Dear Young Pastor’s Wife Who Can’t Do It All,
I see you over there.
Yes, you with the house full of kiddos, the sink full of dishes, the phone that always rings. You, with the hats to wear and the roles to fill.
I’m there, too.
And I’ll never forget that afternoon.
My preschool-age and baby daughters were down for a nap, and I had collapsed my pregnant body onto the white rocking chair in our small master bedroom. My husband was out mowing lawns to make some extra money, and I was at home trying to keep
things myself together.
Like on many of the other quiet afternoons I spent by myself, hot tears ran down my face and frustration twisted my heart.
Lord, I can’t do it all. I just can’t do it all!
The reality of my life played itself over and over in my mind.
Our small, rural church depended heavily on my husband and I for everything from keeping up the church yard to maintenance and music.
We needed a children’s church teacher.
And a (volunteer) weekly janitor.
And someone to landscape the front of the church.
And someone to decorate the sanctuary. Since church finances were tight, that “someone” would also have to be talented enough to create floral arrangements on a shoe string budget.
I already felt overwhelmed with the handful of responsibilities I had at the church, especially since they meant my kids always had to sit with someone else during services. With another baby on the way, I wasn’t sure I could handle any more.
But who would do all those things if I didn’t?
(Have you ever asked yourself that?)
I eventually cried myself to sleep on my bed, and woke some time later to a sharp knock on the front door of our home.
As quickly as I could move in my pregnant state, I padded across the hardwood floors of our house and self consciously smoothed my hair as I reached for the front door.
A lady stood in the shadow of our front porch, peering at me over a large box of books.
I recognized her as an acquaintance from a local church, but was quite surprised to greet her, unannounced, at my home.
“I brought you some books, Sister Kristy,” she began with her usual to-the point fashion. “Do you like to read?”
“Yes, I do,” I began, and she was already moving past me to set the books on the floor just inside my living room door.
“I also came to tell you something,” she went on matter-of-factly. “I was praying this afternoon and felt like I needed to tell you that
you don’t have to do it all. God is big enough to take care of everything. You just keep being faithful.”
Just as quickly as she appeared, she squeezed my hand and left. I offered a hasty “thank you” and heard my girls stirring from their bedroom, just across the tiny living room.
I knew she wasn’t an angel in disguise, but her words were straight from the throne of Heaven itself.
My husband and I pastored that little, rural church for about seven years, and I relied on those words often in the years ahead. Not many of the circumstances changed during my husband’s pastorate there, but I changed a lot. In fact, I look back on those years in our first church as a time of foundation-building in my life as mother and pastor’s wife.
Right now, my husband pastors a church in a large city, and my responsibilities as a pastor’s wife look a lot different than they did in a little church in the country.
However, there are still many, many times when I feel physically, emotionally, and spiritually overwhelmed with the realization that there is simply not enough of “me” to go around.
I can’t meet all the needs, do it all, or be it all.
As a homeschooling mom, I’m learning a lot about managing my responsibilities as a pastor’s wife while still protecting my time and energy for my family. Tomorrow, I want to share a few ideas to help you out.
Today there is grace for you.
You don’t have to do it all, so take a deep breath and let God handle everything you can’t.
But you do have a lot on your plate. I know you do, girl.
Life can feel crazy when you’re a mama and pastor’s wife.
But you’re going to make it. I promise. One day at a time.
And, if you let Him, God is going to take you on a journey far away from your comfort zone. It won’t be easy, but I know it will be worth it. We’ll get there together.
Today we’ll have a cup of tea and just embrace His grace.
What do you have going Tuesday afternoon? I’ll be sharing during an online conference at 1:00, and I’d love to connect with you over at the Homemaking From Scratch Conference. (You can get tickets and details here.) I’ll be sharing from my heart about why I quit trying to be the perfect homeschool mom, and after the conference session we can chat over in the Homemaking From Scratch Facebook group. Hope to see you there!
What about you? Have you ever felt overwhelmed as a young pastor’s wife?
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.