Dear Young Pastor’s Wife,

I started out young, too. Twenty-three.

I remember the cold winter day when our brand new congregation helped my husband unload our U-Haul and move all of our worldly possessions (we didn’t even own a couch) into the parsonage of our first church.

I guess I was too silly to feel scared, but I did feel a little lonely when my in-laws drove away that weekend and left our tiny family standing on the steps of our new home.

The only thing I remember from our first Sunday service was the ugly little flower “arrangement” on the communion table in front of the pulpit. I mentioned to my husband that maybe I should replace it with something more attractive for the holidays (I was the pastor’s wife now, after all).

My husband suggested that I leave it alone, and that was the beginning of our first decade in ministry.

I’m thirty-three now, and I still notice ugly little flower arrangements on communion tables.

Thankfully, I’ve learned a few things in ten years of ministry with my husband, and the main thing is that I still have a lot to learn!

I have a huge heart for pastor’s wives, particularly young ones. Why?

Well, because there aren’t a whole lot of willing mentors out there for you to learn from. (Sad, but true.)

Another reason: because I know you might be feeling unprepared, maybe a tiny bit scared, and certainly a little lonely out there by yourself.

Let me pour a cup of tea for you and let’s just sit and chat about it for a few minutes. I have a few things to tell you:

1. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you’re young.

You’re a willing vessel and that’s all God is asking, so don’t feel intimidated or ill-equipped.

Yes, you lack experience right now, but every day of your life is ripe with purpose. You’re not too young to reach out, to be somebody’s mentor, to be somebody’s friend.

2. Remember: respect is earned.

It’s true: the older women in your church might think of you as “a kid”, and the younger women will very likely see you as “just a peer”.

That’s okay. You’re going to earn their respect and appreciation over time.

Don’t take offense if people feel free to call you by your first name instead of “Mrs.” or “Sister”, or if they offer lots of unsolicited advice. Take it in stride and just learn all you can about understanding and loving people.

Maybe it sounds a little unfair, but you’re going to have to prove yourself. One of the ways to do that is to…

3. Invest deeply in building relationships with people.

Your biggest “job” as a young pastor’s wife, besides supporting your husband in his role, is to learn how to love people. I mean, really love people.

This doesn’t come naturally or easily for any of us, so just plan right now to make it a life-long project.

Some of the best advice an older pastor’s wife gave me years ago was, “Learn the love language of each of the women in your church.” I’m still working on that project, but it’s made a huge difference in my relationships with the women in our congregation.

4. Be sure you stay in love with Him.

Sometimes, you’re going to show up at church tired, discouraged, or just plain overwhelmed. You’re not always going to feel like a saint on Sunday, my dear!

In those moments when you just have to keep giving when you feel like there’s nothing left to give, you’re going to need a source deeper than humanity from which to draw your strength.

I’m trying to tell you that you need a prayer life.

You need time in God’s Word. You need time in God’s presence.

I’m not talking about the hour you sit in Sunday School every week, or the prayers you whisper in church.

You must cultivate a close and vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ. Personally. At home.

The foundation of who you are as a woman — apart from your identity as a wife, a mother, a partner in ministry –– is your relationship with Jesus Christ.

That is going to sustain you when everything else fails, including your strength, determination, and human love.

So here you are: you’re a young pastor’s wife.

Welcome to the sisterhood. You have an exciting and rewarding adventure in front of you!

Embrace it. Learn all you can. Grow all you can.

And, when you just kind of need someone who ”gets it”… I’m here.

I’d love to connect with you, so don’t be afraid to drop by my place and stay for a while.

There’s always plenty of hot tea (or coffee, if you prefer), and a whole lot of grace, understanding, and friendship.

We’re in this together! I hope I’ll see you around…

Yours very truly,
Kristy

Photography: JenniMarie Photography

7 Comments

  1. Loida Cavazos says:

    Hello Kristy,
    I know you from our healthy group. Today I was just searching and your title and picture on that search caught my attention.

    Let me start saying: since I was born I have been in church, I am a pastor’s daughter, I’m not young, but God call me 3 yrs ago to be a pastor. I really appreciate your willingness to share with others what you are learning, just as you said [Well, because there aren’t a whole lot of willing mentors out there for you to learn from. (Sad, but true.)] And is true, is sad.

    Keep sharing, encourage them, one day they will be mentors for others.
    You will receive your reward.

    God bless you,
    Loida

    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Loida. God bless you in your calling. Christian mentors are so important!

  2. Thank you. I have been needing this safe place. God bless you.

  3. I love reading your blog Kristy! I am so glad I can find someone I can relate to and get encourage by. As a young pastors wife I am Greatful to read from women like you that are doing ministry and are so honest of the things we face but always pointing us back to the feet of Jesus. Thank you for your words they are uplifting. Blessings

  4. Kristy, your words are always an encouragement to me!

    Years ago, when my husband was ordained as a minister, I was convinced that his calling was to be a pastor. However, I never really thought of what that meant for me!

    Friendship with other minister’s wives has been such a help to me as I’ve grown in experience. I’ve been blessed with some dear friends and mentors that I’ve watched from a distance and up close, and they’ve helped me know what to expect just by their conduct. I’m so thankful for them!

  5. Hello Kristy! I’m not a pastor’s wife but I’ve been the daughter of a pastor’s wife (and a pastor, of course!) so I have a tiny insight into how much encouragement and mentoring like this is treasured. Thank you so much for sharing and may God bless you wonderfully! 🙂

  6. Hi Kristy! I’m saying this with a great big smile and a dear hope to hug you tight, I’m considering you now as my older sister 🙂 😀 <3 Each time I read through your blogs, the more I realize that I've made a wise decision clicking what I did among the search results when I was searching with the key word "I am a pastor's wife"

    I was actually hoping to find an online/downloadable copy of a book with that title which I've seen on one Christian bookstore back then when my husband and I were not married yet. Unfortunately, for some reasons we were not able to buy it then and out of longing I keep searching for it(I don't even have the author's name 🙂 )

    I don't need to mention what lead me to search for it again, right? 🙂 Most important is, which I think was God's leading, is finding your cottage. I'm not searching for the book now, but maybe I'll still try to go to that bookstore and see if they still have a copy. That will happen in the near future when we will have the chance to visit the place.

    For now, and I hope for very long, I will continue to stick around your cottage and enjoy the encouragement and strength I get every time I read. Thank you so much!

    PS. I started my journey as a pastor's wife at 21 and I'm now 23 with a strong-willed little man. This just shows how much I need a mentor. I'm so glad I've found one in you.

    Id' like to think I was the first one to read this open letter and to comment..yeheeey…so happy!

    Love,
    Mitch

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