The Difficulty of Learning to Be a Pastor’s Wife

The Gospel Coalition | 3/1/2018 | Staff
hoppers911 (Posted by) Level 4
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I can’t sew. Outside of pre-made chocolate chip cookies popped in the oven for 11 minutes, I can’t bake. I definitely can’t sing. I actually enjoy a good whiskey. I’m far too passionate about college football.

And yet I’m the wife of a pastor.

Wedding - Husband - Tanner - Kansas - Pastor

Soon after our wedding, my husband, Tanner, and I moved to Kansas. He began serving as a pastor, and I began navigating the role of pastor’s wife. A new marriage combined with a new state, new job, and new church—let’s just say there was a lot of new. And while there’s been much joy in entering this role, there’s also been much fear, anxiety, and grief.

I’ve been far too fearful of failure and rejection, of not living up to expectations—those of my husband, those of church members, even those of the Lord. I think, Am I failing in this new role? Am I disappointing Tanner? Do the members of our church really like me?

Brink - Anxiety - Attack - Sanctuary - Sunday

I’ve often been on the brink of an anxiety attack entering the sanctuary on Sunday mornings. I’ve frequently jetted to the bathroom to avoid genuine interaction with people. I’ve strategized to relieve my discomfort: If I can just avoid eye contact with that elder and his wife or not run into that lady who will probably talk my ear off for the next 30 minutes. . . .

In these moments it feels like I’m insulting my previous life of full-time ministry as a single woman. In my new role, discipleship meetings remain minimal, leadership opportunities sparse, and my influence seems insignificant.

Gospel - Compels - Seasons - Transition - Humility

But the gospel compels us to walk in seasons of transition with humility and hope—humility before God and others, hope in the work of the gospel to sustain and sanctify.

Here are three exhortations God is using to sustain me that might help others weathering transition.

The...
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