ministers spouses


The problem with women friendships


Recently while preparing to advise middle school girls, I found myself stumped when it came to writing about making friends. I knew to tell them that making and keeping good friendships could be difficult, but beyond stating the problem, I had difficulty providing an answer to the friend-finding problem present in those years. Having the self-perceived gift of gab, I'm usually able to put a bright spin on just about anything, but my secret loneliness reminded me that I couldn't tell young girls how to make friends when I presently feel isolated.

In... [continue]

The friendly but friendless pastor’s wife


“I thought Hell would freeze over before she spoke to me.”

Those were the words spoken about me by a lady in the church where Jason and I first served. She told another lady in town, and that lady told me.

I'm certain she genuinely felt ignored. I was truly crushed. I had indeed spoken to her, and to the best of my ability, I had spoken to everybody else.  Besides our brevity in having arrived at that church, I was twenty-four with a three-year-old who’d tried to do somersaults during the children's sermon.

Every Sunday, I would welcome people... [continue]

Being and finding a friend


You can't develop a friendship without, at some point, engaging in friendly behavior. Simple gestures including a smile, small talk and sitting with someone doesn't make you a friend, but rather provides companionship and a spark of godly love. God grows friendships. This growth requires our willingness to be used, to be selfless, to trust him and be patient.

As a God-sent friend:

Be aware

When recently asking women about the difficulty of making and keeping close friendships, an overwhelming number shared their feelings of being an outsider in their... [continue]

When They Say the Wrong Thing


Speechless. Flabbergasted. I walked away from that brief one-sided conversation at church, not knowing if I should laugh or cry. Why would this person say something like that to me? I know his particular personality, quick-witted and humorous, always with something funny to say. I knew his comment was most likely not intended to ruin my day or cause me mental grief for the next few years. So, after obsessively dwelling on it all afternoon, I ended up having a conversation with myself and told myself I needed to lighten up.

As a pastor’s wife, I realize... [continue]

Following your passions


“Why would a 52-year-old Pastor’s wife from El Paso, Texas with four grown daughters want to live in Paris for six months?”

This is a question that was asked by our parishioners before I began an Internship at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, four years ago for my graduate studies in Applied Linguistics and French Language.

“Is pursuing passions outside of the church activities okay for pastors’ wives?”

I believe that all true passion is rooted in being created in the image of God. A passion from God would never contradict Biblical teaching, must have the... [continue]

7 Reasons Ministry Wives Need to Retreat Together


The first staff wives retreat I attended came very early on in my 26 years of marriage and ministry with Clay. I’ll be honest: at the time, I did not think it was all that great. My biggest takeaway from the weekend came when my then pastor’s wife told me, “I will never get close to another church member again. I did that once, and I got burned.” I was young. She was seasoned. I respected and valued the wisdom and experience she had. And her outlook was troubling to me. I recognized the line I would walk in relationships as the wife of a... [continue]

Lessons to learn when your garden gets trampled


Just looking at this picture, even though it was taken a while back, still stirs up feelings of disappointment. It was just a garden, but I worked hard on this little patch of dirt. It was my first attempt at gardening. The area where I planted was next to the fence in our backyard. I had tilled the ground, planted seeds, watered and pulled the weeds from around it. I checked on my little garden every day. My plants were thriving nicely. There were squash, green onions and carrots.

One day, I heard dogs barking in my backyard.... [continue]

Keeping Sabbath


As minister’s spouses, “Sabbath-keeping” may not necessarily mean getting “rest” on Sunday like most people. For the majority of our families, Sunday is the busiest day of the week, especially for a minister’s spouse. If you have small children (or children of any age), you know the challenge of getting everyone dressed in their Sunday best, fed and out the door on time to get to church.

It can sometimes be quite stressful on Momma, especially, if minister Daddy is already at the church early that morning preparing and praying for all that God will do that day. And it... [continue]

Dear God, did I really ask you for that?


The other day I was talking with a good friend of mine discussing trials, and how sometimes they can be such a burden. She is going through a tough time right now, and I was sharing with her my vast experience of 51 years. (haha)

I recalled the many times that I have gone through trials of different natures – times of uncertainty, times of struggle, times of illness – and how each one brought me closer to God. Each time, He made Himself so real to me. Each time His hand brought a sense of comfort even in the storm. Each time He made it very clear... [continue]

How to Give Up Your Kids


I have felt conviction in my life from many sins, but recently none more than idolatry. What is the object of my worship? Sadly, it is my children. There are three things I am trying to do in my life to “give up my kids.”

1. I need to change my prayer life. Honestly, when I think about how I pray for my kids, I see my problem. I pray things like, “Lord, help them make the team.” I feel like I decide what is best for my kids and then beg God to make it happen. I need to quit planning their life and then getting upset if something else happens. Why do I ever... [continue]

When God says go


I kept repositioning myself in the seat. I’d never had a moment with my friend that I would consider uncomfortable, but I was practically squirming. There was no real point in burying the lead. “I need to talk to you about something,” I said. “I’m starting a new job in San Antonio. We are going to move down there.”

Saying it isn’t the hard part, really. I’ve had time to think, to process, to pray. The response is the difficult part. Friends are blindsided. They haven’t had the benefit of seeing how God has been orchestrating things for the past several months. Some had... [continue]

GO: Family Missions


I used to think that being a “missionary” meant that you packed your bags to fly on an airplane to another country to do “missions.” In my mind, a “missionary” was someone who loaded his or her suitcase with American food like beef jerky and cheese crackers (just in case they didn’t like the local food), wore fanny packs and big straw hats with a camera around his neck, ready to take a picture of something exotic, and ready to do “missions” for God.

Thankfully, my view of what “missions” and “missionaries” are has drastically changed over the years! The world has... [continue]

Growing up in a preacher’s home


Growing up as a preacher’s daughter was a wonderful experience for me. I’ve learned many life lessons being raised in the ministry. I’m grateful my parents taught me the importance of having a personal relationship with God, loving and serving people, and always being positive. I will be forever grateful to my parents for setting the example of what it truly means to love and serve the Lord.

One thing that needs to be understood while serving in ministry would be the word “sacrifice.” Sacrifice of leaving behind friends to move to another city, sleeping... [continue]

Moving forward


The following story took place early in the 21st century:

The first day on the job, my pastor husband was setting up his office in a wonderful church where we were serving at the time. He called out to his secretary: "How do I access the internet?" She responded, "We don't!"

It turns out that the World Wide Web had never inhabited the little church. Later that week, pastor husband gathered among a group of humble servants to have a discussion about getting the office set up with an internet provider. The proposal was initially met with pleasant chatter of several... [continue]

Are you stuck?


This past weekend my daughters and I attended a sold out Beth Moore Conference in Waco with 7000 women in attendance. As you probably already know - that many women going to one place would be phenomenal, would be awesome worship - 7000 voices at one time worshipping Jehovah, the One True God. The parking and gathering would be a headache, and the lines to the bathrooms (even the men's turned women's) would have long lines.

So we are in a city that none of us are familiar with - depending on our Garmin. We left the hotel early and set our sights on getting to the stadium,... [continue]

Should I smack someone or is there a better choice?


It was our first day back at church after being away for a month. I got up early, spent time in prayer for the services and for my own heart's cleansing, praying that nothing in my heart would hinder the work of the Holy Spirit in my life or the lives of my family – personal and church.

During the morning service, I was just overwhelmed while we were singing of the love of Jesus and I was reminded of the story of Calvary. It was a great morning of worship.

However, the service was barely over when things went downhill. Hurtful,... [continue]

5 Ways to spiritually fight for your kids


"Where is my wedding ring?" My heart started racing in panic.

I noticed my ring was missing and immediately started to look around, thinking quickly about where it could be and why it wasn't on the ring holder like usual. My thoughts went to my then 4-year-old daughter, Rachel Beth.

Immediately I questioned her. "Have you seen my wedding ring, Rachel?"

She replied, "No. I don't know where it is."

I asked again, my anger and frustration welling up inside me because I knew she might be up to something by the way she was squirming. After another... [continue]

The button on my coat


On the lapel of my winter coat is a button-type pin. You know, those little metal buttons that have a slogan written on them? Oh, how I want to take it off sometimes.

At a Texas Baptists conference a year or two ago, I stopped at the Texas WMU booth to say hello to the delightful ladies there and to see what kind of goodies they were giving away. One can generally count on seeing a bowl of candies, sometimes a tote bag, and maybe a free book or t-shirt. This particular time, the WMU of Texas had among its doo-dads these little buttons, black with white and... [continue]

God: The “New Thing” Maker!


"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" 2 Corinthians 5: 17

This past summer, Ryan and I were given a used dining table from a relative. It was beautiful, simple and had "good bones." But I thought it could use a little updating, like a new stain color on top and maybe a little paint on the bottom. I was happy to get this table home, a table that had been at the center of so many past family memories and had the potential to become a new gathering place where many more memories could be made.

As I began... [continue]

Do you have Christmas expectations?


The turkey buzz is over. This week alone we have five Christmas parties! I am tired just making my checklist of what to bring to each party, what to wear, scheduling childcare, etc ... As I thought about what to write for this blog my heart was overcome with the emotions and stress of the season. I want to be joyful and sentimental and have all of those "christmasy" feelings, but instead I feel cranky and frazzled.

As a teenager who felt a strong calling to ministry, I never imagined I would feel this way about Christmas. My favorite thing to do was... [continue]

How to practice healthy boundaries


In the 1990's, when my dad was a pastor, he and my mom set certain boundaries they fiercely protected both at home and church. There were no cell phones around us at that time. If the land-line phone rang during dinner, they didn't answer it. My dad would not respond to people until the next morning when he was back at the church office, unless an urgent message was left on the answering machine, to which he tended to the need at the moment.

Today, times are very different. Because of cell phones and social media, we stay connected with everyone all the... [continue]

How to deal with conflict


Before my husband was a pastor, I had my ideas about pastors' wives. I figured they were more spiritual than the average person. That they were better at dealing with conflict. That they had some sort of secret, Holy Spirit infused wisdom that gave them the ability to know what to say, and when and how to say it.

Then my husband stepped foot in the pulpit on his very first Sunday.

I sat there in my designated spot on the front row, knowing without a doubt that I was no more wise, or spiritual or in tune with God's people than I had been the week before. Yet,... [continue]

Encouragement to operate on faith


As long as I can remember, my mother validated her life by operating on faith. I was told that if you truly believed with all your heart that God is able, He will keep His promises. I've included some scriptures which remind me of His goodness, His grace and His mercy repeat in my mindset:

... [continue]

Why it is important to live life with intentionality


I'm not an athlete by any stretch of the imagination. However, I was challenged about ten years ago by a friend to give running a try. "Running?" I asked. How funny is that! I had never been in any kind of sport in school. I did accept her challenge and began running with her. Physically, it was the hardest thing I had ever attempted. It was very slow at first; just down the street a bit, then adding a little more distance each time. Before I knew it I had reached ten miles over time after a great deal of hard work and determination... [continue]

How to embrace your place


Most of our lives in the ministry, we have lived in places not readily recognized by many people. When asked where we lived, our answers sounded like this: "It's in Hill County, just North of Hillsboro." "On the outskirts of Wichita Falls." "Midway between Dallas and Texarkana." Now we live in a city so famous we don't even have to say "Texas" after it. Ironically, I feel less known here than in the "unknown" places.

Wherever you are serving and ministering, God knows you. He remembers you. He sees you. He uses you. He did not send you there to forget or ignore... [continue]

When God has a bigger plan


I had a plan at an early age.

I wanted to become a preacher's wife; to be just like our preacher's wife, Ms. Nelda, whose face was kind. Her husband was well-spoken and always jolly. He seemed like an angel to me as he stood in the baptismal waters on special Sundays with light from heaven (it seemed) shining on him and the one he plunged into the waters.

They lived in the holiest spot in town, in a gingerbread-looking rock house right across from the church. They were lucky enough to have a constant stream of friends, including myself, who would cross... [continue]

Why you should never say never


Growing up, we would pass through Houston on the way to my aunt's house in Texas City. We would always say, "We'll never live here!" But then, the last half of my junior year in high school, we moved from my beautiful, quiet, peaceful, quaint East Texas small town to the concrete, noisy, busy, modern life of the city! Never say never! I thought I was going to die! But you know, I actually learned a thing or two, and made one or two good friends. I still hated the city, but I didn't die!

After Keith and I married and he finished seminary, our first church... [continue]

How to choose the perfect ministry outfit


One spring afternoon in Fort Worth, Texas, I roamed aimlessly around Dillard's, focused intently on finding the perfect "ministry outfit." I was one of five women who won a contest at seminary to go on a shopping spree to get a new outfit for our ministry positions and roles. The five of us were all admittedly excited about winning this fun contest, and as a poor seminary student myself, to be told I didn't have to worry about the price tag was a strange and unknown feeling! The four other women were soon-to-be pastor's wives, whose husbands... [continue]

It’s All About the Maintenance


With just a glance my way you can immediately see that I didn't spend much of my young adulthood taking care of my body. It was different when I was younger. Through high school and college I was very active and physically fit. But as I married, pursued a career, had a child and encountered health issues which limited my activity, taking care of myself kind of got put to the side.

As a Christian woman, wife of a minister and a mother, what is my responsibility to care for myself physically? Paul wrote to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 6:19, "Do you not... [continue]

How to love your Search Committee


Whatever staff position you and your husband serve in your church (or have served in), chances are you probably worked with a Search Committee. Members of the committee who brought you into a church can be some of your best partners in your ministry.

Embrace them! They are your allies. These people are already invested in you. Within the work of the Holy Spirit, they are responsible for you being called there, and they want you to be successful.

If there are things you need, such as a recommendation for a plumber or babysitter, call one of your... [continue]

Demonstrating your best gift for the church


Every day at my house there will be any number of boo boos and tears. With four small children, one or more of them will invariably stub a toe, bump a head or get swiped in the face with a foam sword by one of their siblings. All of these boo boos need my love and attention. At the heart of the matter is not the stubbed toe, but a heart that needs to be told, "I love you and I care for you." Each kiss, each hug, seeps out the love my children desperately need.

Although the type of boo boos that hurt our heart change over time, our need to be... [continue]

How to handle opportunities when they come our way


Choosing Opportunities

Choosing opportunities is an everyday, life-long process. "Have you been praying?" are words I will never forget that have helped me make decisions, and rely on God.

The weekend before our wedding, my husband and I ran into a friend who had asked if he could give our information to a pastor and we said yes. That day was the start of something huge in our marriage because a few weeks later my husband received a phone call from the pastor about scheduling a meeting with some of the members, so we agreed to go for a... [continue]

Have I told you lately that I love you?


One beautiful summer evening, my family and I went to visit some friends to have dinner and swim together. This family had just moved into their new home and my friend was telling me that during the waiting period of buying the house, it was imperative for her not to begin "mentally and emotionally living in the house" until they knew it was theirs for certain.

"We need to be falling in love with our spouse, not a house," she said without hesitation. Wow, what a powerful statement! In our society today, where so many marriages are both... [continue]

Keepin' It Real


I had been a Christian for only a couple of years when I met my husband. I was a new Christian, young and ridiculously on-fire for the Lord. He was young and solid and headed to seminary. Boom! Fireworks! Perfect match. We got married after college. I would love to tell you that it was happily-ever-after and nothing but mountain-top experiences full of ministry and love, but in this post, we are keepin' it real.

Life has been hard. Ministry has been hard. But we have learned, and grown, and found joy and purpose in the midst of the realities of life.

I hope you are blessed... [continue]

Don't Lose the Wonder


"O the wonder of it all, the wonder of it all, Just to think that God loves me!" -G.B. Shea

Once upon a time, my husband was the guest preacher at a church and we sat at the front, near a staff member. After some singing, a white-haired man, robed for baptism, gave his testimony. He had been in military service and said he had lived his life apart from God. Tears filled my eyes as I heard him tell how he had recently found Jesus and wanted to follow Him in baptism.

But just as the baptism started, a staff member near us leaned over and told a humorous... [continue]

Giving Back


As you know, there are many expectations of a minister's wife, but none more important than she have a growing relationship with the Lord, a powerful prayer life and an erudite knowledge of the Scriptures.

These expectations were very hard for me when David and I started our ministry in 1982 as I was a fairly new Christian. I had not been raised in the church or in a Christian family so I did not have any example to follow and a weak foundation. However, in 1987, the Lord gave a great gift to me towards my journey of faith, through Doris Shellabarger.

Doris and Dave joined our... [continue]

7 Things I Want “PK’s” To Know


The year was 1990. "New Kids on the Block" was the #1 boy band that climbed the music charts during the '80's and '90's, selling more than 80 million records worldwide. Every teenage girl I knew in the DFW area, including me, the "preacher's kid," had a major crush on the band. NKOTB was going to be in concert and I wanted to go with some church girlfriends. But there was a small problem.

I found out the concert would be on a Sunday night. I failed to tell my parents this minor detail because I knew what the answer would be. And I was right. They said, "No,"... [continue]

A Thank You Note to Ministers' Wives


Isn't it an unexpected pleasure, especially in these days of instant communication, to open a small note card and find a handwritten word of thanks?

As a pastor's wife in a small town, every spring I would find my mailbox full of invitations and announcements. Fun wedding showers filled the weekends. In May graduation announcements began to roll in. Add baby showers, birthdays and Mother's Day, and spring is filled with gift-giving opportunities!

In the following weeks, thank you notes would begin to arrive. Some were quickly dashed off. "Thank you for... [continue]

Leaning on your helpmate when your faith is tested


In the 35-year marriage I've been blessed to be part of, there have been some very rewarding times and some frustrating times. Unfortunately, some of those frustrating times have been associated with the Church. As much as I love being a pastor's wife (most of the time), there have been days I wish Mike had become a businessman or a doctor--anything other than a minister! From insensitive comments to a very hurtful firing, I have run the gamut of emotions and responses.

But, I can honestly say that the hard times have been the times... [continue]

Your Piece Matters


Several years ago, we took a family vacation to the mountains. In the lobby of our hotel, the manager had set up a table with a large jigsaw puzzle. He worked on it during spare moments and guests were welcome to connect a piece or two as they walked by. As I watched his progress, I asked if I could look at the lid of the box so I could see what the finished puzzle would be. He said, "No, I don't use the box lid. That's cheating." Seriously? I was not aware that I had been a puzzle cheater all along!

In much the same way, our days, moments and events come... [continue]

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... [continue]

Relocating and regulating your life


Relocating to a new church and city can be very exciting for a pastor's wife, but with relocating many hurdles occur, which the wife must learn to deal. The hustle and bustle of moving boxes, new restaurants, shopping places and friends are exciting, but can quickly have a dark shadow cast over them after the moving van pulls away leaving her in a strange environment void of former friends, sights, smells and even favorite grocery stores. All of this hustle and bustle can appear to be glamorous to the average church member, but there is one little... [continue]

Called by Name


Do you know what your name means? My parents disagreed with what to name me when I was still in the womb. My dad wanted me to be "Joanna" and my mom preferred "Jennifer," the most popular girl name in 1976. Well, my dad "won the battle" and I was named "Joanna," which I found out later means, "God's gracious gift." I have to admit I liked my name a little more once I found out what it meant!

Names are very important to God, as we can see all throughout the Bible. In the beginning, God named the light "day" and the darkness "night." God named Israel His "chosen... [continue]

So it begins


In a fellowship hall in a rural Hill County town, a young seminary student and his wife waited nervously. They were meeting with the Pastor Search Committee of a church about the possibility of becoming the pastor, which would be this young man's first ministerial position. He had been seeking to follow the Lord's call since he was just a boy of nine, and this could be the beginning. After a lunch of homemade fried chicken, the committee got down to business. The very first question from the committee was not directed to the seminary student, but to his wife. "Do you play... [continue]

A safe place in the storm


Moore, Oklahoma is a town we will not soon forget. The nation looked on in stunned silence at the devastation from the violent tornadoes that visited this community. Too many realized too late that a truly safe place was all that stood between life and death.

Storms often come without warning. Some are more severe than others. Some storms threaten our physical safety while others wreak havoc on our emotional wellbeing. Preparation is key for storms not to be too costly. As the people of Moore discovered, everyone needs a safe place.

As a pastor's wife of 24... [continue]

A little bottle of


Change, whether good or bad, is difficult. The Kennedy clan has just moved from the shores of Alabama to the mountains of Colorado. Are our new vistas awesome? Yes! Has the move been exciting? Yes! Am I grieving? You bet!

One of the last things I did was make that final hair appointment with my hair dresser and dear friend of 15 years. When it came time to get that last "Everything-I-can-get-done-to-my-hair-that-will-last-me-for-as-long-as-possible," she fixed me up, including giving me a little bottle of "Fixes Everything." Really? Everything?

I... [continue]

Parenting PKs


All of us in ministry know what it is like to live in a fish bowl. While it is hard on us, it is harder on our kids. Too many PK's (preacher's kids) grow up with a deep resentment toward the church, Christians, their parents and sometimes God because of all the expectations placed on them. We have raised four children in that fish bowl and I have spoken to hundreds of pastor's wives, some of whom carry a broken heart over their kids. As I look back on those child-rearing years, there are a few thoughts I would like to share.

The first thought is that God chose us to be the... [continue]

Overcoming fear with thanksgiving


Fear came roaring in. I could have let the fear overwhelm me, control me, inhabit me, become my constant companion.

Two years ago my husband, Larry, came down with a terrible case of shingles. Sores covered the right side of his face from his chin, up over his ear and deep into his eardrum rupturing it 70 percent and leaving him in excruciating pain. In the end, it also set off another attack of his neurological disorder called NMO (Neuro-myalitis-optica) and left him barely able to use his right arm. Many people who have NMO are blind and in... [continue]