The Women Who Have Been Known As The Pastors Wife

14 Dec

I originally published this blog post on my old blog 20 months ago now. It’s been by far my most popular post and I’m still amazed that after all of this time I still receive comments on it, both on my blog and via email.  Most are encouraging, as there are many PW’s out there who feel like me, other comments have not been so positive. I’m thinking that I may update it in time, but for now, I just wanted to re-publish it again. Food for thought maybe?

I was hesitant about writing this post, as I know that a few have followed suit of Bill Kinnon. This post has really been on my mind though. I’m writing it in celebration of a group of posts which have come under The People Formerly Known As … banner. These are thoughts compiled by Bill Kinnon, Grace, Jamie Arpin-Ricci, John Frye, and a few others. I don’t know what anyone will make of this, or indeed if anyone will read it; but these thoughts I share from the heart, from my own experiences as the Pastors Wife, and of pastors wives I know. If anything, this post is for me, so I can get this off my chest. It’s also for those women out there who have been known as the pastors wife.

We are the women who have been known as the pastors wife. There are thousands of us all over the world. This was not a role we sought to have in life, we simply fell in love with a man who was called into ministry. Initially we were excited with our new “role”, and, along with our husband, we could see all of the potential there was in the Kingdom of God. We wanted to serve God well; we wanted to sow into the Kingdom; we wanted to live the adventure; we wanted to make God proud. Faithfully we went where God led us.

Silently, over the years, we were molded into our role through the expectations of the congregation. We were expected to serve willingly throughout the church, and be an added extra for free. What a bargain you got, in no other job can a man take his wife to work for free. We worked tiresomely teaching in sunday school classes, helping out in creche, serving tea and coffee, flower arranging, preparing bible studies, banner making, cake baking and helping out with countless other church programs, never to gain any thanks or recognition.

We were expected to look and act in a certain manner, and always had to put on a smile. None of you were really concerned if we were struggling, had questions about church or life in general. You told us countless times, through your actions and words, that we were not there to receive, but to serve. After all we were seen as a Godly lady, and you expected no less. We felt your rebuke.

We were expected to be a hostess, and have an immaculate home, just in case a parishoner should drop by. You didn’t care how late into the night or on what day of the week you telephoned or called by. It was almost as if we were not allowed to have any private time. We soon learnt, and got caller display, so that you could leave countless messages on the answer machine instead. Aren’t you lucky, that unlike most jobs, the pastor is not paid for unsocial hours.

We were expected to be the perfect mothers and never to raise our voice. We were not perceived to have any parenting struggles, and were expected to mentor parents around us. Really though, we were working it all out alone, and thinking that we were making a mess of it. We hoped the latest christian parenting handbook would give us some advice, which we could then pass on to you. Our children were expected to be seen and not heard, always following the ways of the Lord. When our children fell away, many of you just tut-tutted, and raised your eye brows.

We watched helplessly as our husbands confidence was destroyed, as you tore away at him week after week with your endless complaints about the sermon, the music and the length of the service. We watched you draw him further and further into the ground, until he reached depressive levels. What had started as a joy to be in ministry, was now turning into a misery. The demands on our husbands grew, which caused friction at home, as we wanted to try and have some quality family time together. For years we have supported and encouraged our husbands. We have cried so many tears – more tears than you will ever realize.

For years we’ve struggled on a pastors wage, trying to make ends meet. We watched as you all went on your luxury holidays, whilst you leant us your caravan by the sea for free. We know that your heart was in the right place, but it didn’t mean that we didn’t wish we were at some luxury resort instead.

We are humbled, and very grateful, to know that many of you have prayed for us over the years. Know too, that we have prayed for you. You shared your confidences in us, we were not able to share ours with you, having been burned by people too many times in the past.

Gradually we started to withdraw from church life. We realised that relationship wasn’t what you really wanted. We yearned for close Christian friends to share our hearts and dreams with. We wanted to be known for who we were, not as the pastors wife. We have a unique identity. Our conversations with you were impersonal, quite often just to ask us to give a quick message to our husbands.

Along with our husbands we saw so much potential in the church. Over the years we came to realize that we were being turned into people pleasers, not necessarily God pleasers. Church had become a corporate business, which was gradually becoming corrupted from within. The adventurers in us started to die. We realized over time that the potential in the Kingdom of God is outside of the four walls, in the community. We are still trying to work out exactly how that will look, but we are on a journey again, at the beginning of another adventure with God. Sadly, we have realized, that many of you will not be coming on this journey with us. But we have to shake the dust off our feet.

We are the women who have been known as the pastors wife. We are hurting, and bruised. We desperately need building up again. We don’t really know where we fit into all of this anymore. We really want to serve still, but don’t know what we have left within us. There are many of us around, when you meet one of us, get to know us, show an interest in us, after all, we are people too. We are the women who have been known as the pastors wife.

If you have any thoughts or comments to add feel free to, thanks for reading and sharing my thoughts.

About these ads

104 Responses to “The Women Who Have Been Known As The Pastors Wife”

  1. Jon Hallewell April 18, 2007 at 16:49 #

    I love you babe. Thanks for hanging in there. Without you I don’t know what I’d be currently known as.

  2. nakedpastor April 18, 2007 at 16:50 #

    wow. thanks lyn. honest and powerful. needs to be said. needs to be heard!

  3. Bill Kinnon April 18, 2007 at 18:08 #

    It’s hard to read, Lyn…because it is well said. I’ve linked to it at my blog.

    It IS good to be on this journey with you and your husband. May God bless you and your family with His goodness.

  4. Heidi April 18, 2007 at 18:46 #

    Hoping for better days ahead, for the very idea of “pastor’s wife” to be abolished, and for all women to take their stand in the place that they are, and to unashamedly and unapologetically follow God’s lead and no one elses.

    I hope you can find peaceful recovery from the days when people defined you. You’re obviously not going to stand for it any more. Blessing to you Lyn!!!

  5. lynhallewell April 18, 2007 at 19:38 #

    Babe – thank you, love you too! BTW, you’d still be known as Jonathan Hallewell! ;)

    David – thank you. I hope it doesn’t fall on deaf ears though.

    Bill – thank you for the blog link, I am truly honored. It is good to be on the journey with you too.

    Heidi – We should get the banners ready! I echo your thoughts – thank you.

  6. Heidi April 18, 2007 at 19:57 #

    I am Woman – song by Reddy Helen

    I am woman, hear me roar
    In numbers too big to ignore
    And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
    ’cause I’ve heard it all before
    And I’ve been down there on the floor
    No one’s ever gonna keep me down again

    CHORUS
    Oh yes I am wise
    But it’s wisdom born of pain
    Yes, I’ve paid the price
    But look how much I gained
    If I have to, I can do anything
    I am strong (strong)
    I am invincible (invincible)
    I am woman

    You can bend but never break me
    ’cause it only serves to make me
    More determined to achieve my final goal
    And I come back even stronger
    Not a novice any longer
    ’cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul…
    :-)

  7. JOhn W Frye April 18, 2007 at 20:30 #

    Lyn,
    Thank you for this expressive reflection. I linked it over at JESUS THE RADICAL PASTOR. I appreciate your honesty and gentleness. I hope that many sisters-in-Christ are encouraged by it.

  8. lynhallewell April 18, 2007 at 21:02 #

    Heidi, I love the words to that song – very powerful. I’ll have a look to see if it’s on itunes.

  9. lynhallewell April 18, 2007 at 21:07 #

    John thank you for your kind words and the link. I hope this is an encouragement to others, although I’m aware that some may not take it this way.

  10. karenkool April 18, 2007 at 21:54 #

    Wow! I came over (I think) from nakedpastor’s blog to read your post. The title totally intrigued me because I fell into the catefory of “being known as the pastor’s wife” for many, many years. Thank you for putting it out there and speaking on behalf of many. It was so well written.

    I thank God that my husband and I have found new ways to minister and love our community outside of the walls of a church–in a way that is void of titles and the driveness to perform. No more striving to please the unrealistic expectations of a group of people. Phew!

    I had a bit of an identity crisis for a season, and after a lengthy sabatical, I began to find a whole new freedom in life. Now I am pleased to live outside of the fishbowl. Hooray hooray!

    So, thank you for the words!

  11. PW April 19, 2007 at 01:03 #

    Very honest description of being a “pastor’s wife”. You could substitute “CEO’s wife”, “President’s wife”, “Senator’s wife”, “attorney’s wife” or any of the many “leaders” in our society. The main difference is the wage earned by the husband. I don’t know what to think, but it seems to be a comment on the institutional church . . . maybe it is time to take a closer look at the structure and organization of the institutional church Maybe ministry shouldn’t be a career or job but a calling — something each Christian does in response to the gentle nudging of Jesus without the pressure to perform.

  12. dennislaing April 19, 2007 at 04:18 #

    Amazing job, thanks for your willingness to share your experience with all of us! I’ve linked it over on mayberrychurch.com.

  13. Lyn April 19, 2007 at 10:44 #

    Karen – thank you for your words of encouragement. I wasn’t actually sure how other pastors wives would view this – even though I know so many of them out there bearing the scars.

    PW – Thank you, I echo what you have written about calling (and the CEO’s wage would be nice ;) )

    Dennis – thank you for the link to your site, and for your kind words.

  14. Bill Kinnon April 19, 2007 at 13:06 #

    Lyn,
    I’m convinced this entire The People formerly known as…series is being used to help and free people from guilt, shame, pain and a sense of being alone. I’m shocked at how far and wide the meme has traveled. It will be interesting to see who writes the next part.

  15. Wendy April 19, 2007 at 13:50 #

    This is a powerful piece, thank you for writing it! No institution…be it marriage, motherhood or ministry should ever cast a shadow over a woman to hide her true identity or muffle her voice.

    Writing this took courage..but what freedom it brings!

  16. lynhallewell April 19, 2007 at 18:45 #

    Bill – It is very freeing/healing writing. As I was writing yesterday, it all just kind of splurged out – but I think God helped me with that. It would be good to hear from others, my husband thinks there should be a The People Formerly Known As web site!

    Wendy – Thank you – you are so right.

  17. John W Frye April 19, 2007 at 19:42 #

    Lyn,
    I am glad to see that others are being encouraged by your excellent post. God bless!

  18. calana April 20, 2007 at 00:09 #

    I became a pastor’s wife 14 and a half years ago when I said “I do”. The first thing the senior pastor’s wife told me when we got together for lunch was that I shouldn’t feel obligated to do anything I didn’t want to do in the church. This was my husband’s job and I wasn’t the one being hired. I think she was trying to help me but it came across as bitter and selfish.

    That was several years and 3 churches ago. We’ve been a part of 2 “mega” churches where there were so many pastors and pastor’s wives that we all just blended into the scenery. I chose to get involved because this was my husband’s job and I was taken “to work” every weekend anyway.

    I want to say though, some of the most hurtful and difficult times of my life have been because of christians and the way they’ve treated my husband. I’ve held my tongue and I’ve held back the part of me that hasn’t totally surrendered to Christ so many times – oh yeah – I’m human. I don’t do this because it’s the pastorly wife thing to do, but because my husband reminds me from time to time that fairness and justice aren’t God’s only priority – it’s also the relationships between His children and His children’s relationship with Him.
    Although I do feel underappreciated and yes I’ve even threatened our children to behave at church – they are PK’s – I thwart my individuality at times to serve a higher purpose. I don’t always like it and I’m not the submissive, bow in the hair, speed limit driving, always have a bible on hand, bubbly pastor’s wife. But, I do love the Lord and my husband and my church and somewhere in there is a place for Calana – a place to be involved for what God has designed me. (ah yes – I do play piano, requirement #1 for a pastor’s wife).
    I love my new church. It’s an emergent church in Wichita, Ks. Very hip and lots of unchurched before people. Guess what, a young lady called to say she felt horribly guilty all day because she had lied to me that morning. She said she had to confess because she realized she had lied to a pastor’s wife. WHAT!! Who cares who I am – she lied! Even in our small, intimate,everyone knows you church,there is a wrong perception about the holiness of a pastor, his wife and the little saints known as their children. Sorry, my sarcasm is showing a bit brightly right now.
    I do want to be a good pastor’s wife. I’m also aware that God sees me through my heart not my husband’s job or how well I support him. There’s a balance out there for us. I don’t want to be someone I’m not. I do want to honor God although He confuses me and doesn’t answer my prayers my way all the time. Thanks for letting me vent. I thanked my husband for directing me to your site!! I look forward to more discussion on this.

  19. Pete Grassow April 20, 2007 at 04:35 #

    Thank you for sharing so honestly. Peace be with you as you continue your journey with God.
    PG

  20. lynhallewell April 20, 2007 at 09:34 #

    Calana – It is so difficult seeing how our husbands are treated. It’s hard holding your tongue! Your husband sounds like Jonathan. He will often say to me “just leve it, it’s not Christian, God knows etc.” but that has never helped with calming me down! There is a place for us, but it’s not a place like what pastors wives have had before. We are people, we have our own unique gifts, more importantly we are not a freebie. I have often joked with Jonathan that the church see it as buy onw get one free! I love your sarcasm – we’ll talk more!

    Pete – thanks for your kind words.

  21. Heather April 20, 2007 at 10:18 #

    Lyn, thank you. Your honesty astounds me. I cried when I read this post because I know a pastor’s wife who this could describe to the letter.

    I have linked to it in my latest blog entry in the hope that it can spread to more pastors’ wives who need this comfort.

    And I sincerely hope you have people around you who can help to counteract the negatives that get thrown your way.

    May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
    May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.

  22. flyawaynet April 20, 2007 at 14:47 #

    I am a pastors daughter. Fully grown and attending a church that is not my parents. I assumed I knew the burdens you talked about in this post, and so I did my best to be a good parishoner.
    But it was while reading your post that I was stung with conviction. In trying so hard to not be the burden, I failed in being a friend to them. I’ve already e-mailed my friend Layvon, who just happens to be married to Steve,another friend, who just happens to be pastor, to apologize.
    Thank you for your part in Gods effort to make me who He’d have me be, and in drawing me closer to my friend.

  23. lynhallewell April 20, 2007 at 15:39 #

    Heather – Thank you for the link. If this can help other pastors wives then that will be fantastic. Praying for your friend who is a PW, as she finds her way through all of this.

    Flyawaynet – I’m sure your friend understands, in fact I know she will. Thank you for your encouraging words.

  24. Kirsty Lowe April 20, 2007 at 16:30 #

    So pleased to hear someone speaking honestly and openly about it, it is an issue for so many silent women and men whose husbands and wives work in church ministry. For my own part my husband is a Verger in a cathedral church, my daughter and I are often referred to as Peter’s daughter and Peter’s wife, that is until we do something perceived as wrong then suddenly everyone remembers our name. I worry that this will affect my daughter as she grows up and have considered taking her to a different church and yet feel I should be there supporting my husbands ministry in this place and there is no escape from the expectations anyway living on the job. The issues are so complex, the financial one rings true particularly for us at the moment too so thanks for sharing it is such a relief to know there are people out there sharing the same issues sometimes. May God bless you and your family in your ministry and may you always remember your worth in his eyes.

  25. lynhallewell April 20, 2007 at 18:31 #

    Kirsty – I hate being referred to as Jonathan’s wife! 5 years after we’d been at our last church I still had people calling me Jonathan’s wife, and then saying “sorry, I’ve forgotten your name again!” My children have always concerned me in regards to ministry. Some ministry kids turn out right, others go right off the rails – I guess in some ways you can say that about any children. Some I know do say how they wish Dad was around more etc. God bless you too, and thank you for your comment.

  26. PWinMI April 20, 2007 at 20:44 #

    Heidi

    Oh girl, how that song reverberates in my thoughts. I am new to this Pastor’s Wifes role, our first pastorate, but I am 46. There was life before the pastorate and I have recently claimed Helen Reddy’s song to stay strong and not allow those that would choose to change me into who I am not.
    God Bless You

  27. Jon April 20, 2007 at 22:08 #

    Thanks for putting your heart on paper. I have passed it on to our young elders to help them watch over our young pastor’s wife and her husband.

  28. former pw April 21, 2007 at 00:08 #

    i’m writing this as a former pw. there was a time when i would probably be right there commiserating with you. my present perspective, however, from having lived on both sides of the clergy – laity divide, is that there is a built in antagonism that exists between pastors and their congregations. what happens with pastors’ spouses (in most cases this will be a wife) is simply a by-product of what is, imo, a very unhealthy, dysfunctional system to begin with.

  29. Jim April 21, 2007 at 00:30 #

    Love this thread, love your post. Here’s what the whole series has triggered in me – http://lordibelievehelpmyunbelief.blogspot.com/2007/04/tribe-formerly-called-quest.html

  30. lynhallewell April 21, 2007 at 08:41 #

    PWinMI – Wishing you the best as you and your husband begin ministry together. Don’t let the system change you!

    Jon – Thank you. I really hope your elders take a mental note, and watch over your pastor and his wife well. It’ll be good if you could give them a copy of John Frye’s post, on the pastor, as well (if you haven’t done so already). The link to his post is at the beginning of this post.

    Former pw – You are indeed correct. It is a very unhealthy, dysfunctional system. This is why a lot of moving out of institutional church now, and creating Christian communities outside.

    Jim – I’ll go over and read your post, thanks.

  31. Che April 21, 2007 at 17:39 #

    As the best friend of a pastor’s wife…..thank you. I have been her sounding board, for all the stuff you have endured. How often I’ve wanted to go find the poeple who have made my friends lives soooo difficult, and have a short, blunt little conversation. If only it could be done like that……
    The expectation thing is why I finally left the four walls of the church. I loved many of the people, but hated all the ‘politics’ that destroyed so many great people. However, I am amazed at how God holds the broken, healing and comforting, and in the end….something beautiful comes out of it. Only God…
    Bless you on your journey. You are courageous.

  32. lynhallewell April 21, 2007 at 17:54 #

    Thank you for your kind words Che. Church – ah – it’s full of politics!! ;)

  33. Paul April 24, 2007 at 11:00 #

    thanks Lyn, awesome moving honesty! I am sorry for your pain but i hope your words bring liberation, hope and encouragement to everyone who reads them – and a challenge to us all to treat each other as humans not handy ministry accessories!

  34. lynhallewell April 24, 2007 at 12:05 #

    thanks Paul :)

  35. Paul April 24, 2007 at 23:54 #

    yw :)

  36. tina April 26, 2007 at 15:48 #

    I’m sorry you’ve been hurt and have had to watch while your husband was hurt. It’s not right and I really don’t believe that this kind of hurt is God’s overarching will. I believe he uses these instances to grow us and waken us, though. I pray that I would remain wakened to the need for change.

  37. lynhallewell April 26, 2007 at 16:24 #

    Thank you for your kind words Tina. Yep, we’ve definitely grown through all of this!!

  38. Kathryn April 27, 2007 at 05:30 #

    I have read your entry and understand it very much, not as a pastors wife but as one who has always been totally involved in the church as my parents were chartered members. I have been along side my mom as she has been along side and done the jobs the pastors wife didn’t, couldn’t or wouldn’t do. Like the pastors kids/family, we were put on pedestals and expected to act, and talk just right. I really appreciated you entry.

  39. lynhallewell April 27, 2007 at 15:14 #

    Katherine, thank you so much for your comment. Hopefully the system will change.

  40. Amie May 1, 2007 at 18:01 #

    Lyn,

    May I post your blog entry on womenbeyond.com? It is so very important to raise awareness about this…

    Amie

  41. lynhallewell May 1, 2007 at 19:10 #

    Sure Amie, that’s absolutely fine – thanks. Love your site, and looking forward to getting to know you more at Emerging Women :)

  42. Amie May 12, 2007 at 18:02 #

    I finally got it posted Lyn. Thank you and I hope that it does your heart justice..

    Amie

  43. lynhallewell May 12, 2007 at 18:21 #

    Wow, that looks great Amie – thanks ((hugs))

  44. Dawn July 18, 2007 at 03:46 #

    Thanks for your article… I befriended the pastor’s wife and realized she was just a normal “down to earth” Girlfriend, that is in love with Jesus… We really connected… We were both lonely and looking for a special “Girlfriend” to chat with… It was Great while it lasted but now we have to back off so we don’t jeopardize the ministry… How can a pator’s wife have a “girlfriend” without hurting others at church?

  45. lynhallewell July 18, 2007 at 14:12 #

    Thanks for your comment Dawn – really sad huh? The pastors wife does actually have the right to a “special” friend, hey, look at Jesus, in amongst his disciples he still had “special” friends who he had a deeper relationaship with.

  46. "EB" July 21, 2007 at 23:12 #

    LYNN H.:
    Very potent and rings true for most pw’s at one time or another.
    For Dawn: My pastor husband and I have come to realize that you can’t really have a close friend within the church you’re at. Friendships with other pastors and their wives, or close friendships with non-members seems to work better in the long run.

  47. LW September 23, 2007 at 01:25 #

    Hello everyone,
    I thought I was looking for one thing and stumbbled across this web site.
    I’m praying that someone out there can answer my concern.
    I am a middle aged woman who is engaged to a well known minister.
    What does a minister look for in a wife and how can I be sure that I have what it takes to be a ministers wife. Does one’s educational level make a difference or should that be a focus at all? If the educational difference matters than to what degree should it matter?
    I have prayed and prayed and have statred down this path but would like feedback.

  48. JL September 28, 2007 at 13:19 #

    I understand your concern it wasn’t that long ago that I was in your place. The truth is your husband wants someone that will love and support him no matter where the ministry takes him. Churches and their members come and go but you are what he wants to be sure of someone that will always be there. I know religious programming has made it seem as though the are perfect PWs out there without a certain look, and demeanor but the truth is your job is 1st to please God and be the woman he has called you to be then to please your husband and family being the wife and mother that they need you be. Church people will have their expectations but that’s not the standard that you have to live up to honestly a lot of them are unpleaseable anyway. Life in the spotlight can be unforgiving but it can be done. God equips the called to fulfill his purpose. I am sure you are going to be a great minister’s wife by being a great wife, Be Blessed.

  49. Tom (aka Volkmar) October 24, 2007 at 00:51 #

    btw….

    That song, I am Woman is sung by Helen Reddy. ;o)

    T

  50. lynhallewell October 24, 2007 at 13:54 #

    …. and here are the lyrics again!

    I Am Woman

    -Artist: Helen Reddy from “Helen Reddy’s Greatest Hits”: EMI ST 11467
    -peak Billboard position # 1 for 1 week in 1972
    -Words and Music by Helen Reddy and Ray Burton

    I am woman, hear me roar
    In numbers too big to ignore
    And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
    ’cause I’ve heard it all before
    And I’ve been down there on the floor
    No one’s ever gonna keep me down again

    CHORUS
    Oh yes I am wise
    But it’s wisdom born of pain
    Yes, I’ve paid the price
    But look how much I gained
    If I have to, I can do anything
    I am strong (strong)
    I am invincible (invincible)
    I am woman

    You can bend but never break me
    ’cause it only serves to make me
    More determined to achieve my final goal
    And I come back even stronger
    Not a novice any longer
    ’cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul

    CHORUS

    I am woman watch me grow
    See me standing toe to toe
    As I spread my lovin’ arms across the land
    But I’m still an embryo
    With a long long way to go
    Until I make my brother understand

    Oh yes I am wise
    But it’s wisdom born of pain
    Yes, I’ve paid the price
    But look how much I gained
    If I have to I can face anything
    I am strong (strong)
    I am invincible (invincible)
    I am woman
    Oh, I am woman
    I am invincible
    I am strong

    FADE
    I am woman
    I am invincible
    I am strong
    I am woman

  51. Rebecca October 31, 2007 at 02:30 #

    Wow! I am a fellow pastors wife. You nailed it. What a great post. It’s good to know there’s other PW’s out there with the same issues.

  52. lynhallewell October 31, 2007 at 12:30 #

    Thanks Rebecca.

  53. Debra November 7, 2007 at 18:13 #

    I stumbled across your site and found some of your words to be true, however sad. I used to think in terms of here I am look at me, however after 10 years of pastoring my husband took his bible and led me to Christ….it’s been 16yrs now and I’ve never once regreted the day that we began serving together…I love being a Christian, I love teaching, I love playing the piano, I love singing in the choir, I love going soul winning, I love the bus kids, I love the Lord….I guess you could say “I love it all” and when I criticized or talked about as we all are for our standards….I thank the Lord, for that’s when I know I’m pleasing Him…

  54. Reba November 15, 2007 at 04:43 #

    Thank you…you have printed my heart… i have been a pastor’s wife for 27 years and I am feed up with good church people…I am drained and i sometimes question God how much longer and how can i continue to smile….but I too have redirected my ministry toward the community and as far as I am concerned the so called church goers…well they can…they know what they can do!

  55. lynhallewell November 15, 2007 at 18:03 #

    Hi Debra,

    It was lovely to read about how the Lord is blessing you. Keep focusing on him.

  56. lynhallewell November 15, 2007 at 18:04 #

    Thanks for sharing Reba. I too share you burn out at the moment. Bless you with your community work.

  57. marilyn December 12, 2007 at 18:23 #

    Thanks so much for your web site just what I needed today.
    I to am a pastors wife our church is small.His family and my family attend and lately there has been no peace in my home.
    I have such a time keeping my mouth shut and feel like if the church split it would be my fault anyway.
    I truly want peace in my home and Christ to be Glorify in his church it’s not mine away.
    Pray for me.

  58. lynhallewell December 16, 2007 at 14:59 #

    Thanks for your comment Marilyn. Praying for you in your situation.

  59. lady_to_the_knight January 2, 2008 at 13:43 #

    I find this song very helpful when it all seems too much…

    Oh great God
    Be small enough
    To hear me now
    There were times when I was crying
    From the dark of Daniel’s den
    I had asked you once or twice
    If you would part the sea again
    Tonight I do not need a
    Fiery pillar in the sky
    Just want to know you’re gonna
    Hold me if I start to cry

    Oh great God
    Be small enough to hear me now
    Oh great God
    Be close enough to feel me now
    (Oh great god be close to me)
    There have been moments when I could not face
    Goliath on my own
    And how could I forget we marched
    Around our share of Jerichos
    But I will not be setting out
    The fleece for you tonight
    Just wanna know if everything will be alright
    Oh great god be close enough to feel me now

    Oh praise and all the honor be
    To the god of ancient mysteries
    Whose every sign and wonder
    Turn the pages of our history
    But tonight my heart is heavy
    And I cannot keep from whispering, whispering
    Are you there?

    And I know you could leave writing
    On the wall that’s just for me
    Or send wisdom while I’m sleeping
    Like in Solomon’s sweet dreams
    I don’t need the strength of Sampson
    Or a chariot in the end
    Just wanna know you still know how many
    Hairs are on my head
    Oh great God (Are you small enough)
    Be small enough to hear
    Me now

  60. lynhallewell January 2, 2008 at 15:05 #

    Thank you, that’s a lovely song, who is it by?

  61. Rainy January 23, 2008 at 21:14 #

    Thank you so much for this – I am engaged to a youth pastor at 20 years old – a baby, I know ;)- and feel pretty overwhelmed with it all. I thought it was a simple deal of love, but so much more comes with being with him! The spotlight, expectations and the inability to “fit in” with peers at church. I’m scared looking ahead, because it seems like our life together will be complicated and difficult. Honestly, I hate the fact that eyes are already on us. I would love prayer for clarity, assurance and for strength from God, and if possible Lyn, some words from you too – I think you have my email.

  62. lynhallewell January 24, 2008 at 22:23 #

    Hi Rainy, I’ve emailed you.

  63. Godsseed January 28, 2008 at 17:17 #

    I sent this post(The Women Who Have Been Known As The Pastors Wife) to some of the church members and it was funny, the feedback from the people was compassionate, yet the pastor was upset because he said it created a “stir” in the ministry and made him look bad.

  64. Graceful January 28, 2008 at 18:52 #

    Lyn;
    I repreinted your blog and got some feedback.. some good some not so good. I wonder if people just don’t want to see or hear what is really happening in ministry families. Like they want to stay in a fog of hope and belief that every thing really is all rosey? Anyway, thank you for your courage and I count myself proud to stand by and with you.

  65. lynhallewell January 30, 2008 at 21:36 #

    Godsseed and Graceful,

    Thanks so much for sharing. There will always be both positive and negative feedback, after all it is a touchy subject! Thank you for your encouragement.

  66. Dollnita February 7, 2008 at 18:47 #

    I am so glad I stumbled on this article! Sometimes as a pastor’s wife, I feel isolated and overwhelmed at times. It is wonderful to know that other women of God have experienced similar feelings and it’s good to be a support to each other. (The Women Who Have Been Known As The Pastor’s Wife) is well written and it speaks to the challenges and experiences of so many of us. Thank you and God bless!!

  67. lynhallewell February 7, 2008 at 22:39 #

    Thank you so much Dollnita. God bless you too.

  68. MJ March 11, 2008 at 17:25 #

    As a young unexperienced pastor’s wife, I feel somewhat heartened that others have voiced what they’re going through, and somewhat discouraged that it doesn’t seem to get much better than this. I’ve moved to a new country with my husband to minister, so I’m far from my support system. I’m a seminary grad, so I suppose that helps me know a bit more of what to expect.

    But, I don’t want to be a “pastor’s wife!” I want to be me! I like to play drums, not piano! Choir music bores me. Children’s ministry scares me; I’d rather be on the streets with the homeless!

    Any tips from other pw’s who have learned how to be themselves and resist the pressure to conform, without becoming bitter against the church and her husband?

  69. lynhallewell March 20, 2008 at 12:08 #

    My only tip after all these years is to simply say be yourself. If you don’t then, likewise, you will end of feeling bitter. We are all beautiful individuals designed by God, not robots who all act, dress and do the same. Gradually churches perceptions are changing. You have to be straight from day one, and don’t feel forced or pressured into joining a particular group or doing something which is far from the heart and call of what God has put within you.

    Bless you on your journey.

  70. Andrea May 19, 2008 at 20:34 #

    Thanks for writting this! I have been an actual “pastor’s wife” for about 2 years now, however, we were volunteer youth leaders for many years prior to my husband getting the position. I feel for what Lyn said and I understand it completely, even after just 2 years! To make things worse for me, I am also the church secretary.

  71. Amie June 27, 2008 at 17:04 #

    Lyn,

    I posted this on womenbeyond.com a while ago – as you know. Recently, I received an email from a woman who felt that she was alone and felt inspired to keep holding on because of what you wrote.

    She is not the only positive feedback that I’ve gotten, you’ve had quite a bit of good responses. She does strike me as someone who would benefit from the support that only women in her circumstance (as Pastor’s wives) could offer her.

    When I respond to her, may I offer her your email address and if so, what is your email address (lol!). If you are open to her contacting you and want to keep your email address private, please send your info to my email: womenbeyondadmn@aol.com

    Your sharing your heart has been a blessing for many.

    Amie

  72. lynhallewell August 31, 2008 at 10:25 #

    Thank you so much.

  73. gloria October 29, 2008 at 17:42 #

    Found your blog through another blog. I, too am a pastor’s wife and also a licensed minister. I just couldn’t conform to the image some people have, many of the things you wrote about. People pleasing is a never ending job and you can never perfect it. I encourage all pastor’s wives I come in contact with to be themselves. Seek to please God, learn to graciously say no, and remember you are first a wife and mother than a pastor’s wife.

  74. lynhallewell October 29, 2008 at 20:32 #

    Hi Gloria, thanks for stopping by. I really agree with what you wrote. Bless you.

  75. traceelee November 2, 2008 at 10:05 #

    Hey lyn and all the other pasters wives out there.
    I have been a ministry wife for 22 yrs. I so get your pain,hurt,and confusion. It is a hard road.A lonely road.

    What we have to remember is it is not the critics or the parishoners or the really annoying people that we have to be nice to that is our opposition, it is satin and his workers. He only wants our demise.
    So keep praying that our lord jesus will be our constant friend through every hard,bitter,angry,blessed moment.Ask Jesus ,the conquerer ,to keep upholding us to the end and give us the strength,courage and love to face the foe for his sake, that many more will come into a relationship with jesus and be saved. bless you all, and thank you lyn, it means alot to know I am not the only one with hidden tears and scars on this lonely road!!

  76. Patty November 23, 2008 at 08:14 #

    Thanks for your message. I was just unable to sleep, thinking about how I almost hate going to church anymore. You really hit the nail on the head with this piece. I wish every member of the the congregation could read this posting. You see, what the congregation fails to realize is that the best way to keep the Pastor is to keep the Pastor’s wife happy. I feel that while people smile and greet me, they mainly never take the time to get to know me personally, or care about our family. Yes, we have made an effort to get to know people, but they mainly care only about the Pastor and what I am doing to serve. The expectations are not the same in any other profession. You can’t really vent to anyone, and have to live on a meager salary We are underappreciated!

  77. lynhallewell November 26, 2008 at 14:06 #

    Hi Traceelee,

    I did reply to your comment but it seems to have got deleted – not sure why. Here goes again! I just wanted to thank you for your encouraging words, and you are right that we should stay focused on Jesus.

    Bless you on your journey :-)

  78. lynhallewell November 26, 2008 at 14:08 #

    Hi Patty,

    Thanks for your comment. I am still amazed by how many people out there still comment on this post some 18 months on. It certainly can be a lonely journey – the venting thing is the biggy – where do you turn?. I pray that things get easier for you.

  79. Jim December 14, 2008 at 22:12 #

    It remains a great post. If my memory is correct, this is where we first “met”, in that I commented on your post and then went wrote my own version (what I should have titled “We are the prodigals” but called “A tribe formerly known as quest” instead). The whole “TPFKA” thread was great to be a part of – many of the people who participated in it I still follow, even as most of the “pros” who started it and that it centered around I no longer do.

    Anyway, excellent post, and it’s nice to see the relationships blogging can form! Maybe we should start a two year anniversary synchroblog along the lines of “The people now known as” (TPNKA) to see if any of us have moved on from where we were. I am not so sure I have – I need to poke at that a bit, since defining oneselves by what one is not is not, well, very positive! :o)

  80. lynhallewell December 15, 2008 at 09:32 #

    I’m not sure if I’ve moved on much either. In some ways I have. I pulled right out of doing anything in church – a nice break for me! I think, as I wrote, that I will look at it in the new year and see if I can make any changes to it i.e. write a new post, but I’m not sure. One thing I do know is that it’s reach many PW’s out there who are hurting and has made them realize that they’re not on their own – so that in itself is good.

  81. Jenni Gover December 15, 2008 at 14:29 #

    Powerful and honest. Although I am not a Pastor’s wife I can totally understand where you are coming from and how true it all is. I have known/know Pastor’s wives and in all honesty I ‘wish’ they didn’t feel the need to be ‘the perfect role model’. I would find it easier to relate and feel comfortable if they were just themselves. It sometimes makes me question myself when I make a mistake or makes me think I can’t be myself when I am around them. It makes me feel less-womanly compared to them. Another thing that is difficult for me to express my thoughts via text and I could go on ..but hopefully you will get what I mean :)

  82. SS May 20, 2009 at 00:20 #

    I have been dating a seminary student for quite a while now and we hit a brick wall right before we were about to get engaged. The brick wall was him being a pastor. He still isn’t sure of his calling (pastor, para church, counselor, etc) and I want to be supportive of that but I don’t want to be a pastor’s wife. I have seen numerous blogs like this one and tried to get ok with the idea but my fears of that lifestyle are constantly confirmed by pastor’s wives. I love this man but we cannot move forward in marriage without him either not being a pastor or without me getting ok with that role. Neither is clear so we are stuck.

  83. Nicholine Nkolongwane May 20, 2009 at 13:31 #

    I have had a vision of me paster,its very inspiring to know such revelations. I pray for Gods will.

  84. Lyn May 21, 2009 at 19:06 #

    Hi SS,

    I’ve been thinking about your comment for the past day and a half now. I think you both really need to pray together about what God’s calling is for you as a couple. When I met my husband he was already a pastor and I *kind of* knew what I was marrying into. I have a love hate relationship with being a PW. There are both ups and downs. My husband is definitely called to be in ministry though and I would never expect him to leave it for me.

    However as you are on the verge of getting engaged to a seminary student then the most important thing you can both do is pray and seek God for your future. If God wants you to be together and He wants your partner to be a pastor then He will make a way for you both. Seek His will together and allow the rest to fall into place. This is not about either of you as individuals but both of you as a couple. If you marry you will have to make decisions together so why not start beforehand?

    I really pray that God makes his will known to you. He will equip you for everything that comes your way, even if you don’t feel like it at the time!

    God bless you.

  85. Flora September 9, 2009 at 19:48 #

    I stumled into this blog and i got glued into it to this end. I am a pastor’s wife in the Eastern Coast of Africa. I am amazed that all pastor’s wives seem to be experiencing the same challenges which I thought were only common to us in this side of the world. My heart has pained over the years regarding the very issues that you have raised in your article. I have also met with many other pastor’s wives in our city with the same pains. We choose to meet regularly and pray and speak positively into one anothers life, crying together and offering support. There has been great change in our lives. We have decided to to look for other pastor’s wives in our region and encourage them to form small emotional support groups and it is bearing much fruit. There are five such groups now.
    Of course the challenges are still there but we decided to change our focus. We set aside times to be alone with our children eg retreats regardless of what is happening in the church. We have realized that our families come first.
    Once I had been crying and asking God where I am supposed to eat from knowing that the bible clearly says, “the labourer is worthy his wage”. I had started being bitter with our church deacons . All that I felt Him say is that ‘ I have called you to my self and not to the particular church, be faithful to me and i will supply your need”. I have tried to do just that though it is not easy. I am thinking that something needs to be done to safeguard this endangered species. May we roar in numbers too big to ignore for the sake of our daughters and granddaughters who will be known as thee pastor’s wife. Those who once were and are not now, please speak for those who can not speak for themselves. Churches might hear you now that you are not. Blessings on all PW

  86. 1stLady Frank November 10, 2009 at 01:23 #

    Your post brought tears to my eyes. It is difficult for those who have never had similar experiences to understand or even minister to those who have been hurt. Yes, they can quote scriptures and give advice but do not know the true essence of the pain and abuse that some ministry wives have endured. Unless and until Pastors ,themselves, assume the responsibility of first listening to their wives , and then setting the tone for how she should be received and respected, the mistreatment will persist. He is her Pastor ,as well. Perhaps this is not always the case, however, the majority of ministry wives in our support group feel as if their husbands allow the members to disrespect them. Thank you for posting. At least you have shared the feelings of many. May God continue blessing all PW’s as we endeavor to serve and pray for those members who need a change of heart mind and direction, even if we are the one who needs to change!

  87. Julie December 10, 2009 at 10:25 #

    Hi Lyn, this is an amazing piece you’ve written here, about the hidden and swept-under-the-rug emotions a pastor’s wife goes through each and every day. It is an honest and very powerful message to everyone and including myself, never to take our pastor’s wife for granted.

    Thank you for this amazing insight. Very recently, someone I have feelings for has gone to study to become a full-time pastor. I never knew what it meant becoming a pastor’s wife and what some go through before stumbling upon this website. It really makes me think and wonder and the reality of what i may endure if the feeling i have with this person is mutual and according to God’s desired will.

    In any case, thanks Lyn for this timely insight.

  88. 1pastorswife December 20, 2009 at 12:33 #

    Thank you Lyn.

    Folks that aren’t PW find it hard to understand and “get it.” It is really hard to be a PW or a PK…. I have to remember that the Lord is my strength, otherwise I would hide under the bed covers.

  89. Marian December 24, 2009 at 05:55 #

    What a fantastic synopsis of the feelings we experience at various points along the way. Thank you for taking time to write them down, as I’ve had a hard time forming them into words. This is perfect. Don’t add or take away just yet.

  90. Karen January 11, 2010 at 00:43 #

    Thanks for the article. I can identify. I have had it with ministry. I don’t think I will ever go in a church again. They have taken everything from me.

  91. lynhallewell January 16, 2010 at 21:15 #

    Thank you all for your kind words. I really appreciate the encouragement.

    My husband came out of ministry six months ago. Not necessarily because he is not going to pastor anymore, but because God called us somewhere where there is no ministry job.

    Right now I am appreciating the space :-)

  92. Tina February 17, 2010 at 21:20 #

    What can I say….you said everything I have been afraid to say to anyone! I have passed this on to other Pastors wives to let them know they are not alone! Thank You….

  93. Sarah February 18, 2010 at 23:35 #

    Wow….you’ve summarized a lot of my journey. Thankfully right now I’m on the “it’s pretty good” side though it is so tiring. I have a little part of me that is envious of your “space” right now with your husband out of the church! :) What WOULD it be like to just “go” to church?

    I’ve put you on my blogroll and have just started a support blog for pastors’ wives. I’m doing it because I NEED them…I need to hear how other people are journeying through this. I’d love for you to link pws to me who have things to share.

    Thanks!

  94. Suzanne March 22, 2010 at 14:42 #

    Thank you for this….it is where I have been and where I am now….tears of validation stream down my face….thank you so so much.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Life Shaped Faith » a husbands response - April 18, 2007

    […] has written a post on being a pastors wife. She has been very open about her own pain, and of others she has networked with through the years. […]

  2. The People Formerly Known as the Pastors Wife | The Mayberry Driven Church - April 19, 2007

    […] Hallewell blogs The People Formerly Known as the Pastors Wife, Part Seven in the series. Lyn expresses the pain experienced by many spouses of folk in ministry. […]

  3. Der Sämann » Blog Archiv » Das Volk, das einst in den Kirchenbänken saß - April 19, 2007

    […] Beyond the 4 Walls: The People Formerly Known as the Pator’s Wife […]

  4. One for the road... - April 24, 2007

    The people known as christians……

    Bill Kinnon started it with his thought provoking meme ‘the people formerly as the congregation’, Jamie Arpin-Ricci has writen my favourite iteration ‘the people becoming known as missional’ and Lyn has written the most poignant version ‘the woman…

  5. Calacirian » The People Known As The Bride of Christ - April 25, 2007

    […] attention. He accomplished that. Several others jumped aboard the train (Grace, Jamie A-R, John, Lyn, Greg, Dan, Heidi, Copernicus, Sola Gratia, Brother Maynard, and Paul) and wrote other pointed […]

  6. We are in Jesus » The People Formerly Known as the Congregation - April 26, 2007

    […] it, and then a whole lot of people caught on and added to the train of thought. There’s even a rant by a pastor’s wife that exemplifies the reasons why we need to stop doing what we’re […]

  7. Beyond the 4 walls » Women Beyond - May 12, 2007

    […] who I know from Emerging Women has put my post on The Women Who Have Been Known As The Pastors Wife on the website she runs called Women Beyond.  It looks great.  You can check it out here. Thanks […]

  8. signposts » Blog Archive » formerly known as… - May 22, 2007

    […] 7. The Women who have been known as “The Pastors Wife” – Lyn Hallewell We are the women who have been known as the pastors wife. There are thousands of us […]

  9. The Pastors Wife Syndrome « neo-baptist - October 29, 2008

    […] The Pastors Wife Syndrome October 29, 2008 Posted by Gordon in Pastor’s Stuff. Tags: Australian Baptist, Baptist blog, Baptist blogger, Baptist Union, Christian blog, church, clergy wives, pastors spouse, Pastors wife, pastors wives trackback I read this gut wrenching account of what it is like to be a pastors wife from a great blog called Beyond The Four Walls.  The comment comes from a post entitled: The Women Who Have Been Known As The Pastors Wife. […]

  10. The Women Who Have Been Known As The Pastors Wife : Lyn’s Blog - December 14, 2008

    […] Dec 14, 2008 – This post has now been republished at my new blog […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: