Unzipping our hearts


Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What? You too? I thought I was the only one!" -C.S. Lewis

"Momma! Momma! I don't want to be alone in my room. I need you to come in here and be with me. "

I was in the next bedroom and responded to her, "Rachel Beth, I'm right here in the next room. Do you hear my voice? You are not alone. You are fine."

She needed to make sure I was nearby. She thought for a moment she was all alone, which scared her. Once she heard my voice, my 4-year-old daughter was back to dancing and singing songs on her "Frozen" karaoke machine like nothing had happened.

It's a terrible feeling when you think you are all alone, isn't it? Have you ever felt this way as a minister's wife? Maybe you weren't physically alone, but it felt lonely when you looked around. There were a handful of times as a new pastor's wife I can remember crying out to the Lord in my loneliness.

Other than my husband, in those early days, I felt like there was no one I could talk to about my personal concerns, struggles and thoughts without the fear that they might possibly misunderstand, judge or talk about it later with someone else. No doubt I had the wonderful love and support of my pastor husband Ryan, our families and girlfriends from various circles in my life, and the church had sweet, loving people too. But we know as minister's wives that sometimes relationships within the church can be challenging and they are often affected by situations, which arise within the church. And even with all those wonderful people around, sometimes I was still lonely.

God created all of us for a relationship with Him and for meaningful, solid, safe relationships with others, which we know are important to our well-being. Minister's wives are certainly no exception to having this need. We all want and need those deeper friendships in our lives where we can be genuine, share our joys and sorrows, and pray for one another, which removes the temptation to hide behind a mask. The beautiful thing is when we feel safe to remove our masks with each other, we find out we are no longer alone.

Minister's wives make wonderful friends with one another because of our common experiences! Whether meeting once a month for coffee or being a part of a more structured mentorship program, it is so encouraging to know there are other minister's wives both in our same phases of ministry life and those who are more "seasoned" who have already traveled the road we are currently on. We can learn so much from one another! We have the blessing and privilege to be and to have a sister-friend who understands the ups and downs of being married to a minister.

I am so thankful God knows the needs of our hearts for true friendship. He has been faithful to answer my own prayers when I called out to Him and He continues to open up my eyes around me to new friendships at church, through my daughters' preschool and in my living community. Do you have a friend or two you can "unzip your heart" with in your own community? Is there another minister's wife you meet with regularly or want to begin meeting with to share blessings, struggles and prayer concerns with?

On a larger scale, through Texas Baptists, our hope is that as minister's wives, we can connect with each other at events like the Annual Meeting and experience fellowship, friendship and encouragement with one another. Sisters, we need each other and we are not alone!

Joanna Jespersen is the wife of Ryan Jespersen, Director of Urban Missions at Texas Baptists, and momma to two princesses, Rachel Beth (4) and Mary Kate (2). Being a pastor's wife in Dallas taught her a lot about the unique challenges and blessings of ministering in an urban setting. She has a heart for teaching and counseling, and enjoys crafting, thrifting and traveling with her family. She writes "love letters" to her little girls and really treasures the time she currently has being a stay-at-home-mom.

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