General Ministry
Amber Cassady

Content Marketer for Simply Youth Ministry and Group Mission Trips. College girls small group leader. Coffee lover. Fan of hiking and skiing as much as she can!

When we get married to a pastor, or someone who works at the church we rarely realize how that will impact our own spiritual journey, or just our journey of church in general. It seems like someone forgot to mention that my church will become a job. My place of worship will become a stage for people to watch what I do. My safe place to learn and grow will become a place where all my insecurities are hung out for all to see and unfairly judge.

I remember my first lesson in how unsafe church was for me, I had signed up for a women’s Biblesudy like any good pastor’s wife. The very first morning sitting around the table getting to know each other I introduce myself and proudly give the ever staining title, “Pastor Maguire’s wife“. Unknowingly, probably unintentionally, the expectations of the women had been set, the filter in which all my words would be processed was in place, the Holy ways of how I should compose myself were assumed. All by those three little words. …And I had no idea!

So when we all continued the discussion of giving God our best, which means giving God our “firsts” (whatever that really means), i.e.- “first” of our money, “first” of our hearts, blah blah blah …”first” of our time… The Biblestudy was saying a good way to do this was to wake up first and early to spend time with Him. So then in a sense Jesus would get the “first” and “best” of us. So something about this struck ร‚ย chord in me. Maybe it was the fact that I hate waking up early, the fact that I had a small infant child who did not sleep through the night, maybe it was that I had nothing “best” about me at the time to give to God, I dont know! But I spoke up. I opened my mouth. I said, “NO WAY! God doesn’t want anything I have to offer at 5am!” And then I went on to challenge the Biblestudy of all the list of things we were being asked to do for God. Anyway, in the middle of my rant I paused long enough to see 8 women looking at me jaws dropped, and the most perplexed, confused looks on their faces. And one of the ladies asked me, “What does your husband think?” Crap. I’m a pastor’s wife. Crap. I’m no longer safe to share my struggles and pain. Crap. I should have it all together all the time. Crap. I should not struggle or wrestle to understand Gods Word, I should graciously, mindlessly, robotically smile and obey. Crap, I’m screwed.

So where do we go for real authentic relationships where we are allowed to wrestle, question, grow, scream and cry without being judged? Honestly, I have only done one other Biblestudy at our church in 10 years. Im not saying that is the way to go or the right thing to do, its just what it is for me. That’s how that went. I Prayed like crazy for safe people in my life and do have a couple wonderful safe people (not at my church) to learn and grow with, be stretched, and challenged. This is still a tricky one for me. Its something that always seems to slap me across the face when I least expect it. Just when im feeling safe and vulnerable, something or someone reminds me…”You’re the pastor’s wife!” “People see you differently!” For better or for worse. I do not advocate robotically smiling and spewing “Christianese” at people. I do think our role is amazing and life giving to others in the church. I love the idea of being authentic and real in my relationship with God as an example for others to see. But I also have to have my own filter, a “know your audience” kind of filter. But that in no way means I need to be fake or not myself. I do smile and nod quite a bit :). But I’m still sassy, and real, and a straight shooter.

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  • Lindsay says:

    I am so thankful for you. For the words the Spirit gives you that are always such a balm for my weary soul. Oh how I have been there!! Mine was a woman’s study on “The Excellent Wife”. Oh heavens!!! I should have known better. Now it’s funny. Then. . . well, it hurt. Thank God for those “safe people” that have come into my life since. And thank God for this “safe place”. I appreciate your ministry here and I’m glad you’re back. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Angela S says:

    We’ve been at our church for 6 years. I have no “safe people.” It’s tough sometimes. I miss when I was in grad school and had safe people all around me….but that was SIX years ago!!! For some reason God hasn’t provided those people here. I so appreciate your blog. This is my safe place!

  • April says:

    I can SO RELATE! I love being in ministry, but there are days when I wish I could just go to church…that’s it. with nothing else involved; just enjoy church!

  • Jenny says:

    So glad you’re back to writing! I too go through times where I wonder if I have anything edifying to say or write or if I should just be quiet for a while. I totally am with ya on this post too. I often joke that I must be wearing a sign that says “please tell me exactly what you think of me” around the church. I’ve been told I’m snobby and not “real” and I’ve had those who relish in the disobedience of my children just waiting for a grand moment to see them fail. Thankfully, I do have some that I can go to and my husband is AMAZING with his patience during my rants. Thanks for keepin it real here on your blog.

  • Amanda says:

    Thanks SO much for your post. Seriously, I was JUST talking to my husband, who’s a youth pastor, about this last night. I was talking to him about how lonely and isolated I’ve been feeling. It just is not possible for us to develop close friends within the church with whom we can fully be ourselves, expose our weaknesses, our struggles, our fears, etc. Luckily, the place in which we serve is the same place that I grew up so I do have some long-standing friendships with girls that I can trust. But it’s sad to me that I feel I won’t ever have that within our church setting. Of course there are some friendships that go deeper, but they can always only go so far. It’s so nice to have a blog like this to be able to share these things and just to KNOW that other pastor’s wives are going through the same struggles. Thanks again…this post spoke right to where I’m at! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Katie says:

    I think part of our job as Pastor’s Wives is to show that we are people too. I think it is great that you spoke your mind in that Bible Study – even though people gave you weird looks. The church needs more people asking the hard questions like that, and being real. Yes, as leaders are held to a higher standard, but on the other hand – what better way to show people that it is ok to be broken, struggling, questioning, etc than to be that yourself? But that doesn’t make it easy.

    I have actually worked really hard to make my church be my safe place. I want people to see me as a Pastor’s wife – but also as a real person. I want them to know that I don’t have it all together. I want them to know that it is ok that I don’t have it all together! I think it is important for people to know that we are all going to mess up – we all struggle with things! Including pastors and pastors wives!

    My husband and I feel extremely lucky that we have friends inside our church where we feel welcomed as ourselves. Our friends think of us as friends first, and as a pastor (and pastors wife) second. I know that is rare – but I also think it is extremely important.

    I have sort of made it my mission to break the stereotypes that have been put on me as a pastors wife. Maybe I’m too snarky, or too unrealistic, but I don’t want to have to put a mask on. And I don’t think I should have to. What do you think? Am I living in a dream?

  • Mikel says:

    I remember a couple of years ago, during a very trying time in the church we were attending, asking my husband,” Why can’t we go to church and just be members?” His response was,”We weren’t called to ‘just be members'” Consider me humbled. It’s hard. We are new to our town and church and still haven’t found a safe place, or any place outside of our ministry for that matter. Maybe in a few more years…

  • Erica says:

    Oh my heavens this was such a refreshing post! My “youth pastor” husband showed me your blog this week and I am absolutely loving it. I’m new to this whole pastor’s wife gig (2 years) and it has taken a lot for me to learn that my feisty, strong-woman, Mrs. Fix-It, does not go over well! I am so blessed that the other pastor’s wives in my church are wonderful confidants and encouragements and unafraid to be real with me. It is hard to go from wearing my heart on my sleeve, to limiting my opinions dramatically to ensure that I am not a discouragement or disappointment. Sheesh. It’s been tough, but it’s wonderful to read all about your heart and see the great ways our awesome God is working! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Suzie says:

    I really appreciate this post and it’s nice to know I’m not alone. We are in our last couple weeks of serving at the church we are at and will be moving in with my parents. My husband will be seeking secular employment at this point while we figure out where God is taking us next. Right now we live 4 1/2 hours away from our family and I really haven’t been able to connect with anyone in this community so I’m looking forward to going back to our home town where we have the friendships in which we can completely be ourselves. My husband and I are realizing that at this time in our lives we are not meant to minister to people in the way that the “traditional” church thinks people should be ministered to and I’m so excited about the possibilities that are going to open up when we aren’t limited by job descriptions and administrative duties that the board thinks are essential.

  • Tabitha says:

    I just found your blog and very much hope you come back to writing it. I could certainly relate to this post. I hope all is well for your family.

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