CONSIDER A QUESTION that may make you uncomfortable to answer: Do you ever get weary of your spouse’s calling? Their job? Their dreams and visions and aspirations?
I can remember in the midst of the demands of church life—board meetings, church building projects, evangelism efforts, and everything from welcoming newborn babies to conducting premarital counseling, weddings, and funerals—it felt like there was little time for me! It seemed that sometimes my needs got pushed to the side.
I could easily have indulged in self-pity, yet God spoke to me powerfully about ministry and the position that is mine to support and encourage my husband in his calling.
You probably know of George Müller, the man who asked for nothing yet ran huge orphanages, all from prayer and donations. One tiny part of that story leaped off the page as I read about it—a part I had not remembered. Right after George announced to his church that he was going to start an orphanage, Mary, his wife, got angry. She banged pots around in the pantry while George was talking to her. She displayed a bitter attitude. She doubted and was pessimistic and cross.
What if Mary’s heart had not softened? Think of it! No orphanages would have succeeded. George’s dreams and visions would not have flourished without the support of Mary. My heart was stirred. My spouse’s work of faith—of building up churches, spurring on a new vision, organizing events, and working with church leaders—none of it will go as far if I’m home wallowing in my own self-pity and discouragement.
It is not always easy to be a pastor’s spouse. I am human. I grow weary. I get discouraged and lonely. I cry because it’s hard at times. Yet I press on and push through these tough seasons.
I’ve asked God to remove the memories of disappointing moments and replace them with joy. There really isn’t room in ministry for self-pity. It certainly is not profitable to
harbor bitterness and resentment.
I like what Leslie Ludy shares: “When discouragement puts the bait in front of me to become dismally introspective, I have found that it is crucial to say an immediate no to that voice, and immediately shift my focus to serving or helping someone else. It might be as simple as taking a few minutes to get my focus off myself by praying for an unsaved loved one or [lifting] up the specific prayer needs of my husband, children, and extended family. Or I might take some time to write a quick note of appreciation or encouragement to someone in my life. Making the deliberate choice to bless someone else through prayer or encouragement can go a long way in preventing discouragement from turning meinward and gaining a foothold in my soul.”*
If you find yourself giving in to self-pity, maybe it is time to ask God to change your heart, because He is probably getting ready to use your spouse (and you) for a greater
* Leslie Ludy, “Tuning Out the Voice of Discouragement,” Set Apart Girl, https://setapartgirl.com/tuning-out-voice-discouragement/.