best thing that could’ve happened to Nicole. It was in this jail, she met Jesus.
Nicole was the only female in jail at the time. If there was only one female prisoner, the chaplain wasn’t required to come. However, she came for the one. It was this precious woman of God that introduced Nicole to Christ.
What if this chaplain decided one wasn’t worth coming for? I am so grateful for her faithfulness. It wasn’t about numbers to her, it was about reaching the one.
Do you struggle with feeling like you aren’t accomplishing much for Christ? I know I have. Perhaps your church is small or maybe it’s large and you feel unseen. When you meet a lady for coffee and listen to her and pray with her, you are reaching the one. When you see that single mom struggling just to make it to church and you treat her to lunch and listen to her story, you’re reaching the one. Only Heaven will reveal the impact you’ve had on others.
Every person is important to Jesus. No matter what their situation is. No matter what they look like or what “side of the tracks” they come from.
Nicole and her husband are powerfully impacting their community for Jesus Christ. It’s because of one lady willing to go for the one. Are you willing to give your time for the one? I promise you my friend, she’s worth it.
I believe this precious lady that reached out to Nicole will receive great recognition in heaven for the lives that have been changed through Nicole’s story.
Hey sweet woman of God! Did you know we have four private Facebook groups? I don’t know which group you may relate to most, but we want you to know you’re not alone. We are here for you. Being a pastor’s wife is an amazing privilege, but can be very difficult at times. Whatever season you find yourself in, please know we care about you.
Silently Bleeding: Hope for the Pastor’s Wife is a safe and drama free group for connecting with other pastors’ wives and is a great place to ask questions like “How do you handle when someone talks negative about your husband?” or “Does how I dress for church really matter?” You’re also welcome to post prayer requests and even silly memes. After all, laughter is good like a medicine! Jan McIntyre is the lead admin for this group. She has been a pastor’s wife for almost 40 years. Jan has a passion for Jesus and encouraging pastors’ wives. Meet Jan here.
Silently Bleeding: Hope for the Broken Hearted is a safe group for pastors’ wives or former pastors’ wives that have been or are being abused or abandoned or have adult children going through abuse or abandonment. Julie Davenport is the lead admin in this group. She understands what it means to walk through abuse and infidelity. Julie also knows what it means to find healing and wholeness through Jesus. You can watch Julie’s story here.
Hope for the Retired Pastor’s Wife is led by Susan Pippin. Retirement doesn’t mean you’re finished in ministry, it’s a different season of ministry. You might find yourself ministering to your neighbors or younger pastors’ wives or you and your spouse might fill in at other churches. This is a great group to connect with other retired pastors’ wives and share ideas, exchange stories, pray for each other and laugh together. Meet Susan here.
Hope for the Pastor’s Widow is a group no pastor’s wife ever plans to be a part of. But if it does happen, there is a safe place to find encouragement, ask questions like “How do I this?” or “What should I do about that?” In this group you can connect with ladies that understand what you’re going through. Our lead admin is Jelly Valimont. She unexpectedly lost her husband a few years ago. You can watch Jelly’s story here.
If you want to join one of our groups, search for us in Groups on Facebook. Please answer our questions and agree to our guidelines and we will look forward to meeting you soon!
Like many others, I’ve asked God to give me a new word to focus on for 2023. This year, He put the word joy in my heart. I was telling a friend and she said, “Oh that’s great!” I immediately said, “Yes it is, but it’s not what you think.”
As I began to seek God about joy, I felt Him saying it’s an acronym for joy that He wants me to focus on: Jesus, Others, Yourself. I believe this is the key to living a joy-filled life.
When I spend time focusing on the shoulda, woulda, coulda’s, the woe is me thoughts, and every other negative thought I can come up with, I am going to be miserable. If I am striving to make myself happy by focusing on what I want instead of focusing on others, I won’t be happy. But when I focus on Jesus and others, that’s when I find true joy and satisfaction.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t take care of yourself. Self-care is very important. You need to take time with Jesus. You need to take time to relax. You need to take time to enjoy your family. (By the way, your family is your greatest ministry.) You need to take care of your health with proper exercise and healthy eating. If you do these things to the best of your ability, you’ll have what it takes to lavish love on others.
Do you have a word for this year? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to leave a comment.
We are honored to have Jelly Valimont, author and speaker, and leader of our private Facebook group: Silently Bleeding: Hope for the Pastor’s Widow, share this guest post with us today.
Being in ministry is difficult, challenging, and at times frustrating. It is even more so when people are involved! Seriously. Someone once told me that people will take everything you allow them to take and will then ask for more. That is why it is important for us to establish personal and ministry boundaries in our lives. When I was a young pastor’s wife, no one ever told me that I needed boundaries, so I established walls. Once I figured out that there was a difference, I was able to establish healthy boundaries that carried me through some very difficult times.
There is a difference between boundaries and walls. First of all, a boundary marks the limit of an area, a dividing line, lets others know how we feel, what we expect, and does it all with respect. Secondly, a wall doesn’t just point out a limit but it also protects and offers privacy. We need both in our lives: boundaries and walls. It’s when people do not respect the boundary then a wall becomes necessary!
Do you remember the old television show called “Home Improvement?” In the show, there was a neighbor, Wilson W. Wilson, who stood on one side of a fence, never showing anything other than his eyes. His voice was muffled and his face was obscured. Too often we face our church people over the top of a fence, never allowing them to see the ‘real’ us because we have put up walls or fences rather than boundaries. To be healthy and to keep this from happening, we should establish clear and concise boundaries early in our relationships, so walls do not become necessary!
How do we do this? 1. Determine what God has called you to do. Sometimes, due to the size of the church or the lack of volunteers, it is necessary to do everything. Or is it? Maybe we need to take a step back and determine if it is really you that God has called to teach the Sunday School class, lead the worship, teach children’s church, and be the church secretary too. Maybe God has called you to one thing rather than everything. I cannot determine what God’s call is on anyone’s life other than my own, but I do know that God said in Matthew 11:30, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” If it is too difficult to pull the proverbial load, maybe it is not God’s load you are pulling, but man’s. Once you have determined what God’s call is for you, believe in yourself and in your call. God does not call you to fail but He calls you to excellence. Do all you can to excel in your call: study, pray, deepen your walk with the Lord, and share what He is doing in your life. 2. There will be people who want to tell you what God wants you to do, simply because of your position or because they don’t want to do it. Be prepared to say, “No.” If that is not accepted, be prepared to say, “NO!” or “NO, NO, NO.” That’s a definite boundary. 3. Once you have said, “no,” don’t be motivated by guilt to change your decision. Don’t give in continuously or you will have established a boundary that can easily be crossed over. One of the things I found after 40 years in ministry is that people often expected me to do something that God has already spoken to them about doing. If I capitulated, it took them off the hook with God. One of the reasons why it is important to know what God has called you to do is so you can release others to do what He has called them to do! 4. If you or your husband are staff members, one of the most important things you can do for your ministry is to be supportive. You may not have a leading role, but the supportive role is just as important. This is especially true for young wives, moms. Remember that everything rises and fall with leadership. We need to also remember that everything we do sends a message. What message are you sending as a young mom? A young wife? If you do not go to church because you are tired, you are also giving other young moms and wives an excuse to stay home. If you do not attend church because your kids need to get in bed early, you are giving others the credence to do the same. While it is necessary that we do what God has called us to do personally, it is also necessary that we show support to our husband and our ministry. Romans 8:11 says, “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.” That simply means that if you are weary, if your kids are weary, God can give you strength! Sometimes, we need the strength of God to put one foot in front of the other. Sometimes, we simply need to push through and sacrifice for the cause of the kingdom! Ouch.
By necessity, I established boundaries in the last church that my husband and I pastored. It was only when I drew a line in the sand and someone crossed it or kicked the sand around, that I built a wall. Remember, a boundary can be moved or adjusted. I did move and adjust some boundaries as it became necessary. However, necessary walls were built and often impenetrable, especially with some people. Allow me to give you some examples of boundaries. This is not a complete list and should not be considered as necessary for every woman. These are what were important to me at the time.
1. NO ONE told me how to raise my children or were free to discipline them. That meant church leadership, church people or family members. That was a definite boundary. If anyone tried to cross over or remove that boundary, they found a woman dressed for war and not very spiritual. My children needed to know that they were protected and were not fair game for anyone who thought they might be misbehaving. In addition, the behavior of my kids was not up for speculation because they were the pastor’s kids. 2. NO WOMAN met with my husband alone, no matter how much counseling she needed. If she needed to tell him about her horrid sex life or unfaithful husband, she did it either in front of me or his secretary. Let me tell you, that cut down on a lot of unnecessary, trashy information being shared with him. 3. No matter what was going on in the office, if I called, my call was given priority and absolutely no one could tell me that my husband was unavailable. 4. NO ONE talked negatively to me about my husband or the sermons he preached unless they wanted to also share it with him. 5. NO ONE was allowed to share negative information or offenses with me about our church staff unless they were also willing to confront the issues with that person. Whenever anyone told me something (gossip), I quickly explained to them that they had 24 hours to address the issue with the staff person or I would. This cut down on a lot of conversations that could destroy the unity in the body of Christ. 6. My husband and I shared our passwords and pass codes with one another. At any time, Randy could ask to see my cell phone or computer and look at my text messages, my calls, my emails, or my internet searches. I could do the same with his cell phone and computer. There were times we would randomly ask for one another’s electronics and search through them. It was not that we didn’t trust one another but we wanted each other to know what was going on in the other’s life and that there were no secrets kept from one another. This boundary was established early in our journey through the electronic world. No secrets, no opportunity for failure. 7. Protecting our marriage and our home was very important to us, so we did not allow movie channels in our home. Too often, movie subscriptions include pornography, and we did not want the possibility of us or our children inadvertently stumbling across it. 8. If there was ever a person of the opposite sex that made us feel uncomfortable or unduly flattered, we shared it with one another. We also made sure the other person knew that we were unavailable for any type of indiscretion. There was one time that a woman in our church told Randy that she was attracted to him. When he responded by telling her would never be attracted to her, she was very offended. In all honesty, she was fishing but in the wrong pond. Randy immediately called me to his office, and I made sure she knew her fishing pole was broken. I then built a wall.
I could list many more boundaries, but I think you can get the gist of what I am saying: Boundaries are necessary for the health of you, your children, your marriage and your church family. When people know where they stand, there is less opportunity for confusion or unrealistic expectations being placed on you. Place a boundary so a wall is not necessary!
What is it about a new year that suggests the idea of change? There’s something in most of us that stirs a desire to do the thing…lose weight, start an exercise plan, read more, pray more, and the list goes on.
Years ago, I stopped making New Year’s resolutions because they just don’t work for me. But I do use this time of year to reevaluate my life. As I’ve been thinking and praying about 2023, I am making a fresh commitment to the Lord and seeking Him for wisdom and direction in every area of my life.
These last couple of years have been rough on all of us. We’ve faced things we never dreamed of. Many of us have suffered the loss of family members, friends, and congregants to Covid19, along with financial difficulties and more. We’ve all been living with trauma. So if you struggle with guilt for feeling like the wind’s been knocked out of you, you’re not alone my friend. Trauma brain is a real thing and I speak from experience.
If you’re suffering with trauma brain, I encourage you to find a good therapist. Ask the Lord to lead you to the right one that is trauma informed. You may feel there is no way you can afford a therapist. If so, check with your insurance to see if they cover therapy. If not, think about where you may be able to cut back in your budget for a little while so that you can get the help you need.
I trust with this new year, you will be able to move forward into all that God has called you to do, with His confidence. Don’t believe the lies the enemy whispers in your ear my friend. You are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus!
I don’t know about you, but I feel like it’s time for a jump start in ministry. I am asking God to help me to see people through His eyes of love, to help me hear what they are really saying, and to be His hands and feet to the lost and hurting.
What are you asking God to do in and through you this year?
What is your life like behind closed doors? Our congregants only see what we want them to see for the most part. Your life may look perfect from the outside looking in, but you know the truth. You don’t have an angel that shows up and cleans your home for you. (But if by some chance you do, could you send her to my house next?) That handsome preacher husband of yours, yep, he gets sweaty, dirty, and stinky, and even gets grouchy at times. Your “angelic” kids get bad attitudes and even say things like, “Why do I have to go to church today? I don’t want to go.” or “Why do I have to be a pastor’s kid? I just wish I was like everybody else.”
What you and I both know is … our families are made up of ordinary people just like the Smiths and the Joneses. Some people seem to think just because we’re the “pastor’s family,” we are the exception to real life. If only that were true! Of course if it was, we wouldn’t really understand what our people are going through and we couldn’t minister to them on a deeper level.
Is it tough being a pastor’s family? Sometimes, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I know God has called me to this and the older I get, the more I realize that I just need to be me and allow my family to be a real family. Besides, our people are looking for authenticity.
I’d love to hear from you. What are your thoughts on this?
Have you ever assumed something about someone later to find out you were wrong? Me too! I’ve read that statistically, most assumptions are wrong. You might assume that a lady in your church didn’t text you back because she doesn’t like you and later find out she never received your text. Something similar happened to me.
A few months ago, I texted my neighbor about two different things and she never texted me back. One day I stopped by to chat and we were talking about the subjects I had texted her about and come to find out she hadn’t received the texts and had even sent me one that I never received.
Assuming things about people and/or situations can take you down into a negative pit. Our enemy, Satan, loves to confuse us and he will use whatever tactics he can. Even something as simple as a text.
When someone walks past you and doesn’t speak to you, don’t assume they are stuck up or don’t like you. They are most likely in their own world trying to figure out what they need to do next.
If someone looks right past you, chances are, they don’t see you. There is no telling what they are going through. Maybe they are just too busy. Maybe they need to work on their people skills. But can I encourage you my friend, don’t take it personally.
Guard your thoughts. They will determine where you go and what you do. When you start feeling down, encourage yourself out loud. I created my own mantra after hearing something similar from Pastor Craig Groeschel many years ago. It begins with, “Because I know God’s Word is true, I am a faith filled, life speaking, God honoring, fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ. I can do whatever I need to do, because the joy of the Lord is my strength. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I choose wisely who I spend my time with, etc.” It really does change my focus and mood. Try writing your own. I think you’ll be glad you did!
When you don’t understand why someone is acting a particular way, instead of assuming you know why, pray for them. Do the hard thing and have an honest conversation with them. But do it lovingly. You could say something like, “You seem to be lost in your own world today. Is everything okay?” Isn’t that so much nicer than “You didn’t even speak to me”?
If we are going to assume, let’s assume the best about others. This is an area I am continually having to work on. What are your thoughts on this subject?
Are you feeling lonely? Feeling like no body understands what you are going through? Girl, I get it. You aren’t alone in this. In fact, many of us pastors’ wives feel this way or have felt this way at some time. I think it’s one of the biggest tactics the devil uses to distract us. So what’s the answer?
Ask God to give you a pastor’s wife that you can become friends with. Pray for that special lady that will love you right where you are. Ask God for an “iron sharpening iron” kind of friend. Maybe a pastor’s wife that has a few years on you that will have great wisdom to share with you. Then, you be that kind of friend to her and to someone else.
We pastors’ wives need to stick together. It’s time we realize we aren’t in competition with one another. We are on the same team. If each of us would be real with other pastors’ wives, I think it would give them permission to be real too.
What are we afraid of? That someone might actually find out we are human? Hello! We are stinky flesh and blood just like our congregants. We need Jesus too.
What if I reach out to a pastor’s wife and she doesn’t want to be my friend? Then she isn’t the right one for you, at least at this time. Keep praying and seeking God for just the right friend. Consider reaching out to pastors’ wives in your community. They don’t have to be of the same denomination as you. Let them know you don’t sell anything, you just want to get to know them.
If you are on Facebook, feel free to look us up and join our private group. It’s a safe place that is drama free. We share funny things, prayer requests, and encouragement. Look for us at Silently Bleeding: Hope for the Pastor’s Wife. We have plenty of room for you!
Want to hear more on this subject? Click here to listen to this video.
Do you have suggestions on how to connect with other pastors’ wives? I’d love to hear from you!
Have you ever prayed desperate prayers and felt as though God wasn’t listening? I know I have. Today I want to share with you a little of Esther’s story. Esther has a Master’s in piano performance. She is a piano professor at Drury University and her husband is a college and young adults pastor.
In 2012, right after getting her Master’s in piano performance, Esther was diagnosed with Lupus. All of a sudden she couldn’t move, let alone play the piano. Esther said she saw God amazingly show up in her life day after day. She knew every morning she needed Jesus in order to be able to even get out of bed. Esther said there is no logical reason her hands can do what they do on the piano except that Jesus does a miracle every time she plays.
Esther knew what is was like to see miracles in her life and she knew how to hear from God… until she didn’t.
Esther and her husband walked the difficult path called infertility. After 15 years of marriage and still no children, she said, “God, I need you to show up again.” She went through surgeries and a lot of poking and prodding. Esther was on fertility meds and they began to mess with her hormones and she became so depressed. Every single month she was disappointed. It became harder to pray because the disappointments kept mounting.
In the midst of this, when they started the process, the doctor told Esther had little to no chance of getting pregnant. After her last surgery, she had a slight chance. The doctor said, “If this doesn’t work, we can keep going and try other things, but I don’t want to keep subjecting you to this forever. So you will need to determine your cutoff point.
They decided to do six rounds of a specific treatment. On round six, Esther prayed all the faith-filled prayers she could. Her body began to show signs of a possible pregnancy. Ladies at her church had shared their miracle baby stories with Esther and told her that God was going to give her a miracle baby too. She had high hopes.
Early one morning, a few days before Mother’s Day, Esther took the pregnancy test, and it was negative. She crawled back in bed and told her husband she wasn’t pregnant and wept and wept. It felt like God didn’t show up. She asked, “God where are you?” Esther said it felt like a sick cosmic joke.
Esther determined to be strong and go to the Mother’s Day event at her church. They had a guest singer and she shared Psalm 84:11 about the Lord not withholding any good thing from those who’s walk is blameless. Can you imagine how confusing that must have been for Esther? She thought, “God you have withheld good from me.”
Esther began to question if she had done something wrong. She was a good Christian girl and had always tried to do everything she knew to please God. And yet, she didn’t get her miracle baby like many told her she would. She determined to be strong and hold on to the scripture that says God won’t withhold good. In this, Esther suppressed a lot of emotion and she didn’t bring her true feelings to God because she wanted to be reverent. In doing this, it became very hard for her to pray and read her Bible. She went months where she would even try to touch her Bible and it was too painful. A good prayer for Esther was, “God, I just can’t today.” There were some Sundays that she couldn’t even go to church. She felt she was failing as a Christian.
After several months of being fed up with feeling the way she did and being fed up with God, she woke up one morning and said, “I want a break through today, I don’t care what needs to happen, I’m getting my breakthrough today!”
Esther began to pray and read her Bible that day. Finally, she gave herself permission to tell God, “God, you disappointed me.” She told Him over and over. She also told him how He had disappointed her husband and all the people that had prayed for her miracle baby. She let God know about all of her fury, her anger, and all the dark thoughts she had been harboring in her heart for all of those months until she had nothing left to say. Then she sat in silence. For the first time in a long time, she began to feel God’s comfort, not His anger. She was afraid God was going to reprimand her. He spoke to her heart to reread 2 Corinthians 1:3-7. These scriptures talk about God being the God of all comfort and how He comforts us so that we may comfort others. That day, Esther not only found comfort from God, but He gave her a plan as to how to move forward.
Does God really disappoint? At times, He does. If you are walking through a dark and desperate time, you are not alone. Tell God exactly how you feel. He already knows, but it will help you to express your thoughts and feelings to Him. His shoulders are big enough to handle whatever it is you tell Him. And He won’t reprimand you. He will comfort you my friend.
If you would like to listen to the video where Esther shares her story, click here.
For more from Esther you can check out her blog site at: estherguy.com