August 25, 2014
Dark Days for a Pastor's Wife
April: Troubles within the church seem to be on an upward cycle and weighing on my husband. People are coping with unemployment, marital issues, difficult children, serious illness or the dissatisfaction of others.
Almost three years to the day after his cancer surgery, my husband gets a blood test that indicates chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a second type of cancer.
May: After several medical appointments for a definite diagnosis and three weeks of not being able to tell the church, we announce that their pastor, my husband, has cancer.
Because he must avoid infection, close contact with people, crowds and visiting the sick (essentially, his pastoral duties), he has to take a medical leave of absence.
June: The first cycle of chemotherapy is delayed, twice, because the medical insurance would not approve it.
Chemo is approved. A day after the first round of chemo ends, I get word that my mom is dying in an ICU in another state. My husband did most of the driving on previous trips to see my parents. This time, I have to go without him. I am the only child, which adds to my loneliness.
My mom dies.
July: My father is still grieving the loss of his wife when his only sibling, my favorite aunt, is diagnosed with acute leukemia.
August: My aunt dies. The summer seems like a blur of medical professionals and tears.
People are praying. In our church. At home. In other churches around the world. We can feel the effects of prayer every day in a way we have not before.
Our gifted associate pastor has previous experience in stepping in for a senior pastor. God is using his knowledge of the congregation for a smooth transition while my husband is sidelined.
Many people engage in mercy ministry. Health care advocacy. Transportation to my mother's bedside. Rides to medical appointments. Meals. Human contact. Yard work. Flowers and plants. These acts of kindness reflect God's love to us.
The cancer center staff is very compassionate. The treatments have fewer side effects than we anticipated. My husband's overall spirits are good.
We enjoy fun times with our immediate family. They are able to be here at the same time. It is so encouraging to see the next generations following Christ.
God refines my priorities by taking away people and things that I value. In addition, he helps me empathize with the sufferings of others in a new way.
These circumstances are really hard for me. My husband has his own struggles.
Being a pastor's wife adds a unique dimension to all of my life. And, I am often unclear about how God wants me to navigate through it, especially now.
Not everyone knows what to say to me. This makes it seem like they don't care.
Although I am sure where my true comfort lies, I don't always flee to Christ and His Word the way I know I should.
As we all do, I need God's grace in my life to "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1: 2-4.)