Thick Skin, Tender Heart, and What Every Pastor's Wife Needs Most

My husband, Justin, has been a pastor for a little over four years.  They've been joy-filled years. We've been loved exceedingly well, been shown Christ's powerful love, and been overwhelmingly encouraged by the people in our church. We love them. But like all church families, there have been moments of hurt, too.

There's such beauty in a woman who is slow to be offended, quick to extend grace, and who genuinely loves even those people who have caused pain.

During these years, God has often grown me most during the moments of pain. It's easy to love people who are loving me well, but it's tough to love someone who's treating me or my family poorly. Isn't loving someone who has hurt us exactly the kind of radical living we're called to as Christians, though? Don't I want to be a pastor's wife who's characterized by a love for others, regardless of whether or not I'll be treated well in return?

Through grace, we can become that beautiful, unique combination of a thick-skinned but tender-hearted woman. It's not that we want to grow calloused, indifferent, or that it's wrong to struggle with sadness. So what do I mean by being thick-skinned?

It means having the grace and strength to avoid being overly sensitive or easily hurt.

It means cultivating hearts that are soft, tender, and warm. There's such beauty in a woman who is slow to be offended, quick to extend grace, and who genuinely loves even those people who have caused pain (1 Cor. 13).

So how do we develop thicker skin and softer hearts?

One Sunday Justin and I were driving home from what had been a hard morning for me at church. An individual had said something to Justin that was unkind, unfair, and quite hurtful. I had volunteered to cook a meal for a brunch that was taking place at the church the next day—and this person would be attending. As we drove along, and I anticipated spending my time buying ingredients and cooking a meal for this woman who had hurt me, the waves of sorrow turned to words of anger.

"All she ever does is grumble and complain. It doesn't matter how much we try or how well you love her. She'll always just complain. And now I'm supposed to spend my night cooking for her?"

Justin reached over, took my hand, and spoke gently. "Elisha, think about what Christ did for you. You hated him, and he died for you. I know you're hurt. But you ask how can you serve someone who has hurt you? Look to Christ, Elisha. Look to the One who poured out His very own blood for you."

My anger melted. I beheld my Savior. I saw the beauty of His love. And I wanted to become more like Him.

What does the pastor's wife—and every woman—need most of all? To look to Christ. Whether ministry is sweet or sorrowful, whether there is love or hurt, whether there is peace or pain, what we need most of all is to look to Jesus.

"By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers." (1 John 3:16)

What about you? When you've been hurt, how has God has grown you?

Did you discover God’s Truth today?

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About the Author

Elisha Galotti

Elisha Galotti

Elisha lives in Toronto, Canada, a city she loves and longs to see won for Christ. Her husband, Justin, shares her heart for their city and is thankful that God brought him to be the pastor of West Toronto Baptist Church. Though Elisha spends most of her time mothering her three wonderful and funny little ones, she is a lover of the arts and teaches ballet part-time. 

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