How to Survive the Ministry (for Pastors' Wives)

Sept. 21, 2012 Karen Waddles

Session Transcript

Karen Waddles: We are pastors' wives in here, right? And ministers' wives? Amen? Pastors' wives and ministers' wives? I think that the True Woman team has worked in earnest to find a time and a place where we as pastors' wives can come together and can share some of our common concerns. So if you're not a pastor's wife or a minister's wife, well, you know what you need to do, right? Amen. Did I say that nice enough? (laughter)

I am a hugger and if I could, I would walk down the aisles and give every one of you a hug. But because I can't do that, I'm going to ask you to stand up and hug the lady on your left and the lady on your right. Thank you. Thank you. That felt good, didn't it? Some of us haven't had a hug today.

I have been so looking forward to our time together this day. My husband has been a pastor for thirty-six years. For the last twenty-nine years at the same church in the inner city of Chicago. Shout out for Chicago, right? We have three sons, two of which are pastors, and one daughter who is with me today. I have my daughter, Genesis, with me and two adopted daughters that are daughters by relationship not by blood. I want them to just raise their hands so you can see who they are right here on the front row. I am grateful for their encouragement and for their prayer.

There was a young pastor, just started pastoring a new church, got married, and after the honeymoon, he moves his new wife—new pastor's wife—into his home. He has a talking bird that's been his pet for a long time. And so the first morning, the wife gets up and she goes into the kitchen to fix breakfast for her beloved, and the bird looks at her and he says, "You're no pastor's wife, and I hate you." Well, she runs, she's just hysterical to this new husband. And she says, "You won't believe what your bird said to me. He said to me I'm no pastor's wife, and he hates me." He says, "Well, I'm going to go talk to that bird and let him know that he can't talk to you like that."

So he goes to the kitchen and he looks at the bird and he says, "Bird." Bird looks at him. He says, "That's my wife. And she's going to be my wife, so you can't talk to her like that. Do you understand it?" The bird kind of nodded his head. So the next morning she goes into the kitchen to fix breakfast for her beloved. And the bird looks at her, and he says to her, "You're no pastor's wife. I hate you." She runs back to her husband hysterical. "You won't believe that the bird said it again." And so he goes to the kitchen, and he says, "Bird, if you do that one more time, it's going to be like that. Do you understand?" The bird says, "Yes."

So the next morning she goes into the kitchen. She looks at the bird. The bird looks at her. She looks at the bird. The bird looks at her, and the bird says, "You know." (laughter)

For many of us in here today, possibly there's a little bird speaking in your ear telling you, "You're no pastor's wife. This is not the life that you were meant for." The statistics are alarming aren't they? Eighty percent of pastors' wives wish their husband was doing another occupation. There's some other statistics that I think might be correlated, because there are seventy percent of pastors who were surveyed who are constantly fighting depression. Do you think there's any connection? Eighty percent of wives don't want their husband doing that. Seventy percent of husbands that are pastors struggle with depression. Eighty percent of pastors feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastor.

I'm personally acquainted with at least four pastors who gave in to their wives' desire for them to stop pastoring. They are men most miserable. One of them just went back into the pastorate within the last year. The other three are still out there. And I had an occasion to spend time with one of those three pastors just two weeks ago, and what he said struck me in my heart. He said, "Karen, I feel like I've been in the wilderness for the past twenty years." He left the ministry twenty years ago.

So if you are among the eighty percent of pastors' wives who wish that your husband was doing something else, can I give you this word of caution? That leaving the ministry will not magically make your problems go away. Can I say it this way? The ministry doesn't cause problems in our marriage. It reveals the problems. It shines a spotlight on areas where you and I need to focus and need to be intentional about allowing God's power to redeem those areas.

Consider this email that I received a month ago from a young pastor's wife. "I'm basically here to try and get my life and career back on track, but otherwise I would probably already be gone. I don't see a future with him at all. I'm also tired of pretending every Sunday that we actually like each other when I know in reality we don't even interact with each other at home. His two-year anniversary at the church is approaching, and I have shared with him that I don't even feel like acting like I support him. He does nothing to support me, so I feel like why should I be there for him? I have copied him on this message so he knows that I'm keeping in touch with you."
This is a pastor's wife that not only—she's not so much concerned about him doing something different, she just wants out.

And the raw truth and the possible reality is that there might be some of us in this room right now—that's what's in your heart, that you've had enough. I don't know how you got into this place. Perhaps you are disillusioned because you didn't know that this is what you were signing up for. Perhaps you have been hurt by the harsh critical words of congregants in your church. Maybe you have been crushed by the reality of your husband's sinfulness—that he's not the man that other people think that he is. At church he's one way but at home he's impatient, he's unkind, maybe he dabbles in pornography, maybe he has even been unfaithful, and you didn't sign up for that. Maybe you're tired of living a hand-to-mouth existence of the pastorate—you have your own degree, and you feel like you can do better financially on your own.

I don't know how you have gotten to this place or how many of us find ourselves in that place. But before we delve into the scripture that we will look at today, Psalm 91, I'd like for us to just take a moment to consider where you are right now as a pastor's wife, as a minister's wife. Where are you in your heart of hearts? How are you handling the ministry? How is your marriage? Are you sinking, are you surviving, or are you thriving? These are the descriptors.

If I'm sinking, I'm just about to go under. I didn't expect it to be this hard. I am part of the eighty percent. If I'm surviving, I have good days and some not-so-good days, but I'm holding my own. I'm steady. If you're thriving, you're one of those pastor's wives that can say, "I'm so excited about this journey that God has set before me. I'm bubbling."

So which one are you? Are you sinking? Are you surviving? Or are you thriving? And what I want you to do for the next couple of minutes with the ladies that are closest to where you are, no more than two other women, I want you to share with them what your status is right now. Are you sinking? Are you surviving? Or are you thriving? Where are you? Let's take just a couple of minutes to share with the ladies right next to you.

Amen. Thank you. Amen. Thank you. Amen. You're going to have time at the end to share more, I promise. And we're going to spend some time praying together. And for those who were able to be transparent enough to say, "You know what, I'm sinking." If someone in your circle shared that with you, I pray that you will keep her in prayer throughout this session. Just pray that the Lord will just meet her with His Word and would administer healing and hope to her heart.

I've just got the cutest text message from my husband before I walked in here. And he says, "Praying for you as you deliver the truth to pastors' wives. The best way to survive the ministry is not to be the pastor's wife but his cheerleader and his girlfriend." Isn't that cute? And I texted him back and I said, "You know what? I might share that with the ladies today." And so he texted me back. Okay and this one is longer. All right? "If you do, let them know that I praise God every day that I have the best no-complaint girlfriend in the Body of Christ. Pastors get beat up so much by people they serve"—okay, I don't know what he's saying there, okay—"the spiritual battle with Satan and all his demons and we battle all against this, it is nice to have a cheerleader. If eighty percent of pastors' wives wish their husbands would do something else, that means that only twenty percent of pastors have cheerleaders as wives. Remember we did not choose this path. God chose us. Most of us wanted to do something else. But out of obedience unto the point of death, we follow." Amen. So just kind of tuck that away in your heart.

As we go into Psalm 91, and all of you should have a hand-out, this psalm is so rich and just overflows with imagery that gives hope and encouragement to those of us who are sinking or barely surviving. The theme is the security of the man or woman who thoroughly trusts in God. Would you read this psalm with me? Let's begin.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
   will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress,
   my God, in whom I trust."
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
   and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
   and under his wings you will find refuge;
   his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
   nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
   nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
   ten thousand at your right hand,
   but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
    and see the recompense of the wicked.
Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place—
   the Most High, who is my refuge—
no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
   no plague come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
   to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
   lest you strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder;
   the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
"Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
   I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
   I will be with him in trouble;
   I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
   and show him my salvation" (vv. 1–16).

Amen. We don't know who wrote this psalm, but clearly, the writer was someone who had learned that God is faithful, that you can trust Him.

The psalm is divided into three sections on your printout, because it's believed that there are at least three speakers in this passage. Verses one and two begin a dialogue between a priest and a worshiper. The priest makes an introductory statement in verse one, and then the worshiper responds in verse two. In verses three through thirteen, that second section, the priest expounds on what God does for the woman who trusts in Him. And the final section at the bottom, verses fourteen through sixteen, are God Himself speaking, affirming His promises to the woman who dwells in the secret place.

The psalm has balance and rhythm to it as the psalmist uses parallelisms and repetitions to show different aspects of the same truth. In verse one he says, "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty." So here he sets before us—this is the condition. This is what is essential. We want to know how to survive the ministry, here's the answer right here. He says, "She who dwells." So we have to figure out what does that notion of dwelling, what does it mean?

Some Bible dictionaries say that it means to sit down, to wait for, to remain. And then the corresponding term "abide" means to spend the night, to tarry. And the shelter or the secret place is that place of intimate fellowship. So the psalmist is saying for the woman that has learned the secret of just resting in that place of intimate fellowship with Him, we can claim certain promises because God does not lie. God is a man of His word. The woman who rests in His shadow will experience His protection.

And he uses four words to describe our God. He says just in these two verses He is Most High; He is Almighty; He is the Lord; He is God. He uses these four titles to reflect the very aspects of God's character. These names are particularly used by the psalmist to speak of God as a source of strength, security, blessing, and hope. So he's saying we've got to reckon what it looks like for us as women, as pastor's wives to dwell.

You ever been to someone's house, and you walk in and it looks like she has a degree from HGTV? I mean, everything is in its place and you sit down and you're afraid—you're afraid you're going to spill something, you're afraid you're going to put a stain on something. And it's just hard to get comfortable. But then you've been to someone else's house, and it's clear that she does not have a degree from HGTV, and there might be Kool-Aid spots on the carpet, but you sit down and you sit in that chair and it just kind of envelops you. It's a cozy place. It's comfortable. It feels like home. And I really believe that that's what the psalmist is saying to us today about abiding in the secret place. That place of close intimacy with God begins to feel like home. It's a comfortable place. I know Him. I know His name. I know the house rules because I've spent time in His Word, and I'm able to rest in that place.

I love how David speaks of dwelling in the secret place in Psalm 27. In verses four through six he says it like this:

One thing have I asked of the LORD,
    that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
    all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
    and to inquire in his temple.
 For he will hide me in his shelter
    in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
    he will lift me high upon a rock.
And now my head shall be lifted up
    above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
    sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the LORD.

The busyness of ministry can distract us, can't it—can cause us to lose focus. We can get so caught up in the busyness of ministry that we lose sight of Him. As a pastor's wife, we struggle with the expectations of the congregation. You've got to be there every time the door opens. Amen? You've got to be involved in every aspect of the church's life. Amen? You got to lead here. You got to play the piano or sing. Right? How many of us in here play the piano or sing? You know, that's a requirement.

When my husband went to his first church, they had a mission program. And when we got to the program in the afternoon, he showed me the printed program and he said, "Honey, they put you on program." I said, "Really?" He said, "You're on program to sing a solo." I said, "But I don't sing." He said, "You're on program to sing a solo. You have to do something." So thankfully I play the piano, so I was able to play the piano. But I struggled to find my place in that church and to help the members understand that they couldn't put those unfair expectations on me.

And we struggle with that as pastors' wives—figuring out who we are supposed to be. Who does God expect me to be in this place? And a word of wisdom that the psalmist in this psalm says to you and me, "Come away from all of those distractions, and rest here. Wait on His appointments." When you are in a church—especially a new pastorate—rather than rushing into ministries to be used of God, I would encourage you to wait on the Lord. Wait on the Lord and ask Him, "Lord, how is it—because You know these people; these are Your people. How is it that You have gifted me and equipped me and wired me to be used by You uniquely in this place to serve You and to minister to Your people?"

If we do this we'll be able to say, as the worshiper does in verse two of Psalm 91, "If I've dwelt in that secret place, I can say to the Lord, 'Lord, You are my refuge. You are my fortress, my God in whom I trust.'" He pictures God as a refuge, a shelter from the rain, and a fortress, which is another word for a mountain stronghold. When life starts to rain on you, where do you go? Who do you run to? The worshiper says in verse two, "I will trust in God. His Word is a fortress that is impenetrable. I've learned to run and to hide in His Word."

Early on in my husband's ministry, I decided, very similarly to the young pastor's wife whose email I read to you, I decided I'd had enough. I'm tired of this. And honest to goodness, now this was many, many, many years ago and please don't tell my husband that I said this. I just wondered whether he was doing what he was supposed to be doing or not. And we were in a difficult congregation and I had decided, "Lord, I've had enough. I think I can do better on my own by myself." And I went into the bedroom, and I started packing my things. And by the bedstand there was a Bible. And I picked it up, and I said, "Lord, You have one last chance to speak to me from Your Word and to tell me, let me know, that what I'm doing that You're not pleased with." And He led me to 1 John 1:4. And the verse says this: "These things are written that your joy might be full."

And do you know what the message of that verse was to me in that moment? The message in that verse to me at that strategic moment was that God was saying to me, His daughter, "I have given you My Word. And if you will dwell in this secret place of My Word, I will show you how to have joy in the midst of your situation, right where you are. That you don't have to run. You don't have to leave. You don't have to go anywhere." But right here in this place, in the pages of Scripture, He promised, "These things are written that your joy might be full."

And so then the priest picks up in Psalm 91:3–13. And he says, "This is what God will do for us if we rest in Him." Verses three through four say that He will deliver us from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover us with His wings. He provides the picture of God as a mother hen mothering her baby chicks and covering us with His wings. Isn't that a beautiful picture? And that word "cover you" means "to make inaccessible." In other words, God might not take you out of that difficult situation, but He will make you inaccessible. They will not be able to get to you. Is that a good word?

Maybe you've been in a predicament in your church where you know the enemy has traps set for your husband, but God sends someone to forewarn him so that you are prepared to handle it. God might give you as a pastor's wife discernment to know the plans that are devised against the ministry. A number of years ago, there was a young man in our church who started a letter writing campaign—of course anonymously—because he wanted the pastorate of our church. And we prayed and prayed earnestly, "Lord, who is this among us who is doing this?"

And I felt so strongly led of the Lord that it was this particular young man in our church. And I shared that with my husband, and he said, "There's no way. He's been too close to our family. He's been like a son to us. It could not be him." And late in the night the Lord woke me up—one o'clock in the morning. And our church has a parsonage that we live in that's connected to the church building. And this young man had an office right next door to my husband. At one o'clock in the morning, the Lord led me to get up, to go into his office, and look on his desk. And on his desk was a pile of notebooks. And I began leafing through the notebooks. And halfway through one of the notebooks, in his own handwriting, was one of the anonymous letters. And I praise God for that sense of discernment. If God has given that to you, allow Him to use that to forewarn your husband of plans that the enemy devises against the ministry. God will cover you. He will make you inaccessible.

At my husband's second church, we had some very contentious business meetings and I remember sitting in those meetings and feeling like—just boiling over with anger and feeling like I needed to say something to defend my man. Isn't it always true that in those meetings the loud people are the ones that are not obedient to God? And the godly, Word-honoring people are the quiet ones. And you sit there and you wish, "Lord, why don't they say something?" And I would sit there, and I would so want to speak.

And the Lord gave me something that has stood the test of time in ministry for me. And I want to give it to you today, because you just might need it. It's called the ministry of silence. Would you all say that with me? The ministry of silence. And do you know what that is? It's exactly what it sounds like. It's just being there, being still, and trusting God. And I'm so glad that the Lord held my tongue because had I spoken up in those meetings, what I said would not have come out with love and with grace. And He helped me to understand, "Now, Karen, I haven't put you there for you to be the mouthpiece to mouth off and to get people told. I put you there for you to do these three things."

First of all, presence. Presence. Be there. A lot of times as pastors' wives we opt out. When it's hot and when it's difficult and when the tempest is brewing, some of us say, "You know what? I'm going to stay home." But the first responsibility, the first requirement, is God is looking for us for presence. Be there. But secondly, prayer. Pray. Pray. Ask God to have His way. In the midst of all of the discord, in the midst of all that is going on that is ugly, that does not look like Him, we can pray. But then thirdly, we can persevere in love. Persevere in love understanding that it is our responsibility to love on the most difficult people in our congregation. Can somebody say amen?

And I know you probably have a mental picture in your mind right now, right, of just who they are, just what they look like. As a matter of fact, you see where they sit in the sanctuary, and you sit far away from them and you do your best to avoid them. But the Word of God constrains us that as pastors' wives that God has called us to have this strategic place in ministry. And it's enhanced when you and I will be present, when we will pray, and when we will persevere in love.

And then in verses five and six, he says, "You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday." And the message, very personal message for us and personally for me, "I will not fear."

Pastor E.V. Hill, a well-known African American evangelical pastor, shared this story about his wife at her funeral. He called her "Baby." There was a season during his ministry, because of his alignment with evangelicals in this country, the Black Muslims declared him a sell-out and threatened to take his life. They threatened to bomb his house and do whatever it took to get rid of him. He woke up early one morning and looked across from him in the bed looking for Baby. And she wasn't there. He put on his robe and walked the length and the breadth of the house looking for his wife and could not find her. And after some time, he heard her coming in from outside. And he said to her, "Where have you been?" And her response, "I went to start your car up to make sure they hadn't put a bomb underneath your car."

That's a pastor's wife that knew the truth of this psalm. I will not fear. When I hide in the shelter of His arms, I need not be afraid. Now I don't know what shakes you today, but this verse speaks to the shaking in your heart today. And He speaks this truth, "Rest in the shadow of My arms, and you need not be afraid."

Verses seven and eight say that we will see the wicked rewarded. It says, "A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked." The battle may be raging all around you, but rest in in Him. He may allow you to see the wicked rewarded. And I think that He does this sometimes because when we see it, it allows us to have a greater faith in Him. It allows us to realize that I don't have to get 'em—that that's His job. And He says in another place in Scripture, "Vengeance is mine . . . I will repay." So I can trust Him. And it's interesting that He does not say, "Because the wicked are wicked, you have permission to label them as wicked and treat them as such." It's not ours to label them "that's a bad church member" and "that's a good church member." Ours is to love them and to love on them.

In my husband's first church there was an older lady—she's like eighty-seven years old—elderly saint . . . and well, she was a member of the church. And she was just enraged that the church called such a young man. And so every time he got up to preach—she was fine during the first part of the service—but when he got up to preach, she would turn her back to the pulpit and she would start humming this old negro spiritual, "Maybe my last time, I don't know. Maybe the last time you hear me pray. I don't know." And I would be thinking, Lord, could it please be? Lord, I wouldn't mind if it was her last time. But I had to learn to love her and to embrace her, because guess what? I used to think that the difficult people in the church that I had difficulty with and that I'm angry with, I used to think that God was angry with them, too. But guess what? He loves them just as passionately as He loves you. And His desire is that I would have His heart for them—that I would know that every one of them is precious in His sight—precious enough for Him to die for, precious enough for Him to get out of the grave for. Oh, that I would have the same kind of heart for them that He has.

Verses nine and ten say that I will be protected from evil. "Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place—the Most High, who is my refuge—no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent." There's a caution here, because it might sound like this psalm is promising that I will have a pain-free life if I dwell in the secret place. How many of us know that that's not what the promise is? Amen? And I love the John Calvin quote that's at the bottom of your sheet that says that "when we look back on our life from the perspective of eternity, we're going to see that the power of Satan was so great that the weakness of our flesh was so feeble and the hostility of the world was so strong that every day of our lives if God had not intervened, we never would have made it through a day."

So what you and I are dealing with has been filtered through the hand of a loving God—whatever, in your church, in your family relationship, in your job relationship if you work outside the home—whatever the circumstances and the issues are, they have been filtered through the hand of God. And can I say it like this? Not only have they been filtered, but they have been tailor-made for you because He knows what you and I need in order to grow to maturity in Christ. And I love what James says in James 1:2–4: "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."

So the message is, whatever it is that's going on that's uncomfortable for you and I, rather than determining, "I'm getting out of here. I want out from under it." Patience says, "No, God. I understand that it's already coming to me filtered through Your hand of protection. So God help me to stay under it." Patience carries with it that notion of being willing to stay under the trial. "Lord, help me to stay under it. And help me to manage my heart in the process."

The reality is that sometimes it gets bad enough to scream, doesn't it? It does get bad. We're not promised a pain-free existence. Sometimes it gets real hard. Many of the psalms start out like that. I love Psalm 55 where the psalmist is talking about my tongue devises mischief "because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me and in wrath they hate me." He goes on, "Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me." Does that not sound like a scream? But when he gets finished, he says—the last few verses of that psalm say, "Yet will I trust you." And what that says to us is that God knows that sometimes it gets hard. So it's okay for us to scream.

When my daughter was in high school, I would pick her up from school and we would listen to Christian radio on the drive home. And every once in a while, we'd be talking about what was on the broadcast. But every once in a while, she would get in the car and she would just be heavy. And she would just need to unburden. And I would look at her, and I would say, "Honey, you look like you need a good scream. Do you want to scream?" She'd say, "Mom, you're going to let me scream?" I'd say, "Yes. I think you might feel better if you scream."

And you know when I was thinking about our time together, ladies, there is no place—no safe place—for pastors' wives to scream. So if they would shut the doors back there, bar the doors. I'm serious. Bar the doors. Shut the doors. I'm going to give you three seconds, and I'm serious about it. Now listen. Listen. Those of us that are hurting, I know you all are going to scream, okay? So just to make them comfortable, okay? All of us thriving and on top of the world folks, we got to scream too, all right? So I'm going to give you the countdown—three, two, one. At the count of one, you go for it. Three, two, one. (screams) Don't you feel better now, baby? It's all right to scream if at the end of the scream, we say just as loudly, "But Lord, I trust You." Would you say that with me? "But Lord, I trust You." Amen. Amen.

In Psalm 91:11–13, it says His angels will guard me. "For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot." In Bible times, conquered enemies prostrated themselves before their conquerors, who to make the completeness of the subjection clear, placed a foot upon the prostrated form. And from this place, the metaphor of "treading under foot" for conquering became commonplace.

The enemy has waged war against those of us who are in ministry from the top down. He does his greatest damage in our hearts as leaders sowing discord, depression, discouragement, and bitterness. And maybe you feel like the pastor's wife who wrote me the email that we read as we began, that you're done. You don't even like him anymore. You really don't trust him anymore. If you're telling yourself you can't forgive, you can't survive, you can't get beyond what you are going through right now, this verse says that's a lie of the enemy. It says that you are a conqueror. You can put every lie, every discouragement under your foot if you dwell in the secret place.

And in the last couple of verses, verses fourteen through sixteen, the Lord, our refuge, our fortress, our shield speaks in some of the most beautiful "I wills" in Scripture. And I wonder which one of these promises do you need to claim today because this is what the Lord says: "Because she holds fast to me in love." She hasn't gone after other lovers to meet her heart need. "Because she holds fast to me, I will deliver her; I will protect her, because she knows my name. When she calls to me, I will answer her; I will be with her in trouble; I will rescue her and honor her. With long life I will satisfy her and show her my salvation."

The beauty of the Church is that we join together with a Body of believers that worships a great God who is worthy of all praise, all honor, and all glory. But perhaps one of the greatest tragedies of the Church is that there are so few places where its leaders can deal with the issues of our heart and get the encouragement that we need to continue in the fight. And so I praise God for places like this at True Woman where we can join together with other pastors' wives. And I would encourage you that if you don't have a pastor's wife friend that you can interact with as a confidant that you can share your heart with—because it can be dangerous to share some of your heart with members in your church. Can I just say that? We need other pastors' wives, other ministry wives to come alongside us to encourage us. And I pray that if you don't already have that, perhaps you can connect with the lady that you talked with as we began our session—the lady that you opened up your heart with and you shared with her, "I'm sinking. I'm about to go under." I ask and I pray that in earnest, if you need that kind of support, that you would be humble enough to ask for it as we join together in prayer—that you would exchange contact information so that you can keep in touch with one another, you can encourage one another. We can hold each other accountable to a God who is faithful if we will dwell in the shadow of the Almighty.

One of the favorite hymns of the church is "Great Is Thy Faithfulness."

Great is Thy Faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not.
As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.

Can we sing that chorus together? Now I don't have a singing voice, so someone who does just start us. Great is Thy Faithfulness. Someone start us out.

Great is Thy Faithfulness, O God my Father. There is no shadow of turning . . .