Wife, Mother, Pastor



Looking around at all these people, surrounded by wonderful women, family, yet I can’t help but feel alone.  I find myself on social media often, just so I can feel like I’m in a conversation. You’d think I had TONS of people to talk to.  Yes, there are wonderful people that you can talk to about certain things, but not really what is going on deep inside. In ministry, you just can’t.   In ministry you know everyone’s ‘stuff’. Those I’ve wanted to become close to, I can’t, and those who you thought you ‘knew’, you really don’t. And I’ll be honest, I’ve gotten so busy I feel like I don’t have time for friends.

The other night after a prayer meeting, I sat thinking.  Wishing I could share what was on my heart at that moment.  Feelings I had about ready to gush out of my system.  A wonderful lady from our congregation came to talk to me.  She sat down and asked me what was wrong, genuinely concerned and wanting to help.  I said the usual, “Nothing, just thinking,” and quickly changed the subject.  Yeah, I know.  I totally lied through my teeth.  What I should have said was,   “Well, I’m about ready to jump off the Mackinaw Bridge, maybe throat punch a few people, but other than that I’m great!”  It’s not that you can’t be real with people; you just have to have a filter- though, maybe I should stop lying to people and say, “Hangin’ in there.”

It doesn’t matter what area of ministry you are in, you will have times of loneliness. I’ve read quite a few articles lately about pastor’s wives being the loneliest women in the church.  I believe it.  Not having your husband around as often as you’d like, sharing him with the whole church as if it’s his mistress; feelings of resentment as he gets to go out and ‘do ministry’ while you stay home with the kids. However, female leaders in ministry feel the weight of loneliness too, just in different ways.  They feel it when they are surrounded by men, yet not able to show there soft side as to keep up with the boys.  She’s one who doesn’t understand half the jokes in staff meeting because they’re male related. The one who can’t confide personally with the other pastors because there needs to be boundaries kept with the opposite sex.  The one who isn’t able to share with the pastor’s wives for fear they will share with their husbands, whom she works with (and sometimes might be her struggle).  I’m not trying to be whinny, just pointing out what hasn’t been.

We all need a best friend.  A friend we can share more than just ‘surface’ with.  I love my job, and there are so many amazing things about it; but it gets, dare I say, lonely.  I hate hiding so many things inside me, but there is only so much you can share.  My husband is wonderful, and of course my first best friend, but he is still a guy.  He can still get tainted by the junk of ministry.  I don’t share a lot with him for that reason.  I don’t want him getting the wrong impression of those I work with, and those I work alongside.  Maybe I just need to get over that?????

Do you ever feel this way?  I know I’m not alone in this.  Years ago I had the bestest (yes, I just used a third grade term) friend I could have ever asked for.  Not only did we share a love and passion for ministry, we had so many things in common, and agreed on so many subjects.  You know, the subjects that have nothing to do with our salvation, yet people freak out over?  The things you’d wish people would close their mouths over, yet it’s still nice to have someone who thinks the same thoughts you do?  Well three years ago, I lost her.  Not to death, not to offense, but to burn out.  Instead of quitting ministry, her and her family quit our church all together now attend another.  Most BFF relationships fade, this one collapsed.  It felt like, “The Great Divorce”. It was there one minute, and gone just like that. It still hurts when I think about it. I don’t understand, and don’t know if I ever really will.

For a long time after that, I believed the lie that I really don’t need a bestie, God is enough.  That’s what we tell ourselves, right?  We don’t need anything but God.  To some extent that is true, but really, “It is not good for man (or woman) to be alone.”  We look at that verse and apply it to marriage, but really we were meant for relationships, not just marital ones.  Yes, God must come first and be our ultimate best friend, but He created us to have relationships with others.  That includes having a best friend.  Someone we can have deep meaningful conversation over macchiatos.

Men (and maybe some women) often joke about how social we are, as if it were a bad trait, but really it is God’s gift to us.  It’s His way of allowing us relief, a way of lightening our load.  Did you know that when prisoners are put into solitary confinement, women statistically die sooner than men? Why?  It’s because we were made for connection.  Take that away from us and we become dormant. According to neuroscientist, John Cacioppo, the brain processes loneliness in the same area as physical pain. Wow, so it isn’t just me over thinking things.

For years I have been trying to make God my best friend as if I don’t need anyone. As I tried praying and worshiping, I felt nothing.  I know love is not a feeling.  I know we shouldn’t expect feelings, we should just worship because God is God.  He is holy and He is our savior and He is worthy; but worshiping, reading and praying do not refresh me, talking to someone does.  Someone in the flesh who will talk back.


Paul says we are running a race.  In a race you have those who are ahead of you (mentors) those who are behind you (disciples) and those who run alongside you.  I think in ministry we work so hard for the people behind us and focus on pleasing those ahead of us, we forget about having someone beside us. I seriously wish I could tell you some simple prayer and biblical antidote will make all our loneliness go away.  I wish I could tell you that after my revelation, God sent someone along to fill that void.  No. I’m still going through my moments of loneliness. But I can tell you this, I’m praying.  God is our provider, and if we were meant for relationships, then He will bring one my way.  In the meantime, I’m trusting that not only will He bring me someone; He will meet me where I’m at.  I say these things not to whine or complain.  I share these things with you ladies because I know if I have felt this way, then many of you have as well.  It’s just nice to know that someone else feels the same way you do. I challenge you today to keep pressing in to God.  I know it’s hard.  I feel stupid sometimes spilling my guts to the Lord things that you would normally spill over a latte at Starbucks. However, God is teaching us something through all of this.  Those of you who are new to the ministry and are experiencing this, hang in there.  I want to pray for you.  Those of you who are vets in the ministry, will you please comment below?  We’d love to hear how you, as a female minister (or woman in ministry), have navigated through this.


“God, you are so good that you want us to be in relationships with others.  I thank you that you created us this way and it is a gift, not a curse. I ask that you would fill us during our times of loneliness. Bring upon us your presence and peace.  I also ask for those of us who are struggling, needing a good friend to share with- provide that.  Provide us with someone with who we can confide in.  Also, provide us with the time, and help us to make time.  Help us not to isolate ourselves and not to allow us to bury ourselves in work and family. In the meantime, continue to teach us how to be a good friend ourselves. You are our friend first, but thank you for the blessing of sisters.”

Again, if you are a vet in ministry, please comment below.  We want to glean from your wisdom.  If you are new to the ministry and are struggling, please comment.  I’d love to, if possible, bring encouragement.


And the winner of our Joyce Meyer book, The Confident Woman, and the yummy Eurasia coffee is . . .

Sally Smale!  Sally, if you are reading this, email me your church address so I can send you your goodies!

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