Friday, January 16, 2015

{30 before 30} :: Encourage Another Church Planting Wife

I put this one on the list because it was something I desperately wished I had while we were planting. While my husband received a ton of support and encouragement from local church planters, I unfortunately did not. And that was hard. And lonely. The women at Redeemer were encouraging, but there is a different kind of need for pastor's wives that members of the church cannot offer, simply by nature of roles and ministry.

Acts 29 desires to be helpful to wives, but the actual implementation is a bit challenging. I went to a wives' tea the fall before we launched, and I met some wonderful ladies, but that was it. There was no follow up, and I haven't seen most of them since then. It's not Acts 29's fault, it's just difficult for church planting wives to find time to network with each other, especially since we're all spread out throughout the metroplex. And since we never achieved full-member status, we did not have access to the retreats, which is where I think most of the wives connect.

Working full time, launching the church, and monitoring my health made connecting with other church planting wives fall down on the list of priorities. I was fairly exhausted, and all of my energy was going to ministering to the women at Redeemer. I also struggled with knowing what I had to offer. I desperately needed encouragement from someone who was further in the process {and quite frankly, outside of our process}, so I felt at a loss. We had just started our church planting journey, and then a few short months later it was over. What encouragement could I offer another church planting wife, when our church plant didn't make it?

When we were a few weeks past the close of Redeemer, the Lord placed this on my heart again. And he placed a fellow sister on my heart, the church planting wife of a church with whom we have had close ties for a couple of years. We have talked often about getting together, but life and schedules had just prevented it from happening...until I made the conscious decision to not let it anymore. We had our first official hang out, and I am so thankful for this sweet gal. It was like meeting with a kindred soul. I really wish I hadn't waited so long to make the time to meet a priority.

I don't know exactly what I will have to offer her by way of encouragement, but I do understand some of the unique struggles of being a church planting pastor's wife. And that is a priceless gift that I don't want to waste. More than once, she has told me, "You just get it!" And I do :)

Whether it's just coffee to hang out and talk, or sending her encouraging emails or fun care packages, I hope that I can be an encouragement to her. Just knowing that there is someone there and available to talk and listen would have been an encouragement to me. Or knowing that someone was praying for me and the specific challenges of church planting prayer is that I can be that for her. 

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