"...It drained me so much that it almost ended my faith and destroyed my marriage. Long story, but we both learned some boundaries, and that sometimes if there is nobody to do it, it just does not get done."
I thought about those two sentences for a long time, and I wanted to hear more. Lucky for us, Gaby decided to share her story.
The last year in the first church Matt pastored brought to a head all the rookie mistakes we had made as a new pastoral family, and we almost did not walk away whole. The church was small and the needs were many so we stretched ourselves thin serving, working, and giving without taking the time to replenish ourselves spiritually or emotionally as individuals and as a couple. By the time we realized it, we were in trouble, with a new baby and a shaky marriage.
Just at the right time, God in his wisdom intervened, and we received a call from another church a few hours away. It was a chance to start new and do it better this time. From the first interview we explained to the church we would not be a “two-for-one” package. The church was Matt’s to pastor, and I would be his support at home, his biggest fan, but not his right hand person. “I want to be a member of the congregation” I told them. I would serve, as all Christians should, but only as God directed, prayerfully and with His guidance.
Loneliness is one of the most difficult struggles I had in our first church. It stemmed from a combination of not knowing how long we would stay and not understanding how to build relationships with the women in our congregation because, after all, my husband was their pastor, and at times, I didn’t know how to move past this dynamic. I have learned much since those days, and I have some wonderful friends in our current congregation. But, always loving, God has given me the gift of two Christian girlfriends from outside our church who never see me as “the pastor’s wife.” I am only just Gaby, and that’s all they ever expect me to be. It is freeing and they are my safe place whenever I feel the pressures of my role.
From experience, we learned to guard our family as a priority. Matt takes a day off each week that we can spend with the kids and, emergencies barred, no church work is done. We learned to be each other’s accountability partner. If he feels I’m doing too much, he reminds me, and I guard his time at home jealously. There are still times when I feel overwhelmed, but I have learned that it is fine to take a break or to say “no” and that the only One I really need to aim to please is gracious, forgiving, and understanding.