“I feel like a failure.”
“What did we do wrong?”
“I don’t know why we tried so hard.”
“It’s such a let down to walk away like this.”
“Everything we touch falls apart.”
These sentiments and many other similar ones are expressed to me on a daily basis from discouraged pastors’ wives. I love that I can write back and say “I know. I’ve been there. I get it. Thanks for reaching out. You are not alone.”
But if that’s all I say, I’m cheating you out of the whole truth. While it IS true that you aren’t alone (because most involved pastors’ wives experience this at least once in their ministry years)….there’s something else going on here besides needing empathy.
You are wallowing knee deep- drowning even- in the things that can’t be measured.
You think you are drowning in the things you can see- the heartbreak, the wrongdoing, the cover-ups, the mess-ups, the lies, the criticism, the lack of appreciation, the betrayal, the deep hurt. But the truth is this: You can’t measure those things either. Yet we seem to be able to measure them more so than we can measure the good things- the things we can’t see.
If you’re like me, the hard stuff stands out, sticks out, cuts deep, stays long. The good stuff is harder to find, harder to remember, often fleeting and much like a roller coaster. Feels like every good thing is chained to a bad thing. And round and round we go.
But the things that can’t be measured are at stake, and in God’s plan, those are the things that matter. We forget about them because we can’t see them. They can only be known by faith. Consequently, at times, we actually believe that they don’t really exist.
“The really important stuff,” says Christopher Ash in his book Zeal Without Burnout, “cannot be measured.”
“The prayers we weave into the matching of socks, the working of our hands, the toiling of the hours, they survive. It’s the things unseen that survive. Love. Relationship. Worship. Prayer. Communion. All things unseen-and centered in Christ.” -Ann Voskamp
The grace God gave you during that awful meeting.
The soul that accepted Christ decades after you sowed the seed of the Gospel.
The heart that changed because of your influence.
The mundane tasks performed within your home.
The way that woman was encouraged after you took a few minutes to pray with her.
The child who wiggled in Sunday school, but was actually listening and absorbing truth.
The baby in the nursery who was cared for by you…week after week.
The shut in who received the meal you made.
The years spent building a Gospel-intentioned relationship with someone very different from you.
The Scripture you memorized as a child.
The truth that changed a heart as a result of your Bible study.
The training you are pouring into your own children.
The day-by-day steps you take to strengthen your marriage.
These, and so many others, are the things that can’t be measured.
In Christ there is unmeasurable lasting fruit. So you and I can say “It is worth it.”
In Christ there is unmeasurable work that is not in vain. So you and I can say “It is worth it.”
In Christ there is unmeasurable grace for every trial. So you and I can say “It is worth it.”
In Christ there is unmeasurable fellowship in suffering. So you and I can say “It is worth it.”
In Christ there is unmeasurable answered prayer. So you and I can say “It is worth it.”
In Christ there is unmeasurable treasure in heaven. So you and I can say “It is worth it.”
Dear pastor’s wife, strive for the things that can’t be measured. Accept grace in abundance. Then marvel in awe that you can’t measure it, that you can’t get your head wrapped around it. Revel in the fact that there are some things God doesn’t want you to know until you get to heaven.
Then those things will be measured….and returned back to Christ in full from your own heart of love and adoration. It won’t matter then how the scales tip in terms of good and bad in ministry. You’ll be too busy knowing in full the things you couldn’t know on earth. And the neat thing is….it will still be all about HIM! HIS love, HIS grace, HIS salvation, HIS glory. HIM.
“Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58
Press on, my friends! Let’s live for the things that can’t be measured.
A Kindred Spirit
P.S. Our pastors’ wives retreat is just about 10 days away! There’s still time to register! Go to the menu bar at the top of the page and click on the tab called “Register for the Pastors’ Wives Retreat.”