Tracy Walsh often felt terrified as a young mother and pastor’s wife. Not having grown up in the church, she constantly worried about committing a sin that might be a stumbling block for someone.
On a recent episode of the TAB Media podcast Amplify, Walsh – whose husband is currently pastor of Ariton Baptist Church in Alabama – said she initially fled her husband’s call to ministry and her own call to serve alongside him.
“[We started out] very uncertain and very rocky, ”she admitted. “Once I understood that God was calling Dave, I understood that God was calling us both. It took me a long time to say, ‘OK, I take this call with you. I accept all that this means, with you.
Surrender to god
When Walsh began studying the Bible, she learned to trust God and submit to his will for her family.
“It’s super important to be able to focus on what God called you to do, not what you are thinking,” Walsh said. “When I realized that God [was] talk to me through [His] word… that was a turning point for me. I had to learn to trust the word of God. And you know, it sounds easy, but it’s not.
Kathy Litton, Director of Plantation Partner Development for the North American Mission Council, saw some of the demands the ministry may place on church planting couples and their families. Many of them sacrifice closeness to their families and run financial risks while perpetually opening their homes and engaging their communities.
Wives of ministers can feel isolated, Litton noted, and some struggle to find friends within the local church community. Some don’t see the value of supportive relationships.
“Pastor’s wives often tell of their loneliness. Some live it deeply, ”lamented Litton.
“She may have been injured in the past; she may have suffered deep wounds. Maybe she mismanaged a friendship and hurt herself, ”Litton said. “Pastoralist wives tend to think that these types of friendships are just not available for [them]. They are available, but they require intentionality, character, emotional maturity, and grace.
Page Hughes, who serves with her husband, Les, at First Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, near Birmingham, mentioned the pain of leaving friends to follow God’s call.
‘Pray for me’
“I knew God had called us,” Hughes reflected, “and I knew he would be all I needed. I say to these precious people whom I love so much: “Pray for me; pray that I have friends; pray that the boys will have friends.
“[Leaving loved ones] was hard. But when you walk with the Father and know that He’s calling you somewhere, even if it breaks your heart, you know you have to go.
For some wives, the spiritual battle is felt more acutely through motherhood.
As a young mother, Tina * let her own expectations and those of church members influence the way she brought up her children.
“I neglected to tender their hearts to the leadership of the Lord because I didn’t have that balance in my life,” Tina recalls.
To help the wives of pastors, Alabama Women’s Missionary Union provides women with ways to connect and be encouraged through ministries such as Ministers’ Wives Connections Zoom Meetings and Lunches.
“Ministry wives face many expectations,” said Candace McIntosh, executive director of Alabama WMU. “They are faced with balancing family life and ministry, as well as supporting their spouse in ministry as they lead and serve. “
Shawna Hall serves with her husband, Brad, Associate Pastor for Students / Missions at Baptist church on the south side in Andalusia. Balancing marriage and motherhood with ministry can be difficult, she admitted, and keeping the proper biblical order can help: spending time with God, then with husband, family, church, and time. job.
“It’s important to allow your husband to lead your family and ministry, to be there as a helper and to be there to listen,” Hall said.
“You have to remember that attacks are spiritual in nature and should not be taken to heart when people are not.
always nice. “
For more information or help in starting or strengthening a fellowship of pastors’ wives, visit alabamawmu.org/ministerswives.
* Name changed