Lesson #6: It’s Super Lonely
If you’ve ever been in ministry you know that at times, it can get lonely. Having the “stigma” of the preacher’s wife allows people to think that you are perfect. You are unapproachable. You will judge them for being human. (All of which are completely untrue—but that doesn’t stop people from thinking it.)
When my husband and I were in our previous ministries, I was undoubtedly lonely but I always found a true friend within the first year; a friend that I could cry with, laugh with uncontrollably at ourselves, and be completely transparent with. These friends welcomed me with open arms into their lives and expected me to come over to play dates at their homes bedraggled, in yoga pants and not showered yet. We talked about discipline (sometimes lack thereof) in our homes, getting angry at our children, realizing our selfishness, giggling about our husband’s latest antics and what was the fastest (and best tasting) recipe we could whip up in a moment’s notice. These women became some of my best friends… and they still are even though we are hundreds of miles apart. A quick call to them and we are right back where we left off.
Jumping into the church plant was a completely different ballgame. (I’m sure by now you’re picking up on it!) Not only was I lonely, I almost felt singled out. Although I have friends on our team, when they became angry at my husband or at something the team decided on, they distanced themselves from me. I almost felt like I was on the outside looking in at times.
Another thing that isolated me was that awkward moment when you introduce yourself (or more likely are introduced by another) as the wife of the man who’s planting a church. Congrats. You are now officially an alien in their eyes. (Okay- not always… but about 80% of the time!)
Here is what helped me to survive those first beginning months:
3. Find someone to confide in.
This can be another church planter’s wife (one who’s been in church planting longer), a friend outside of the church who holds you up in dedicated prayer, a seasoned mentor who can give you wisdom and encouragement for your spirit, and/or a Christian counselor who can lend a helpful ear and advice in how to cope through the loneliness.
2. Tell your husband that you’re lonely.
Let him know that you are struggling. He should be your ULTIMATE best friend and you can confide in him. If you do not want advice from him (and only want a listening ear), make sure you preface your conversation with that.
1. Turn to the Father.
He will comfort you with his Holy Spirit more than anyone else can. Pray to Him to send you a friend that will be with you through thick and thin, someone who will continue to encourage you, your husband and the church plant.
God hears you. He does. He will not forsake his child. He will lift you up and carry you to high places. Take heart!
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.