The Christ-Like Pastor’s Wife | Broken
I was 19 years old when I went to Bible college, full of dreams.
Despite the fact that I grew up as a very strong-willed child, I had learned to be a rule keeper. I was a good girl.
And, honestly, I sort of knew it.
So, no, it didn’t really surprise me when my instructors thought I was an outstanding student. And it didn’t surprise me when they communicated that to me.
Like the time one of my instructors told my friend, “Kristy just seems like she’d make a great pastor’s wife some day!”
I simply smiled when my friend told me that.
Of course I would. Do you know how HARD I’ve worked to be “good?”
During my freshman year at Bible college, I did snag one of the preacher boys from the senior class. Or, he managed to snag me. 🙂
Three years later, Jeremy accepted his first full time pastorate in west Texas and I stepped into that role that every Bible school girl dreams about… pastor’s wife.
More than a decade has passed since then, and let me tell you- I am not the great little pastor’s wife that I imagined I would be.
Ministry can be difficult. People can be difficult. Finances can be difficult.
I can be difficult.
What I didn’t understand at 19 years old, is that none of the trophies of my life that I clung to really mattered to God.
He wasn’t impressed that I was a third generation preacher’s kid, or that I was a professional people-pleaser and rule-keeper, or that I “looked right” or that I made the grade at Bible college.
As a young ministry wife, I desperately wanted to do it right. I wanted to be a really “good” pastor’s wife.
But I was full of myself. I relied upon myself. I felt confident in my role, but not necessarily for the right reasons.
I wasn’t broken.
And, my oh my, life surely has a way of breaking us.
In His mercy and wisdom, my Heavenly Father has allowed many “breaking points” in my life. And I didn’t like any of them!
I got mad when we struggled with health issues. I got mad when we struggled with finances. I got mad when people criticized, or didn’t seem to appreciate all the hard work we were doing at church.
The fighter in me fought back, until one day- I broke.
I broke physically, emotionally, and nearly mentally and spiritually. I hit a low, low point in my life at 29 years old. I’ve shared about that valley of depression here at the blog; I honestly wondered if I would ever get out of it.
At the time, all I could feel were the hard edges of broken expectations, broken feelings, a broken mind and heart.
Broken, broken, broken.
I wasn’t comfortable with feeling like I wasn’t in control. Like I wasn’t strong. Like I wasn’t good enough to handle life and make it happen the way I wanted it to.
God must have wept when He looked down at that dark time in my life and gently, mercifully guided me through it. He knew it was very, very necessary. But very painful.
I had to see my brokenness so I could begin to heal. So I could learn to be full of Him, instead of full of me.
Over the years, this Scripture has literally become alive to me-
But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.'”
I came to a point in my life where I realized I had a choice: I could continue to cling to my own goodness, my own pride and sense of entitlement.
Or I could let it go and receive God’s infinite measures of grace, mercy, and strength.
As I sit here writing these words, it feels like an obvious choice. Why would anyone choose pride over humility? Choose being resisted by God instead of receiving His grace?
Because the road to grace is the path of Brokenness.
And most of us run as long and far and hard as we can to get away from it.
Brokenness isn’t pretty. It confronts us. Scares us.
But brokenness is the starting place of healing. Until we are broken, we can never be truly whole.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
The unspoken but understood message of this Scripture reiterates the truths of James chapter 4:
God, you value humility and do not despise my inner brokenness. But you despise and even resist a prideful, self reliant heart!
I want to to speak hope into the lives of my fellow ministry wives.
I know many of you may relate to what I am sharing here today. Maybe you grew up in a preacher’s home and felt like you were the good kid who deserved the merits of God.
For you and me, brokenness is a surprise. At first it feels like a wound and an ugly scar, not a mark of healing.
But it is a mark of healing. Embrace it.
If you find yourself in that unexpected place of brokenness, realize that God is graciously purging the poisons of pride and self reliance out of your life so that you can experience the pureness and beauty of His wholeness.
He will allow your pretty little trophies to shatter. Let Him gently pick up the pieces and began to rebuild you into the image of His broken-but-perfect Son, Jesus Christ.
I know that others reading this relate very deeply to the subject of brokenness.
Maybe you grew up in a broken home. Maybe you have tasted many of the bitter fruits of a broken life.
Maybe you are the woman who surprised everyone by marrying a preacher. Maybe absolutely no one would ever say about you, “She’d make a great pastor’s wife some day.”
Maybe so much of your life feels like a wound and an ugly scar.
Embrace your brokenness.
It is your place of healing. Allow the gentle hands of your loving Heavenly Father to begin the process of healing. He will turn the wounds into wholeness.
Because, my friends, we are all broken. Some of us realize it before others, but we all bear the brokenness of humanity.
That’s why Jesus had to come: to heal us.
In those scars, we carry the beautiful message of this Gospel that we so dearly love: and that is the message of hope and wholeness.
The world longs to hear it, to see it lived out, to experience it.
But first, we must hear and experience and live it ourselves.
You are broken, my friend.
The question is, are you whole?
Cultivating Christ-like Brokenness:
A few questions to ponder today:
- Do I consider myself a “broken” woman? Why or why not?
- Is pride ever an issue in my life? What am I most proud of about myself?
- Do I tend to hide my struggles and imperfections from others? Why?
- Which would be more true about me: I feel very capable and confident in the role of a preacher’s wife. Or, I feel very unfit and maybe even insecure in the role of a preacher’s wife.
- Think about how you answered that last question. How much is your sense of “worthiness” or “unworthiness” based on the goodness of Christ? How much is based upon your own sense of goodness?
- How would recognizing my place in Christ bring both a sense of brokenness and wholeness into my life?
- Are there difficulties in my life, either in the past or presently, that I despise and wish I could change? How can these broken places bring healing and wholeness to my life?
Dear Heavenly Father,
I realize that without You, I am broken in so many ways. Forgive me for all the times I have relied upon my own goodness instead of looking to You for wholeness.
I desperately need You to begin the work of healing in my life. Cleanse me of pride and self reliance. Please set me free from feelings and beliefs that hinder me and hold me back.
I long to be whole in Christ, and I acknowledge that You have already provided everything I need to be perfectly complete in Him.
I embrace your healing and wholeness, in the name of Jesus Christ. Let your work begin in me today!
Thank you for joining me as we journey through these characteristics of a Christ-like pastor’s wife in 2016.
I would be honored if you would share these posts with your fellow pastor’s wife friends, or subscribe to my weekly blog digest if you’d prefer to catch this series by email.
Please connect with me over at our private Facebook group, just for ministry wives.
Kristy Howard is a pastor’s wife, second-generation homeschooling mom of five, and a passionate believer in friendship, coffee, and quiet time! Kristy writes about motherhood, ministry and life at KristysCottage.com.