My Life As A Pastor’s Wife

My name is Regina. My husband is the pastor of a predominately African-American congregation. For the past 19 years, I have had some great experiences as the wife of a pastor. Yes, I have my own identity and I know who I am; however, there are some things I would like to share with the world about being the wife of a pastor.   The picture that I am sharing is a snapshot from where I was sitting in the choir stand on a lovely Sunday morning. It was so beautiful, looking out into the congregation, seeing the faces of people that I love so dearly. This is not a perfect church, but it is a loving church. We have our issues like any church and sometimes it’s a challenging experience. After all, it’s not OUR church anyway. Yet, this is a place where I find peace and comfort. Everyone has struggles and just because you are in a church, part of a congregation, a Christian, that does not mean that you are not going to have issues, challenges, troubles, struggles, problems. Something I want to share deals with the word “Struggle.” Some time ago I heard several people say that they had some struggles. I was concerned because it seemed like so many people were struggling at the same time, and I did not feel like I could help them. I am aware that it is not my job to try to fix people’s problems, but I so wanted to offer assistance in some way. I understand that sometimes we feel like there is no way out when you are struggling. Why did I bring that up? Well, I read an article about a pastor who committed suicide a few days ago. Yes, a pastor committed suicide. Now, before you begin to be judgmental and super spiritual, think of some experiences you have had. His suicide touched me because of my husband’s role in the church. This pastor was dealing with anxiety and depression. I think sometimes people put a lot of pressure of church leaders. Pastors, preachers, ministers, missionaries, evangelists, have problems too. Sometimes it may be hard for them to find someone to talk to. Leaders may feel that it’s wrong for them to show any type of struggle, or they may feel that it shows and give others a sense that they, as leaders, are weak. But, hey, they are human. Leaders may not share their feelings because it may be difficult for them to find someone who would not judge them. But, remember, everyone needs someone! Pastoring is not an easy job as some people may think; however, it is rewarding. I watch my husband week after week, Sunday after Sunday, and depending on the circumstances, day after day, ministering, preaching, praying, studying, counseling, consoling, visiting and teaching. I know sometimes things bother him and he cannot talk about what’s going on because of confidentiality. Life is hard! Sometimes we run into situations that make us feel like our backs are against the wall. We do not have to be discouraged all the time. We do not have to be sad, depressed, frustrated, disappointed or exhausted all the time. There are things we can do to help us to feel better. Now, I want you to know that it may take some time before you begin to feel better. It may not be an immediate fix, so be patient! The Sunday that I captured the photograph, I began to pray for the people in the congregation. I felt like God was leading me to intercede on their behalf in a deeper way than I normally pray. I did not know what their issues or struggles were, but I began to pray. I also started wondering if any of the people in the congregation had feelings of hopelessness. Have you ever felt hopeless? Have you ever felt so stressed out that you couldn’t pray? Have you felt like there was a weight on your back? Well, bless you, if you haven’t had those feelings. Some years ago, I felt like there was a weight, almost like a physical weight on my back. And, yes, I know how to pray. I read my Bible, but there were some issues that I did not know how to deal with.  I eventually had to seek professional help. I began to talk to a mental health counselor. I am grateful for my time with my therapist. My therapist offered me some strategies I could use when I was not in her presence. In addition, she worked with me through some feelings I had not dealt with and helped me see areas in which I had moved forward. Why is this important? Seeing a therapist, a counselor, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, is good for your health, your mental health, and yes, even your physical health. So many of you may be dealing with life and you may be so unsure about what your next step will be. You may be in a place of despair. You might feel like you are not going to make it through. I want to encourage you to seek professional help. Consult with your family physician or primary care physician, your friends and family members, colleagues for recommendations. Do not be afraid or ashamed! I repeat: Do not be afraid or ashamed! For too long, we have allowed ourselves to suffer in silence, or what we THINK is silence. Sometimes people can tell when you are going through a tough situation, but there is help! There is hope! As I have stated, I pray, and I read my Bible. I have a great support system; however, I also have a mental health therapist who has helped me through some rough times. My life as a pastor’s wife is a rewarding life. My life as a pastor’s wife is a life blessed with people who care about me. My life as a pastor’s wife is filled with young people who are respectful because of the examples they have in the church and in their homes. My life as a pastor’s wife is a life where inspiring words from God and music surround the atmosphere each week. I also have to say that my life as a pastor’s wife has had its challenges and struggles, but I am so blessed because of the people who offer encouragement and support.