Hi! I’m Melody Westbrook and I am a recovering Pastor’s Wife.
My husband and I recently resigned after 35 years of pastoring two churches. We moved from Oklahoma to Illinois in 1991 to plant a church in Edwardsville.
As we departed, my identity as pastor’s wife quickly faded. I was warned about the loss of identity and the effect it would have on me. But truthfully, I was relieved. I had secretly resigned that position years prior because I was tired of the pedestal I sat upon, therefore working tirelessly to crawl down.
Well, I am confident a large part was due to my own brokenness and fear of failure that lurked deep within. I no longer wanted to live within that bubble, fighting to escape the scrutiny of others. But, if I were to be gut wrenchingly honest, I wanted to run from the scrutiny I placed on myself to be everything for everyone.
Years ago, I walked into my counselor’s office depleted and torn. I will never forget what she said: “You are an empty shell!”
Being a pastor’s wife can strip you of who you are. You are tossed around like a lost sock in a dryer. You live your life to please others while you exist in the shadow of your husband.
In this existence, you survive the scrutiny of others judging your every move, not to mention what this does to your children. You smile lovingly as you listen to others criticize how your husband shepherds. You become the vessel for others to pour in their complaints as though you are the complaint box sitting in the foyer. They complain to you hoping that you will have a come-to-Jesus conversation with your husband at the dinner table. If they can’t get to him, they will go through you.
The list of the curses is endless, but what about the blessings? Are there any?
My answer is absolutely!
What other position warrants the opportunity to sit in conversation after conversation, hearing the hurts and triumphs of the souls of women? What other life space is allowed to be witness of life change in real time? As a pastor’s wife, you are given a front row seat to the most beautiful story ever told: “Christ in me, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
As a pastor’s wife, you become a catalyst for change—not in your church structure or political system, but change in the precious lives that you touch. So never minimize the role you play. Embrace it, love it, and live it!
Girls, the master is happy with you today! He is happy with your faithfulness. He is happy with your patience. He is happy with your exhaustion for the hope of his glory. He is happy for your rest, and he is happy that he created you to be exactly who he desires you to be!
March on, sister in Christ. March on!
Melody Westbrook blogs on the ministry life. She serves as mentor to women. She led breakout sessions at the 2022 IBSA Priority Women’s Conference. After 31 years as pastor of Metro Community Church in Edwardsville, her husband, Paul, joined the staff of IBSA as a leader in church planting.