Sunday, March 17, 2013

Words of advice from a youth pastors wife!

I knew I wanted to be a youth pastors wife when I was about 15 years old.  I knew God was calling me to do that.  How?  No clue.  I knew I had to marry someone with the same desires.  So I started praying for my husband.  Thankfully, God answered!  
When we took our first full time job in Florida I thought " This is going to be SWEET! Super fun and easy!"  
My husband poured many hours into the youth ministry and the Christian School where we both eventually taught at. (I don't recommend this)
Soon resentment and frustration toward "the church" grew in my heart. Due to MANY things that I don't even want to go into to.  Let's just say that some churches have really lost the idea of what God wants the church to be like. 
BUT I couldn't tell my husband how I was feeling because this is what GOD called him to do right? It wouldn't be right.  My feelings are just "normal"
So I stayed quiet (I also don't recommend this)
Finally, one Sunday I walked out during a service. *Gasp* I had enough.  I was tired.  Worn out and frustrated at "the church" and what they expected from my husband and myself.  We both were tired "spiritually."  And my husband finally realized what was happening in our life.
We needed to step down.
Thankfully we came to realize God had bigger plans for our lives and how youth ministry could be like.
It could be fun, exciting and fresh.  
We could relax, take family vacations without feeling guilty and enjoy life along with ministry.
So here we are 9 years working with teenagers.  

Just Remember:
1. Be aware of Expectations
Expectations are one of the top issues in pastoral families, whether they are real or not.  Pastor’s spouses perceive expectations from their spouse, their churches and from themselves of who they are supposed to be, what they are supposed to do, where they are supposed to live, how they are supposed to dress, where they are supposed to be involved in the church, who their friends should be… you get the picture!  Do not compare your spouse or your marriage to others’, you’re unique – figure out and agree on what is right for your marriage.  Note that expectations will change over time as your family grows and changes.
2. Communicate
I believe 99% of my issues would have been prevented had I talked about my expectations and feelings with my husband.  Talk about the expectations of your spouse’s role in your ministry and expose and deal with any unrealistic expectations on your part, the churches part and your spouse’s part.  Be a safe person for your spouse to talk to so you can deal with any resentful feelings immediately.  They will drive a wedge between you and your ministry if swept under the rug.  
3. Spend time together
Loneliness is also a top issue in pastoral families.  Your job can be very demanding, requiring you to be on call and away when youth are available: evenings, weekends and holidays.  This is neither fair to your spouse, nor healthy for you.  Commit to not take on more than your marriage can handle and let your spouse tell you when you are over committed.  Be creative in figuring out ways to stay connected physically and spiritually.  Keep in mind; part of your ministry is modeling to youth a marriage worth waiting for.
4.  Have safe outlets
Hanging out with friends as a couple can be therapeutic and bring a sense of normalcy.  Other youth pastor’s in the area make great people to connect with.  Unfortunately people in your church often are not safe friends. Help your spouse find someone safe to confide in about the challenges of ministry life.  That's why I wanted to start something like LIFT.  A place where youth pastors wives can express their feelings of ministry.  Good or bad. 

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