April 13, 2015

Happiness: A People and a Place

In my ideal world, loving the people and the place where I am called contributes to becoming a happy pastor's wife. In my real experience, this doesn't happen overnight.

Thirty-five years ago, my family moved to Connecticut from the 500-member suburban Philadelphia church where my husband was the assistant pastor. At our old church, we had a pipe organ, a manse, a church office and staff, a love for the members and solid friendships.

Once we left Pennsylvania, things were not the same. For a few weeks, we had no permanent place to live. As the solo pastor of the church, my husband was the only staff member. The new church had 80 people, music was accompanied by a twelve-string guitar and, I am quite sure, we had more than our share of cranky Yankees. I could only see what I had given up. I'll admit it. I cried.

This is ironic to me because five years earlier, when my husband started seminary in Philadelphia, I hated the place. The people seemed snobby, and I felt that the nickname of "City of Brotherly Shove" was well-earned. Even in the church, this small town Baptist girl struggled to build relationships with the well-travelled, educated Presbyterians.

At first, I couldn't wait to get out of there. In one lonely moment, I said to my husband, "Wouldn't it be great if, when you finish seminary, you get a call to a small church in New England?" I am not sure why I said that.

In leaving Philadelphia, I suppose I was a bit like the Israelites. They forgot God's deliverance and how He provided for them in all the places where He led them. They longed for the old situation, but God had something better in mind. One big part of His blessing was to give the Israelites the land of Canaan (Num. 13:2), which flowed with milk and honey (Num. 13:27). However, the people were afraid of the obstacles ahead and said, "Why is the Lord bringing us into this land?" (Num. 14:3)

The God who called us to Philadelphia and turned it into the "City of Brotherly Love" is the same one who could sustain us in the land of Connecticut. But, I didn't trust God for the blessings that were awaiting us.

Over the years, God's grace was sufficient for me. He matured me and taught me to love the people and this place. Through it all, He made me into a happy pastor's wife.

Last Sunday was our 35th anniversary in the Connecticut church. An elder called my husband and me to the front of the sanctuary after the morning service. As he spoke words of appreciation for our many years of service, I looked out on a congregation of people whom I have learned to love. I could only see what God had given me. I'll admit it. I cried.


  1. How beautifully written! And, I can relate to everything (except the 35 years in one place). Thank you for honestly sharing the feelings we sometimes have as ministry wives.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Uptown Frog. I am glad this posting was helpful to you.

  2. We've been in our new location for seven months. I feel like I'm mourning the loss of my previous life. Thank you for this post.

    1. I am the kind of person who does not switch gears easily, but once I am on board, I am really on board. It might take more than 7 months but, I am happy to say, less than 35 years. There is hope, Anonymous. Thanks for commenting.

  3. This is precious. Happy 35 years!

  4. Individuals have tremendously various characters, convictions, religions, qualities, and standards however at last, regardless of which way we take through life we as a whole simply need to wind up in a spot where we can just be happy.סיינטולוגיה


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