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24 January

A Pastor's Wife Asks: Moving Cross Country?

Note: If you're a pastor's wife who has a question you'd like answered here, please see our contact page.

From the inbox:
   Q. Hi Everyone! We are moving soon to a different church in a different part of the country. I'm very excited! I would like to hear from other pastors' wives who have moved to a very different area from where they have been before. What recommendations do you have as I begin new relationships and activities?  
Thank you! Linda

Dear Linda, 
First of all, congratulations on the big move! I'm glad to hear you're excited. That enthusiasm will be a close ally for you in the weeks and months ahead -- changes like this are hard, even when they're positive ones.

My advice is to be aggressive in developing relationships and hesitant with your involvement in church activities. That doesn't mean you refuse to lend a hand where it's needed. By all means, pitch in and wash dishes and tables or help organize a short-term project.

But, long-term commitments to a specific ministry within the church? They can wait.

I generally allow myself at least 6 months to become familiar with the new church family and its ministries before taking any plunges. It's a tough adjustment -- a frustrating time when you're itching to use your gifts that suddenly feel so squelched; but oftentimes it is necessary.

I've learned that just because God called me to help with _____ ministry in our previous church, does not automatically mean that He wants me to do the exact same thing at the next one. He may have someone else for that job.

A new assignment generally requires new instructions. Pray, wait, watch, and listen; then listen, watch, wait, and pray some more!

In the meantime, get to know the people around you. Get to know the culture and its nuances. Since you're moving so far away, the people will be very different. You need to spend some time just grasping the social norms of the area, in order to help yourself adjust.

Use that precious free time (that will fade away all-too-quickly) to invite people over for meals and to go places where you'll find people in the community with similar interests. You will cherish those relationships during times when loneliness sets in.

Speaking of loneliness -- think ahead to times when you're most likely to feel isolated. Go ahead and make some tentative plans to be somewhere else on those days with people you enjoy. Start some new traditions. Give yourself something to look forward to, rather than something to dread.

And most of all, take it easy on yourself. Even in the best of situations, you may find yourself in tears at times, wishing you were back home. You may want to journal your thoughts or call a trusted friend -- whatever helps you process through the emotions.

Blessings on your upcoming move.

p.s. Do you have any thoughts for the pastor's wife moving across the country? Any thoughts on the advice already given? Leave a comment below to help a sister pw out...

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