I had recently moved across the city to a culture which was different to my upbringing and into a role that I felt completely inadequate for. I was to be an Associate Pastor’s wife at the age of twenty and felt very alone as I navigated the new position. A place at the time where there were many people but isolation surrounded my heart. The stereotype Pastor’s wife was to be a quiet homemaker with children in tow and fancy desserts brought to church functions. I was an extrovert, learning new rules, failing dismally, cooking one recipe repetitively and not meeting expectations. I wore the wrong clothes, spoke without grace and fell hard many times.
I was the brunt of harsh comments, some said without intentionally harming yet hearing them cut my heart deeply. I picked myself up embarrassed and ashamed but kept marching..I was doing my best. I yearned for an older woman to come alongside and guide me. I was relatively new to the faith and wasn’t apart of the church growing up so learnt on the job.
I started to feel my spirit buck under the pressure of living in a fish bowl.
When you are in leadership then there is a perception that your name can be spoken about without barriers or limitations. A forgetting that we are real people with real feelings. Why is their permission to speak in such a way?
I was finished with ministry and our journey had only begun. My heart slowly turned to stone towards the church. Not God but people as I felt wounded and burnt.
Looking back I see my greatest need was love- Most people were wonderful trying to build a friendship with me but ministry carries many secrets that others can’t know. I pinned for a safe place to rest when the world became overwhelming. I was a young woman exploring answers to new questions and in need of wisdom. Love came in the shape of sisters eventually but damage had been done to my marriage.
I wanted to escape. I didn’t sign up for the life that was unfolding before my eyes. I sabotaged it with selfish actions infuriating a relationship that was already fragile. Wasn’t it easier to pack bags and leave abandoning ‘forever promises’ made at the altar?
I tried running but a friend who I nickname Yah Yah fought on my behalf. She stood lifting my weary body up and restored lies with truth. She saw my shortcomings but chose to speak goodness into my soul. She cheered me on in many ways. Took time to read scripture over me as I closed my eyes and listened. One night when it was all too much I knocked on her door and fell messily into her arms of grace. It was the first time I was literally brought to my knees in prayer. She taught me, saw my heart and decided not to be offended when I acted poorly. She instilled confidence and told me to fight for my husband and my marriage-Thank you Samantha Norvaisa
The Pastor I call Husband and I entered into a season of counselling. (when you’re in need reach out for help). The grime and dirt within our relationship discussed and spoken about with intensity. The lesson being…You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge. We both played a role for destruction but our hearts were to fight with power and courage to overcome. We made vows “to death do us part” and we were ready for the battle.
The journey of healing needed to expose the hurt to its very core. If we had kept it locked up then it would’ve sat in darkness festering. I knew Christ offered freedom and wanted to work hard to achieve it.
The Pastor I call Husband and I walked a dark valley yet we look back and praise God. If we had continued to build our marriage on our rocky foundation then we would not be in the place of deep love that encompasses our relationship today. Our love is the fragrance of a Summer’s night but we had to endure the Winter. It refined, challenged and rebuilt us. I’m pleased to say that He is my world and I utter praise for Him constantly.
We all fall short of perfection but God gently picks us up and restores.I know friend, I’ve experienced it.
The enemy will do his very best to kill, steal and destroy you but stand firm and place your armour on daily. Find troops who cheer you on from the sideline. They hold you up when your frail soul is too weary to stand.
A friend emailed me today asking me How you know when you’re forgiven? I wrote “it is uncomplicated and does not require a formula” but rather a servant girl in full repentance for the sin that she has acted in. I believe the challenge is then to consciously make decision not to re-engage in the same behaviour again. To turn on it completely and walk from darkness into light. Sin had brought my marriage to a stand still, forgiveness sought and accepted. The result is now a man and a woman selflessly loving one another with Christ as their anchor point and a Pastor’s wife still in need of grace.