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To all the church worker wives out there, this is a letter that has long been on my heart and I pray it speaks to yours. This is the letter that I wish someone would send me and that I know other church worker wives need to receive.
Dear Church Worker Wife, Who Feels Overwhelmed and Alone,
I see you. I really do see you.
I see you pinching pennies and living on a tight budget that doesn’t seem to have any extra room in it.
I see you trusting God to provide but still wondering how that will happen. Some days it really seems like the faith and logic of a budget collide, doesn’t it?
I see you shopping the sales, using your coupons, watching all the deals and gratefully accepting hand-me-downs, while always trying to find a new way to save your family money.
I see you struggling not to be jealous of those who have more freedom with their money than you do, wondering if and when that day will ever come for your family.
I see you trying so hard to be a good steward of all God has given you. I see you wondering how to pay off student loan debt and make ends meet. Oh, how I see you!
I see you sitting by yourself with the kids in church, trying to teach them how to worship and why we come to church, while your husband is serving.
I see you in church, faithfully every Sunday, yet struggling to hear a word of the sermon with your pew full of little ones.
I see you at home with no adults to talk to, your husband serving many hours a day and night and your fellow church worker wives who understand, so far away.
I see you struggling not to be jealous of the church and school and ministry who claim so much of your husband’s attention. You love this ministry he has been called to but it is still a struggle on the days when you feel like you are fighting for a bit of his attention.
I see you wondering how much longer you have to live with the dirty brown carpet on your kitchen floor and the bright green tile in your bathroom, wondering if there will ever really be money to update your humble home?
I see you wanting to serve but not knowing how to serve right now.
I see you giving thanks for the opportunities and blessings you have been given as a church worker wife.
I see you longing to make friends but not exactly sure how to do that as a church worker wife.
I see you trying to figure out if the expectations you have are real or imaginary. Are they yours or your husbands or the members of the church? Most importantly, I see you trying to figure out if those expectations are God’s.
I see you, dear church worker wife, because I am one. I may not currently be dealing with all of these struggles – but I have at some point.
I grew up a Lutheran Pastor’s kid and served as a Lutheran school teacher before I married a fellow Lutheran school teacher. This is my life and this is my story. I am a church worker wife.
Whether your husband is a pastor, DCE, teacher or serves in another ministry role, please remember this. Your role as a church worker wife is a vitally important, too. No, it’s not always easy and it comes with many challenges but being a church worker wife is a ministry of its own.
You have the opportunity to support your husband as he serves, and you can care along side him. No, you don’t always know the details of some circumstances (and wouldn’t some church members be surprised to realize that?). Known or not, you can listen to your husband, support him, encourage him and love him – on the good ministry days and especially on the not so good ones.
Most importantly, I want to remind you that you are not alone. It can be difficult to be a church worker wife when you feel like there is no one to talk to. That is why I am writing this letter to you. I want you to know that you are not alone!
I don’t have all the answers although I certainly wish I did! I wish we could sit down for a heart to heart chat around the kitchen table as our kids played in the next room.
I wish I could give you a big hug and remind you that God is faithful. Just because we are church workers doesn’t exempt us from doubts and questions. Yet, we know that when we feel overwhelmed and alone, we are not alone. We can cling to God’s promise in Hebrews 13:5-6, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”
You are doing a good job, fellow church worker wife, of mine. Keep living and keep loving. And may God’s grace sustain you even on the most overwhelming of days!
With much love and endless prayers,
A fellow church worker wife, Kristen Marie
PS For those of you who are not church worker wives, will you take this letter as reminder to reach out to those who are? Encourage her. Smile at her. Listen to her. Love her, just as you do with her husband who serves in your church.