When Being There Matters

This past week, a church member passed away after a long struggle with cancer. And so, the juggling of emotions and schedules began. Visitation nights are usually my husband’s thing, and I typically only attend the funeral. It’s just the way we have chosen to work together in times of bereavement. My involvement this week, however, was a bit different. Not only did I plan to attend the funeral service at our church, but I also planned to attend the visitation the night before. 

Plus, there would be a meal following the funeral – one that had turned into an opportunity for the children of the church to help serve and clean up afterward. I was not involved with preparations for the meal, thankfully! However, coordinating our young volunteers was up to me.

The visitation night passed and the day of the funeral came. After the service and burial, family and friends returned to the church for the meal. As I gathered the boys and girls to give them instructions, I surprised myself as a statement popped out of my mouth. My goal was to let them know that their parents would be helping them serve drinks, clean up spills and watch for other ways they could be of assistance. I had asked their parents to help oversee their children, but I also wanted to let them know I would be available for questions. But here’s where my heart needed to be shared with the boys and girls - and the words I didn’t plan to say, but were appropriate at the moment.

“I need to be a pastor’s wife today, so I’ll be eating dinner with Pastor Denny now. You are more than welcome to interrupt me if you have a question, but I will not be helping you like I usually do when we serve a meal.” I wanted the boys and girls to know that I wasn't abandoning them to do the work alone, but that I was also ‘working.’ The kids didn’t seem to be surprised at my announcement and just took it in stride.

My identity and sense of purpose isn’t dependent on my husband, but there are moments in life when my relationship with my husband, as a pastor’s wife, becomes my number one priority. In this case, I knew my husband would appreciate having me nearby following a tough week of processing a death in the church family – and of a friend.              

Why is this a big deal?

There is a balance that I've tried to figure out through the years of ministry that causes me to ask questions such as... 
  • Who am I in God's eyes?
  • What are my gifts, and how can I best use them?
  • What is God asking of me today?
  • How can I balance my responsibilities at home with ministry needs?
  • How can I best encourage my husband?

One truth that has stood out to me is this. I am the only one that can truly be the unconditional ‘cheerleader’ for my husband through all the ups and downs of life and ministry. And, oh what a special privilege that is! 

As pastors' wives, the way that we can best "be there" to support and love our husbands is as vast as the differences within our communities, our churches, our family dynamics, our giftedness and our marriages. No two ministry partnerships will look the same. But, when we are working together, side by side, the ‘yoke’ is made easier. When we are there for each other and not pulling against each other we can enjoy the journey that much more.

This week, I encourage you to find ways to "be there" for your husband. Perhaps through prayer or quiet companionship. Or, maybe it means sacrificing your "me time" for some "us time." Or, it could be as simple as making sure there is clean underwear in his drawer. (Yes, that was a source of contention in our home in the early years, and something I still try to make sure is available daily – at least one pair!) 

After nearly 37 years of marriage, we’re still figuring out what works best between us and how to prioritize the demands of life. Often, just "being there" for each other might simply be eating a meal beside each other! May God bless you this week with a special insight into how you can love, serve and "be there" for your husband - whether he notices your efforts or not. 

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11



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