I'll take one for the team and say the thing that most ministry wives wouldn't dare say out loud:
I don't want to go back to the old way of doing church.
I don't want to go back to business as usual.
I don't want to be in a place of perpetual burnout.
I don't want to be fearful and have my anxiety on high-alert on Sundays.
I don't want to feel the pressure to perform or worry if I greeted everyone.
I don't want to go home and wonder if I was "visible enough".
I don't want to go home and sleep for three hours because of the pressure I felt that day.
No, I hope those are the things we refuse to return to when our churches open back up.
I want us to walk through those doors with purpose, not questioning the lane or gifts that God has given us.
I don't want us to compare ourselves to other pastor's wives who seem to thrive on the busy schedules.
I want to choose holiness over the hustle and not confuse those things. Enough of the try harder and do more mentality. It's the most unholy hustle of them all. Busyness does not equal holiness. If the price is your health and family, the cost is not anywhere close to holy. It's just unhealthy.
I wrote something months ago after another young pastor took his life and I want to share it here, too. We put ourselves last and call it "Kingdom" work. It's not Kingdom work; it's called neglect. I pray we stop confusing those things and take good care of one another.
I want us to remember everything simplicity has brought us in this season of forced rest.
I want us to remember how to take care of ourselves and not turn back to old habits that need to die... and stay dead.
I was so excited to add a few things to my planner, but I don't want to live life spread ever so thin anymore.
I'm so ready to see all the faces of the church folk, I miss them terribly right now. I can't wait to serve them and love them the best way I know how. There hasn't been a day that I haven't wished I could show up in person and check on them. I want to remain motivated by love and not driven by fear and measuring up.
Sure, I fear the pressure. But, what if we can return fueled by holy purpose? Rested. Ready. A social distancing soul-revival.
If you feel dread, that's okay. It means there are a few things that you think through before the doors open again. Do the next obedient thing because that is what matters most. God is the only one we will answer to and his opinion and purpose for us is good. It's an abundant supply of everything we need and a good head on our shoulders that what we bring to the table is good enough.
We can stretch ourselves and lean on God when the ministry life is demanding. We can also say words like 'no' and 'that doesn't fit in this season of my life right now.'
We will be stretched and asked to take leaps of faith when we've never been the jumping sort. Obedience doesn't factor in our comfort zones at all. What a bully. But, you can do this.
You are more important than a job, your image- or the image someone else carved out for you, and all the calendar events you will feel pressure to attend. You are allowed to take breaks to prevent burnout.
Lovely, you are exactly what your family needs. You are what your church needs even if they don't know it or show you appreciation. Heaven applauds and we celebrate you here in solidarity.
"A wife of noble character, who can find? She is far more precious than rubies. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and she lacks nothing of value." (Proverbs 31:10-11)
She opens her arms to those in need. Because that is who she is, a refuge and freedom fighter.
She has no fear for her household. Because that girl knows how to get things done.
She is precious. So valuable, so uniquely you.
A Ministry Wife Mantra is ENTRY THREE in Sanctuary's blog series, The Sabotage of Fear, featuring the work of ministry wife, author, and guest blogger Jennifer Watson. What have you experienced over the past few months in regards to fear? What's your personal battle plan? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Jennifer Watson and her husband Jonathan have been married and in ministry for 21 years, serving as Lead Pastors in NW Arkansas. She's the mother of two teenage girls, which she says makes life "very full and fun with their different approaches to life".
Something that has shaped Jennifer's ministry philosophy is that "there is nothing below me when it comes to servanthood and nothing too out-of-reach for me when it comes to pursuing the calling on my life. I spent my early years in ministry feeling very under-qualified for my calling without realizing that the things that I thought would only trip me up were actually tied to my most important work in life." Jennifer acknowledges, "My only strategy in ministry is obedience and loving the people around me."
In her free time, Jennifer enjoys napping and binge-watching cheesy Hallmark movies with her daughters, as well as hiking and exploring when the weather permits. "During the wintertime, my favorite thing to do is stay home and look ugly- yoga pants sans the yoga."
Jennifer recently published her first book with Bethany House Publishers. Here's a sneak peak from Freedom!: The Gutsy Pursuit of Breakthrough and the Life Beyond It.
Brokenness has become a buzzword. We wear it like a badge, proudly showing off the shattered pieces of our lives–while still fighting the same desperate battles. But brokenness was never meant to be the destination. Or your identity.
It was meant to be the catalyst for breakthrough.
Inspiring, vulnerable, and powerful, this new book from Jennifer Watson helps you take your eyes off the idol of brokenness and experience the God of breakthrough. She shows how breakthrough is really hope moving forward, even when life hurts. And she gives you practical, uncomplicated ways to:
· stop feeling shame and emptiness
· leave the victim mentality behind
· experience lasting restoration in your story and your soul
· and more
It’s okay to not be okay for a little while. But Jesus has a plan to see your scars become success stories that reflect his glory to the people around you.
To learn more about this amazing new book, visit Jennifer's site or order via your favorite online retailer.