If you’re a pastor’s wife, you know how time consuming ministry can be for your husband. This busyness usually comes in seasons. Right now your husband may be stretched thin responding to hurricane relief, or perhaps he’s heavily engaged in a specific church-wide emphasis that needs attention. Whatever it is, his ministry workload can often result in his unavailability at home.
If it happens regularly, this absence from home can be hard for pastors’ wives. Not only do we wives enjoy having our husbands around, but we also depend upon them to help make family life run more smoothly. If we’re not careful, it’s tempting to become bitter toward the church for those long work hours or evening phone calls.
I’ve found four keys to help me persevere during these busy seasons of ministry.
Adjust my perspective.
I usually do this in two ways. First, I remember these busy seasons are just that: seasons. It’s not typical that my husband spends evenings away from home for months on end. He works hard to prioritize our family before church with his heart and time. I remind myself of the brevity of this season and move forward.
However, some of you are married to workaholics who have a hard time saying no to church work. You find yourself alone doing dinner and bath time with the kids repeatedly, and it is wearing on your soul. The Lord sees you and knows your need. Cry out to Him. It would be easy to give in to a grumbling or complaining spirit, but instead ask Him to guard your heart from that sin. He sympathizes with your legitimate struggle and has the power to intervene in your family’s life. Ask Him to make your husband aware of the situation, and to give him a heart for change.
At some point you many need to have a conversation (or another conversation) with him to share your concerns about his time working. Ask God to give you wisdom and the words to be clearly understood.
Secondly, I adjust my perspective by reminding myself of the type of work my husband is doing. He’s involved in Kingdom work. It matters. What he’s doing away from our family is worthy of sacrifice. Yes, I miss him while he’s busy serving, but what a small sacrifice for the eternal work he’s involved in! Ultimately, I’m reminded it’s not about me. Jesus must increase, and I must decrease.
Engage my heart in the ministry.
Sometimes it’s easy to become detached from what our husbands are working on day in and day out. They know the heartbeat behind each aspect of ministry and see the details of how it’s all going to transpire. But for most wives, we’re on the periphery, unaware of the specifics of what’s coming next in the ministry.
This disconnection from what our husbands are busy doing can make the time they spend away from us more difficult to accept. That’s why as much as I can, I engage my heart in his ministry.
I ask questions about how a certain event fits with the church’s vision. What will success look like? Are there any church members I know well who are involved in this event? When he returns home, I care enough to ask how it went and if the ministry goals were met. Intentionally aligning my heart to the ministry helps me survive how busy my husband is with it.
Pray for my husband.
This is another way to keep my heart connected to the ministry instead of pulling away to my own world apart from my husband. During those busy seasons, there are some events or meetings my husband struggles with because he’s physically tired. The volume of the ministry load is great, yet he’s just a man, made from dust.
I ask the Lord to give him energy and stamina during those full days and evenings. I pray that God would strengthen him as he serves, and that he’s abiding in Christ as he carries out the work of the ministry. I ask God for lasting fruit to be born from his labor, and that I would be a blessing to him when he returns home. Praying for my husband keeps the focus off of me, and helps me persevere during the busy seasons.
Ask God for grace to endure.
It’s easy to want to give in to despair when the kids are particularly hard, and I’ve been doing the single-mom thing from breakfast to bedtime while my husband is busy serving. My flesh wants to complain that I have to do it alone.
I can either give in to that natural desire or turn my eyes to the Lord. Admittedly, sometimes I turn to Lord after my flesh has won, but because He’s a gracious Father, He still hears my cry for help.
It’s in those desperate moments, He comes through for me with strength and grace I don’t possess on my own. He enables me to persevere.
Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
Pastors wives, we can be certain our husbands’ ministries will interrupt some of our own plans, but with God’s grace and provision, we can love and support our men as they fulfill the call of God on their lives.