I’m sitting in my typical afternoon spot: on the floor in my little boys’ bedroom, lap top in front of me, and one eye on the bunk bed making sure two blond-headed cowboys take a nap today.  🙂

Another Sunday is just around the corner, and since I’m talking about days of grace for pastor’s wives this month, I thought I’d give you a little grace for Sunday.  (If you’re like me, then you really need it!)

I’ll go ahead and state the obvious:

Sundays are not a day of rest for the pastor’s family.

The end.

When You Don't Always Feel Like a Saint on Sunday | 31 Days of Grace for the Pastor's Wife @ Little Natural Cottage

Should they be?  Probably.

Did God intend for them to be?  Obviously, since a weekly “day of rest” was His idea.

But our culture is what it is, and Sundays are anything but restful for the preachers’ family (and anyone else involved in church leadership).

I believe there are ways to redeem a measure of “rest” on Sundays, but that’s not what this post is about.

Today I’m talking about giving yourself grace to embrace Sundays for what they really are- a day that generally feels about three days long.

I remember the first time the horrible thought entered my mind:

I don’t like Sundays.

Not surprisingly, I vocalized my inner most thoughts to my husband, who was trying to fall asleep in bed beside me on a Saturday night.

His eyes popped open and he stared at me in surprise.

“That’s a terrible thing to say,” he said matter-of-factly.

“Well, it’s true,” I maintained.

“Sunday is the Lord’s Day.”

I’m sure I had an answer for that, but I don’t remember what it was.  Thankfully.  🙂

I struggled with the I don’t like Sundays feeling for several years as a young pastor’s wife.

I felt guilty for harboring such an awful thought, but the reality was I felt stressed out, overwhelmed, and completely frustrated with trying to juggle the mom hat and the pastor’s wife hat on Sunday.

When You Don't Always Feel Like a Saint on Sunday | 31 Days of Grace for the Pastor's Wife @ Little Natural Cottage

Not too long ago, one of my good mom friends remarked to me,

“I feel anything but spiritual by the time I feed and dress six kids and finally get them all to church on Sundays.”

I totally agreed with her, and then the irony struck me.

Since when are we supposed to “feel spiritual” on Sundays?  Or any day of the week, for that matter?

By “feel spiritual” I simply mean

  • feel worthy of God’s attention and approval because we’ve been “good”
  • feel extra close to God because we haven’t “messed up”
  • feel full of warm, cozy, and holy thoughts without distraction

Kind of like I used to feel when I was a teenager and I’d prayed and read my Bible every day for a week.  I felt “spiritual” because I’d done the right things, said the right words, and didn’t mess up.

I’m pretty sure the Pharisee in the temple felt “spiritual” when he was bragging to God about himself, and looking down on all the sinners around him.  (You can read his story in Luke 18.)

I used to think I had to feel spiritual or else I wasn’t a good Christian. 

That’s why as a young pastor’s wife I told my husband, “I don’t like Sundays.”

What I didn’t like was that I felt less than spiritual on a day when I assumed I was supposed to feel extra spiritual.

(I’m pretty sure God gets fed up with our self righteous ways.)

The truth is, we are flesh-and-blood and we accept the spiritual by faith.

When You Don't Always Feel Like a Saint on Sunday | 31 Days of Grace for the Pastor's Wife @ Little Natural Cottage

How I feel on Sunday, or any day of the week, is not a gauge of my worthiness or my “spirituality.”

I am broken, remember?

That means I rely on the righteousness of God’s perfect nature just as much on the “good” days

  • (when I get up at six in the morning to read my Bible and pray)

as I do on the hectic, crazy Sundays

  • (when I nearly forget to brush my teeth before I burst out the front door with five kids, twenty-six minutes before Sunday School).

Sin and disobedience will destroy our unity with Jesus Christ, but missing shoes and fussy toddlers won’t.

Since when do feelings have anything to do with our relationship with our Heavenly Father?

Since when do feelings have anything to do with how we perceive His ways?

He set aside Sunday as His Day. 

Yes, in our fast-paced culture we have a hard time really “resting” on our day of rest.  But that doesn’t mean our obedience and worship isn’t honoring Him.

And it doesn’t mean we should beat ourselves up for walking in the front door of the church feeling a little weary, wearing toast crumbs on our shoulder, and possibly having forgotten to put a diaper on our baby (true story).

I’m always tired on Sundays.

I’m always busy on Sundays. 

I have to fight the urge to not get irritable and frustrated trying to get my kids to church on time on Sundays.

Sometimes, I sit in the nursery with my toddler and cry because I’m feeling so overwhelmed on Sundays.

I lean hard into the grace and joy of the Lord on Sundays.

I don’t necessarily feel like a saint on Sundays,  but that’s okay.

Sunday is still His day.

When You Don't Always Feel Like a Saint on Sunday | 31 Days of Grace for the Pastor's Wife @ Little Natural Cottage

images in this post are courtesy of rgbstock.com

What are Sundays like for you?

 

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11 thoughts on “When You Don’t Always Feel Like a Saint on Sunday

  1. Jesus asked the self-righteous Pharisees, didn’t they know that the priests “broke” the Sabbath by doing the daily sacrificial work God’s Law required them to do? So God understands that ministers don’t get a day off (the same day, anyway, as others) like normal laboring folks do. Yet unlike today’s ministers functioning under man-made expectations, God made accommodations for priests so that their extra effort one day/week/season was compensated by less effort some other day/week/season. It’s important to study God’s plan for the cycle of work/rest for whatever position of work you are in.

    Posted on February 28, 2015 at 1:08 am
  2. Not liking Sundays was one of the biggest adjustments to becoming a pastor’s wife. The idea of Sunday as a work day was a hard pill to swallow. But, over the course of the past 3 years, I came to accept it as I adjusted my expectations. For us, Mondays are set aside as rest days. Once we adjusted to having our homeschool week from Tuesday through Saturday, Mondays were purely for rest for our whole family. Of course, a funeral or hospital visit may disrupt that rhythm from time to time (like this week!), but for the most part it works pretty well. Our church knows Monday is my husband’s day “off” and they tend to respect that for the most part, which helps too.

    Posted on November 7, 2014 at 4:59 pm
  3. We are pioneering a church in Hewitt/Waco which means that, for now, services are in our home. While the only child we have left at home is our 21-year-old daughter, there are still times I dread Sunday morning. I not only have to get myself ready, I have to make sure my home is clean and company ready, as well. Additionally, I have to find a way to either have a quick lunch planned or have most of the meal prep done and cleaned before service times so my poor husband can eat without waiting for hours after putting in all the work of preaching. After a busy week, there are times I just want to put up a sign saying services are cancelled because the idea of getting up at 6 am to make sure everything is in order for services is exhausting when I’ve been up til after midnight Saturday ministering to someone! The reward of going through with it is always worth the effort, though, particularly when I see how the service blesses others! And it’s nice to know I am not alone in sometimes dreading Sunday morning!

    Posted on October 31, 2014 at 3:16 pm
    1. Diane, what a challenging season of ministry for you! Praying the Lord gives you strength in your service to others. I know what you are doing is making a difference in the lives of those you and your husband serve.

      Posted on October 31, 2014 at 11:14 pm
  4. I adore this. Our pastor’s wife told me years ago that Sunday was not a day of rest for the minister. I always felt so guilty…until then. I still try to slow my pace and cherish moments…but I am still exhausted by Sunday night. Thank you for your honesty. It is refreshing!

    Posted on October 12, 2014 at 8:16 am
  5. My husband is in the ministry but not full time right now so we don’t have all the responsibilities that come with that. But our biggest thing (besides trying to get direction on where God wants us) is having chronic health issues and specifically allergies to chemicals, fragrances, etc which of course means that going to church makes us sick. I mean, how hard is it to look forward to or even keep a good attitude about something that causes you to feel bad for a couple days afterwards?! Of course, with 4 kiddos it can definitely be stressful anyway but add on the reactions and it is just tough. Anyway, even though it’s for a little different reason than the norm I completely related to so much of what you said! It’s so easy to get discouraged and forget that God knows all about our weakness and doesn’t expect more than what we can give. Thanks for sharing your heart on this subject! It was encouraging to read.

    Posted on October 11, 2014 at 3:48 pm
    1. I’m so glad you felt some mutual understanding and found encouragement here, Tyra. We all have our unique burdens to bear, don’t we? I pray you find God’s grace extra sweet and His strength sustaining in your areas of “weakness”, my friend.

      Be blessed… Kristy

      Posted on October 12, 2014 at 5:27 am
  6. Ah, the shoe drama… it happens on SO many Sunday mornings around here!

    Blessings to you as you obey the Lord, support your husband, and serve your church family, sweet lady. I know He sees every effort and every tear… be encourage and blessed, Carrie!

    Thank you so much for reading and commenting here. xoxoxo

    Posted on October 11, 2014 at 9:52 am
  7. I think my love for you just grew by ten-fold! This is all so true and familiar. In fact, I recently just had to tell my husband that I sometimes dread Sundays. They truly are exhausting sometimes, but it’s always worth the effort to try to push through that exhaustion and give The Lord what I can.

    Thank you for articulating what so many of us feel and are often afraid to say!

    Posted on October 10, 2014 at 5:05 pm
    1. Kristen, I sort of feel like a big bad girl for sharing some of this, but it’s just the honest truth!

      It’s amazing to hear from other pastor’s wives who struggle with the same issues and feelings. I think the Lord wants our honest desperation more than our “good girl” front… that’s impossible to keep up, anyway!

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Love and appreciate you! xoxoxo

      Posted on October 12, 2014 at 5:28 am
  8. I’m a pastors wife/missionary wife with 4 kids and I know exactly what you mean! I’ve swallowed the tears many Sundays and walked into Sunday School to teach my kids and the children of my friends. But sometimes the hardest days turn out to be the most rewarding. Thanks for sharing! (My 5 year old went to church in rainboots last week. Never did find her church shoes! Lol)

    Posted on October 9, 2014 at 5:33 pm