She told her to take a load off


Would you like to hear a story?

No? –

I’d tell it anyway!

Or write a book, maybe.

But since you’re still here….

One time a young man responded to the call and became a preacher. Then he got married and started a family.

His desire was to do the work of God, and he was intent on carrying out that same purpose; it coloured everything he did and every decision he made.

Soon it seemed like it was all he ever wanted to talk about –

The lost sheep still out there that needed to be brought into the fold.

The sheep in his care that needed to be tended.

How to stop the wolves from feeding on the sheep.

How to expand the kingdom of God….

Eventually, kindergarteners became college graduates, and he didn’t even know how that happened!

After years of trying to get the preacher to understand that he needed to be present and see what God was doing NOW, even in his family, the preacher’s wife finally stopped trying.

More and more, her marriage began to feel like a burden. Had she been mistaken when she believed this was God’s purpose for her?

Dwelling on these thoughts and desperately searching for answers, she grasped whatever was within reach; she believed every notion she found – as long as it placated her, it must be true, right?

From that point it didn’t take that long before she slid into the place of apathy and….

Dare she admit it? –

It’s not like God doesn’t already know, so she might as well let it out (Since we’re telling the story of what happened)!

So yes, God and His work became a cross – a cross she found she eventually began to resent.

It was really a cry for help when she first began to miss Bible studies and prayer meetings. Then she began to miss these meetings because she was angry. And then she just plain no longer cared!

So while the preacher preached his heart out on Sundays, she sat and prayed for God to have mercy on his soul. Sometimes she thought, if you know these things and don’t do them, does that not make you a hypocrite? May God have mercy on you!

We’ve been told that there’s only so much a person can take before their sense of self preservation kicks in and almost gets the better of them… well, in a manner of speaking, that is.

Because the church woke up to the news one day that mama was gone, and no one knew where she was. Not even the preacher.

What happened?

She was the perfect preacher’s wife.

A rock and blessing to his ministry.

Always there when you need her.

One time when my cat got sick at night and I couldn’t get hold of the preacher because he had travelled, I called her in the middle of the night and she let me bring the cat over….

So many questions, yet the answers were not within their reach.

Or they just couldn’t see.

Because, really, it was not that hard to see.

How could they not see that their needy dependence on the preacher was robbing his family of their husband and father?

She didn’t mind him ministering to the needs of the flock God had put in his care. She actually prays God would help him be faithful in his calling, but….

It’s just not the same when he’s missing their daughter’s birthday to bury a dog – especially when you remember they’d been planning the party for ages.

Then there was that time he swept the house squeaky clean because a family was hungry and in need. He said it was faith. She only needed him to tell her what they were supposed to have for dinner that evening. It turned out his mind interpreted that question as her questioning his calling and ministry. As she sang her crying, hungry children to sleep that night she mourned because she couldn’t answer the question her son had asked her –

“Why does God prefer other families to our own?”

“But He doesn’t. He loves us all equally”.

“Why did he tell daddy to give all our food away? And he’s never home.”

And then he told her again what he’d come to believe and has been telling everyone who’d listen, “I don’t want to be a preacher when I grow up”.

Me too.

But then again, you don’t become a preacher because your daddy was one; you become a preacher because God told you to do it….

If the struggle was only with trying to balance the work of the ministry and not abandoning his own family, it probably would not have been so hard.

But there are bad sheep within the flock! They’re probably not sheep, and only God knows what they are!

Like the lady who said she needed counseling one time – it was easy to see how that was true, since she went to see a preacher with clothes that were barely there! When he said they’d have to talk in an open area, and not in his office, she disagreed. So he turned around and began to pray in the Holy Ghost! She was gone by the time he was done!

I’d wager her intentions were not noble – and there’s more than a few preachers who have to deal with these kinds of situations.

And we need to cover them in prayers.

But still….

As she sensed she was beginning to crumble under the weight of her cross, she remembered the preacher’s wife from when she was a youth.

She made inquiries. The children were already grown and out of the house, and she didn’t think the preacher would notice her absence (plus, she didn’t care all that much. It must have been that sense-of-self-preservation thing).

Next thing she knew, she had packed a bag and was gone.

As the older preacher’s wife welcomed her into her home, her appreciation for this seasoned woman of faith went up mega notches –

She was still here; after all these years, she was still here ministering to her preacher.

After she made certain the younger preacher’s wife was breathing properly, and that she could still string words properly and be coherent, she told her to take a load off….

It was the best gift this burned-out preacher’s wife had received in ages, yet when she received it she didn’t know what to do with it.

Does she really want to hear my story?

Does anybody?

But she was there already….

So maybe she should just tell it….

Or write a book….

This post may be linked up with these encouraging writers.

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40 thoughts on “She told her to take a load off”

    • Sometimes it’s easier said than done. God help us! Thanks for visiting, Theresa. Blessings to you.

  1. This is an intriguing story, indeed. There is a special place in my heart for preacher’s wives. Is this your life story, friend? Many blessings to you and your family!

    • It really is that easy, Tiffiney; more than most people realize. Thanks for visiting. Blessings to you.

  2. I have so much respect for the women who stand with and love the pastor.
    This is a sad story, but all too common, I’m afraid. May God give boldness to our church leaders to prevent the misuse of pastoral families by their congregations and misguided actions by their under-shepherds.

  3. Boma, it reminds me of the woman who tries and tries, through the years to tell her husband “something’s wrong – we need to fix it.” He never has time to listen. Then after years of silence the woman leaves and he asks, “WHAT DID I DO WRONG? WHAT HAPPENED?” Well, tried to tell you 15 years ago but…good story. Sad endings.

  4. Dear Boma, this is so powerful! Pastors’ spouses definitely have a unique call on their lives. For all of us in marriage, trust is certainly the key, from my perspective. Trust enough to willingly invite our spouses into every area of our lives, and joyfully enter theirs. Thanks and blessings for sharing your heart, Boma!

    • So true, Alice. Trust does make the whole experience somewhat easier. Thanks for visiting. Blessings to you.

  5. I think your story exemplifies why it is so important for us to pray for our pastors in our churches. Actually all our leaders as God calls us to do!

  6. Thank you for writing this post, Boma. I have no wisdom to add to what other commenters have shared. I know that this fictional family represents many real families, which makes me sad and, I’m sure, also makes God sad.

    • Yes, Patricia, it does represent many real families. God help us! Thanks for visiting. Blessings to you.

  7. Unfortunately this is a true story many times over.

    This is what I tell people, the pastor has the 2nd hardest job in the church. His wife has the 1st.

    I saw this happen to my own family. It is one of the reasons I stepped down from my pastoral ministry after 17 years. If i say God is #1 in my life, then my wife is #1 in my life as far as people go. Children #2.

    If a man can’t take care of his own family, he is worse than an infidel… I read this somewhere in the scriptures and it hit me hard.

    It was not an easy choice to make, but the good fruit is tangible. It cost me in many ways, but it has been worth it. I can say this seven years later.

    Now I am happy to let Jesus build His church and focus on His commission to go and make disciples. It works much better this way.

  8. Dear Boma,

    Just finished reading “She told her to take a load off”.

    Here’s what I think.

    I love the clean design of your blog.

    It’s great to see blogs, which aren’t filled with widgets.

    It’s amusing to read blog posts like these when I as a reader feel that the writer has enjoyed writing the content.

    Your topic resonated with me.

    I’ve thought much about the perfectness many Christian brothers and sisters suffer under.

    With this perfect life that your story is a good example of, it becomes difficult to relate to people in the church, right?

    Your topic is a huge problem in many mega-churches in the United States.

    I don’t know if someone has made a website for burned-out pastor wives, but I’m sure that there’s a need for that.

    On my way to share this on Twitter. . .

    God bless!
    Edna Davidsen

    • Thanks very much Edna. That perfectness too many of us suffer under is not a very easy burden to bear. It’s definitely not one Jesus gave us. And yes, it does make it difficult to relate to people in church. Thanks for visiting. Blessings to you.

  9. I’m guessing this story is common. I read recently that A.W. Tozer was this type of preacher/husband. I know longer quote him. After he died, his widow, who had stayed with him until he died, married a man who truly loved her. Thanks for reminding us all of how difficult the life of a preacher’s wife might be.

    • I didn’t know that about Tozer, Melinda. And yes, the life of a preacher’s wife could get really difficult. God help us! Thanks for visiting. Blessings to you.

  10. Wow – the life of a preacher’s wife is hardly spoken of within church walls. It must be so hard! The balance of the calling to preach and to family is difficult to navigate for many, I assume. I think the best advice I have ever heard regarding the Christian life is: God first, family second, calling (or vocation) third. If one cannot manage their own life well, how are they to manage church life?

    • Exactly, Lisa! But this balance is truly not one that’s very easy to navigate. God help us! Thanks for visiting. Blessings to you.

  11. Oh yes, I know this story happens all too often! But what I appreciated most about your story, was the older Pastor’s wife who brought comfort and rest to the wounded one. Oh, may we keep our eyes and hearts open to be that encouragement to those that no one else even notices! Thank you for sharing this heartfelt story.

  12. It’s definitely a difficult balance – your calling versus your family. But should they really fight against each other? It makes me wonder what the balance is and what God asks us to sacrifice. Thanks for bringing light to this difficult topic!

    • They shouldn’t, really. And I believe letting God guide us daily brings us into this balance in all things. Thanks for visiting, Emily. Blessings to you.

  13. Such a good reminder to find mentors! I am so thankful for the women who have gone ahead of me, who can support and give advice and see my circumstances with wisdom.

    • So true, Annie. They’ve gained so much experience we could benefit from. Thanks for visiting. Blessings to you.

  14. I pray that God will help us remember to pray for our pastors and their wives. Most of us don’t realize how hard things can be for them, how little privacy they may get as a family and how hard it must be to balance things and make sure their families are cared for. Thanks for sharing this intriguing story to help open our eyes to the struggles there are for those in ministry.
    Blessings to you! Thanks you for sharing with us at the #LMMLinkup!

    • True Gayl. It’s more than a few who don’t realize how hard things can be for the pastor and his family. Thanks for visiting. Blessings to you.