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Showing posts with label church hurt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label church hurt. Show all posts

21 March

When the Offense Isn't Against You.

One of the challenges ministry wives face is that when things are going badly for our husbands at church, often we can’t directly respond. We see the toll it takes when he drags in after another difficult board meeting; we encourage him when he gets blindsided by another petty critic. And as Karl Vaters recently wrote for Christianity today, those snapshots our husband bring home can be harder on us than on them. Where our husbands can be proactive in handling conflict, we can only react. And while they get to walk through the process of reconciliation, we only hear about it secondhand. How can we respond when the offense is against our husbands, not ourselves?

  • Acknowledge your own hurt. It may not be your job on the line, but challenges to your husband’s leadership still feel personal. Sometimes we try to dismiss secondary pain, saying things like, “It wasn’t about me, so I should just let it go.” But stuffing feelings into a closet doesn’t make them go away. In times of church conflict, we need to identify what  we feel and why we feel it. “I feel threatened and insecure because I’m afraid my husband is going to lose his job.” “I feel angry because it upsets me to see my husband hurt unfairly.” “I feel betrayed that people can be nice to my face, then gossip and complain about my husband behind his back." Acknowledging our hurts brings them into the light so we can examine them, work through them, and heal.
  • Walk through the process of forgiveness. We may not get the chance to be on the forefront of reconciliation, but we can still walk through our own process of forgiveness. Forgiveness is an essential tool for ministry longevity. I’ve written more about the process of forgiveness at my blog, but the heart of forgiveness is accepting Christ’s payment as sufficient for the offenses committed against us and trusting him to heal our hurts. We don’t have to demand payment or retribution when Christ has already paid it all.
  • Choose blessing over bitterness. One of the great dangers ministry wives face is the temptation to give in to bitterness and cynicism. Satan wants us bitter—focusing only on the bad and viewing the church through skeptical, untrusting eyes. But there’s a way of escape: blessing is the antidote to bitterness. As God brings healing to our souls, we can choose to be channels of blessing. We follow Christ’s example in offering grace and mercy—even to those who have hurt us, wounded us, and betrayed us. We keep loving--not putting ourselves in jeopardy, but offering kindness and choosing to do good. Bitterness closes us off. Blessing opens us up so we can continue to experience God’s mercy and grace as we pass them on to others.
When the offense isn't against us, we don't always get to personally experience the reconciliation process. But we can still look to Christ for healing, grace, and the courage to keep loving well. Be blessed.

About the author:
Leigh Powers is a pastor's wife, Bible study and devotional author, freelance editor, and mother of three from small-town West Texas. She is passionate about helping women find hope and healing by meeting God in his word. You can connect with Leigh on Facebook or Twitter, or follow her at her blog: My Life. His Story (www.leighpowers.com).

08 November

There's Always Something to be Thankful For

November is typically the time of year when my Facebook newsfeed fills up with, "Today I'm thankful for..." every day of the month, yet those same people quickly lose their spirit of thankfulness as soon as the month is over. 

Most lose it the day after Thanksgiving when they hit the Black Friday sales.

I've had times when my heart has been more thankful than others, but even in the rotten periods I've learned there is always something to be thankful for.

We had several years of trying times in ministry at several separate churches. Some were so bad we would ask each other from time to time if we were the problem because the opposition was so great. We worked for several churches I wouldn't invite people to. I had people ask me where I went to church, and I'd tell them and then tell them where they could find a good church. There were times when I'd make the five mile drive to church, stop halfway and return home, call him and say, "I just can't do it today."

But there was always something to be thankful for.

The view of the river from my back porch became a sanctuary during those years. Holding my children close was like air in my lungs. My job that took me out of town a few evenings a week gave me confidence when speaking in front of groups and provided a boost to my self-esteem when I felt beaten down by people at church. I was even thankful for the rumors spread about me because I knew they weren't true. (I'm still married, unlike the rumors said, and still alive and in good health, unlike other rumors).

Sometimes the thankfulness was simply being glad that I wasn't as miserable as the person complaining to me or gossiping about me. 

Through the years I've strived to keep our home a peaceful place so even when church isn't the peaceful environment, my family knew home was a haven. Home was a place where we didn't talk about one another, where we could find quiet if we needed it, where we were free to laugh and be ourselves, and where we lived life, making sure we were the same people in front of each other as we were anywhere else we went.

Today I'm thankful that we raised children who love the Lord, despite witnessing how cruel His children could be. I'm thankful that we went through the tough times we did because it made us stronger leaders. I'm thankful for all of the seasons because God has always shown His faithfulness.

About the Author:

Suzanne Schaffer has been in full-time ministry with her husband Wayne since 1992, pastoring in Pennsylvania and Illinois. She has two grown children and spends most of her days either writing or reading with a cup of tea close by. She enjoys attending auctions and sometimes brings home more stuff than she knows what to do with. She believes life is too short for mediocre food and insists on having good chocolate in the house at all times. You can connect with Suzanne at her blog, www.notenoughchocolate.blogspot.com


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