Pastors’ and Elders’ Wives, the Lord Knows You Are Weary
My pastor’s wife friend was nearly in tears. “We have to set up for church and take down every week. Then I lead the singing while I also parent my kids. Nearly every evening, we have someone from the church showing up at our house with an urgent need for hospitality or counseling. We’ve had people spending the night on an almost constant rotation. And I’m teaching the women’s Bible study.” She ended with a sigh. “I’m just so tired.”
Your own schedule might look different from my friend’s, but you can probably relate to her. Whether we are juggling nursery duty with teaching Sunday school or hospitality with coffee-hour clean-up, pastors’ and elders’ wives sometimes feel like we are doing everything. Even simply showing up to every worship service, outreach event, and baby shower can be a full-time job.
What’s more, the pandemic has added a new set of responsibilities. Many pastors’ and elders’ wives have been pressed into service as livestream directors, Zoom hosts, and virtual moms’ group facilitators.
Often, we are just so tired.
Thankfully, the Lord knows that. And in Psalm 103 he reminds us that his disposition toward his overwhelmed and stressed-out people is compassion:
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust. (vv. 13–14)
In the parallel lines of verse 13, the Lord affirms that he regards us with tenderness—the same tenderness that a father shows to his beloved children.
In fact, he shows us this tenderness because we are his children. We are the objects of his mercy, the recipients of his redemption, and the members of his family. When we feel like we can’t do one more thing, he looks on us with love.
Verse 14 tells us that God shows us this compassion because he knows us. Our migraine headaches and meeting fatigue and skipped meals are not hidden from him. “He remembers that we are dust,” the verse says.
God is our creator; he literally made our first parents from dust (see Gen. 2:7). The psalmist also says that God “knows our frame.” He knows it because he made it (see Ps. 139:13–16)—but also because he took our frame to himself. The creator of the universe became man—and so he is no stranger to hunger, thirst, and weariness.
He knows what it is to hear, “Everyone is looking for you” (Mark 1:37) and to have to get up and go back to ministry. He can “sympathize with our weaknesses” (Heb. 4:15), because he himself has experienced all the trials and temptations of the life that we live as human beings. He understands that serving the church requires our very lives. And seated at the right hand of the Father, Christ “is interceding for us” (Rom. 8:34).
Though we are weak, we continually carry the hope of his gospel “in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Cor. 4:7). As we go about our multitude of tasks, God uses even our human limitation to display his strength (see 2 Cor. 12:10).
Dear pastor’s or elder’s wife, the Lord knows you are weary. He knows your name and your struggles, he invites you to eat at his table, he prays for you, and he died for you. If he calls you into demanding ministry, it’s ministry that he willingly took up first.
And he promises you will not be alone (Matt. 28:20b). Although he ascended into the heavenly places, he leaves you with his Spirit, his Word, and his people. By them, he instructs you, encourages you, warns you, guides you, and comforts you.
Every moment of every day, Christ is near.
Megan Hill is the author of several books, including Partners in the Gospel: 50 Meditations for Pastors’ and Elders’ Wives and A Place to Belong: Learning to Love the Local Church. She serves as an editor for The Gospel Coalition and lives with her husband (a pastor) and four children in Massachusetts where they belong to West Springfield Covenant Community Church (PCA).
"The Quest for Rest in Augustine's Confessions" by Barry Waugh
"Our Own Propaganda: Wives Must Not Believe It" by Carl Trueman
"Are You Sick? Call Your Elders" by William Boekestein
Entering God's Rest by Ken Golden
Contentment: Seeing God's Goodness by Megan Hill
Note: This article is adapted from Partners in the Gospel: 50 Meditations for Pastors’ and Elders’ Wives by Megan Hill (P&R, 2021). Used here by permission.