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Ministry Musings: There is Blessing in Betrayal


Betrayal….The word makes you shudder and I’m sorry for the memories that just flooded your mind. It’s a painful subject- one of those silent struggles that isn’t talked about a whole lot. The reality of betrayal was one of those “ministry surprises” in my life- something that really never happened to me until I got into ministry.

In college…they did try to warn us there. One professor said “They’re waiting for you with a big stick.” I thought he was kidding. Another professor said over and over {every day?}, “You can’t hurt me. I’ve pastored.”

What on earth does he mean?

Oh. The world. Yes, the world is going to hate me and persecute me and the Christians around me. And…keep this verse in mind “All that will live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” It would come from the world.

Perhaps they were trying to shelter us. Break us in gently. Make sure we didn’t turn back before we started. In my college fog 15ish years ago, I never dreamed what those professors really meant.

The church. My church. Your church. Betrayal comes from within. In fact, it’s not really betrayal unless it happens between friends.

If you’ve been a pastor’s wife or a ministry wife for a significant amount of time, you’ve experienced it. If you haven’t experienced it yet, you will. Perhaps you haven’t been in full time ministry, and you’ve still experienced it. From a church member? From a pastor? From a person who called herself friend?

Something changed. You don’t even know what happened. You’ve wracked your brain to figure out what went wrong and why. You’ll probably never know {and that’s okay.}

Nothing quite compares to the sick feeling that comes when you realize what has happened. You shared your heart in confidence, and it wasn’t kept. You leaned on someone, and they let you fall. Didn’t handle your heart like you thought they would. The mutual trust and grace-giving that you thought was between you….it was only an illusion. Misunderstandings grew and suddenly you were defending yourself from someone who claimed to love.

We are at a crossroads when we as women find ourselves in this place. Christ was there. Yet without sin, He faced betrayal. Can you transfer that pain you’ve had in your heart {or have right now} over to His heart…feel Him feeling that pain. See the grief of disappointment in His eyes as Judas rises from the table. Disbelief even, though He knew it was coming. That sick feeling that makes you feel ripped apart and cut open, exposed? Him, too. Him first.

He knows. He feels it with you. He offers hope in betrayal. It’s at the cross, where He suffered so you could be drawn close through the “fellowship of His sufferings.”

There is hope. There is blessing in betrayal. There is a closeness with Jesus that no other hurt can accomplish. Other hurts draw us to Him in other ways. But betrayal- oh, this is near to the heart of God.

We can never escape what drew Him close to us. Why should we expect to escape what draws us close to Him?

This fallen world doesn’t offer ministry without betrayal. You and I, we sting from the memories. We always will. We brace ourselves for the next time. We try not to, but we do. We embrace God’s smile and beckoning hand to be near to His heart when ours is broken.

Brace and embrace. It’s a soul rhythm. Betrayal drives us from our brace and into His embrace. We learn His heart…become ready to face again, ready to embrace again.

We choose the fellowship of suffering with Christ. We sink to our knees and choose forgiveness. We rise from our knees and plead for restoration with others.  I hope we always will.

We cling to hope as God offers His invitation to come and lay our head close to His heart- expose our hearts in safety. Hear Him whispering: “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.” Psalm 62:8

There it is- the balm after betrayal. Pour out your heart to the One Who has never betrayed a single one, and you won’t be the first. Realize with joy that He keeps your confidence. Every time.

Journal it. Pray it. Say it out loud. Adore the One Who was betrayed for You. Adore the One you betrayed once.

This balm from His heart- maybe you desperately need it today? All it requires is you clicking away from my blog right now and sinking to your knees.

You just might be amazed at the deep comfort He infuses into your soul. No sick feeling of realization. Only the balm of understanding. Peace for your unsettled pain. Hope for your shattered heart. Grace- a priceless gift that enables you to forgive. And all of this in abundance.

These are the blessings of betrayal. Today, embrace healing in the very thing that broke you.


A Kindred Spirit

P.S. Pastors’ wives, are you in need of support and encouragement? Send me a private message and request to join one of my small online groups for pastors’ wives. Join hundreds of other pastors’ wives who are connecting and finding hope on a daily basis. The Heart-to-Heart groups are waiting for you! And, if there’s any way I can help you or pray with you, I’d be so blessed by that. Let’s connect.

11 thoughts on “Ministry Musings: There is Blessing in Betrayal

  1. Oh Leah, only God could know that I would need this post right now, like this very minute. Thank you!

    1. Jennifer, I’m so glad it was an encouragement to you. That is always my prayer- that my words will reach the hearts that need it most. I pray that you are finding God’s comfort in whatever you are facing.

    1. Victoria, I’m sorry you are facing this, but glad that my words encouraged you. Blessings to you as well! I am super happy that you are planning to be at Allume! 🙂 Can’t wait to see you again.

  2. I know exactly what you’re talking about, I’ve been there. Oh how painful it was. The emotional pain was so raw, I would have rather had physical pain. Thank you for your words Leah, that are helping those in ministry.

    1. Abby, you described the feelings perfectly. I’m sorry that you can identify with this, but it seems that we all face it at one time or another….repeatedly for some. Yes, it is a very raw feeling. What a comfort to know that our Lord faced it before we did, and He understands!

  3. Growing up as a pastor’s kid, and now being a pastor’s wife, I have found that betrayal is far more painful when it is directed at my husband and family- not directly at myself. It is hard to see people turn on your loved ones when you know how much they have sacrificed for those very people. So very thankful for the faithfulness of God.

    1. Yes, it is extremely difficult to see our loved ones facing the pain of betrayal. I too, would rather face it myself than see it directed at my husband. And yes, most of the time the ones who betray have NO idea how much the people they hurt have given and sacrificed for them. But, neither do we really understand how much Christ sacrificed for us. God bless you today, Laura! May you be encouraged.

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