Dear Pastors families,
I wanted to take this time to write to you because I think it is so important for you to understand that you are not alone.
I am a pastor’s daughter.
My husband has also been in full time ministry for 10 years, and I know what ministry can make you feel like.
It can make you feel tired. Worn out. Frustrated. Hurt. Confused. Poor. Discouraged. Negative and cynical.
It can. But it doesn’t have to.
One thing the enemy always does to try and get us down is to make us feel like we are all alone.
Like no one else ever feels this way in ministry.
Like all the other pastors, missionaries and full time ministry workers have all the money, have all the volunteers and all the joy.
And here you are, alone. With no money, no volunteers and no joy.
This is a trap and this is a lie.
You are not alone.
I want to give you a few things that are important to remember and that I hope will bring you some relief that you aren’t the only one who feels this way, and some hope…that God has got you!
1. Life is not about money.
I know you know this. Of course. You’ve memorized the verse “the love of money is the root of all evil”, You’ve contemplated getting the tattoo that says “My God will supply all your needs”.
Maybe with an anchor next to it for good measure.
But then there’s the whole tattoo controversy, so there’s that.
It’s hard because you know it’s not about money, but it feels like life is about money.
You have to pay your bills.
You have to decide if the dinner you just brought to the person struggling, or the gift card you bought the family from town is from you or from the ministry.
You have to deal with car problems, medical bills and everything else on a small budget.
So it’s hard to not lose focus and feel like it is about the money.
But. Try your best not to.
Train your mind to remember that being content, even with a little, benefits you and your family.
It is always the right choice.
The sweetest times I have growing up had nothing to do with money. It is the memories from singing together in the car, going through the McDonalds drive through for an ice cream cone, and conversations on my mom’s bed.
There will be times when you have more, and there will be times when you have less.
Be content during both of those times.
2. You don’t have to explain what you buy.
If you see me wearing a new sweater and you tell me you like it? Guarantee I will automatically tell you where I got it (most likely a thrift store) and how much it cost. (probably less than 5.00)
For some reason, we tend to have this mentality that we need to explain why we own any possessions at all.
It may come from the fact that there are people out there who feel that the tithe they put in the offering plate goes directly to you and therefore, they have the right to know what you do with it.
The truth is, tithe is an act of obedience to God. It is giving him 10% of what He already gave you, and it is up to God what He does with it.
Another problem is that people can make you feel like you don’t deserve to have quite as much as they do.
And there are people out there who truly feel that way. I’ve met them.
The funny part is, most people probably don’t even care what we do with our money!
But the ones who do care, kind of stick out to us and make us feel like everyone is judging us.
We don’t need to bring that on ourselves.
If you get a new car? Own it!
If you are taking a vacation? Don’t justify it. Just do it and enjoy it.
Don’t explain what you’re doing and don’t feel like you have to.
Maybe come up with a clever comeback when someone comments about it. Like..
Them: wow! You just went out for dinner there? That place is too expensive for us!
You: Yes! Aren’t you so thankful we have a heavenly Father who loves to give good gifts to his children? God is so good!
It’s kind of hard for them to continue after that! Just stay focused on your ministry, don’t let other people’s comments get you down.
3. Just because some people hurt you doesn’t mean all people hurt you.
This is the key in any ministry. If you have been in ministry for any length of time, you have probably come to know the verse in 1 Corinthians 12 that says:
“I will gladly spend myself and all I have for you, even though it seems that the more I love you, the less you love me.”
The people you invest the most time in, will possibly be the ones that hurt you the most. Doesn’t it seem that way??
I get it. I really do. I know the pain. I know the betrayal. I know the tears.
It’s ok. Keep investing in people.
Just because that last person did hurt you, doesn’t mean the next person will!
It’s a trap of the enemy to make us think we are just “protecting ourselves” by not reaching out and being open to people for the fear that they will hurt us.
Keep loving. Keep serving. God will bring some people into your life who will end up being a life lesson for you.
But He will bring others into your life who will bring sweet comfort, fun and joy to you!
Don’t miss the opportunity to find out which one the next person will be because you are still hurt from the last one.
Keep pressing on.
4. There is no such thing as righteous bitterness.
Let me just put it bluntly, like James does in James chapter 3. Bitterness is demonic.
It just plain is. Bitterness causes trouble and can defile us and ruin all kinds of relationships! In Ephesians, we are told to put bitterness away from us and then be kind to one another. See, it goes beyond just telling yourself not to be bitter. It then goes on to kindness.
When we are bitter, we are holding on to unforgiveness. When we are unforgiving, we are literally in bondage.
BONDAGE! We are choosing to hold on to those feelings and we become a slave to them. That affects everyone around us.
There is one passage in the Bible where Paul is writing and it is the passage that makes me physically feel the battle between the flesh and the spirit.
He says that he is going through this time where everyone had deserted him. No one stood up for him. Right after he says this, he says:
“I pray God, that it not be laid to their charge.”
WHAT?! How can he say that?
I feel a little more like David might be my spirit animal when he’s all – GOOODDDDDDDDD, my enemies are everywhereeeeeeee. Please find them and kill them allllll!
I’m like, ok fine.
I’ll forgive these people God, but you take care of them, ok?
And make it good! Ha!
But anyways! Here comes Paul and he’s just like..God. These people who I thought were my friends just all left me high and dry. I am alone. But please don’t hold them accountable. Show them mercy.
And what else can you say about that.
There is never a reason to be bitter. And there is never such a thing as righteous bitterness. Even if you are upset for the sin that someone is committing, or upset for the way people are acting. We can not let it turn into bitterness.
5. If God called you here, He will provide for you.
I recently heard a quote that said, you worry about the depth of your ministry, let God worry about the breadth.
I loved it because it is so incredibly hard in ministry to not get discouraged when you are not seeing results.
When you are working and working and working and you seem to have no money, no signs of fruit in the people you’re working with and nothing is seeming to go right.
Listen. If God called you here, it is his ministry, not yours.
Don’t forget that.
He called you, he handed you this ministry and is just asking you to hold on to it.
To love it.
To work hard at it.
To give it your all.
To keep close to Him and not worry about the rest.
Let God take care of the things that are worrying you. He will provide. Always.
Don’t even listen to your deceitful heart tell you otherwise.
He. Will. Provide. He is faithful.
6. People who haven’t been in a pastor’s family will never fully understand. But that’s ok.
Seriously. If you haven’t been in a pastor’s family, you may not get the purpose of this entire post.
But if you have? You do.
It’s ok if people don’t get it.
Remember to pray for your pastor, even if that pastor is your dad or your husband.
Pray that he will be a strong and godly leader. That he won’t get discouraged (especially on Mondays!!)
Pray that he won’t let the enemy get to him, and that he will keep his eyes focused on Jesus..not the numbers, the finances or the fruit.
Remember to pray for your family.
Ministry involves the entire family.
Pray that you will know how to balance it all.
Remember to keep your relationship with Jesus first, your husband next, your kids next and then your ministry.
And don’t apologize for that order.
Keep doing what God has called you to do.