"Please forgive me if I sound unhappy. I know I just said all this but please know, I love the ministry, I love our church, I love our people, I am soooooooo blessed to serve the Lord. Any sacrifice is worth it. It is such a privilege to serve in the ministry."
Pastors' wives say things like this a lot after they've just unloaded to another pastor's wife. We always seem to tag on the apology just in case someone thinks we don't love our church, our people or serving the Lord.
We crave sharing with kindred souls what we can only entrust to those in vocational ministry who understand, yet we feel a pang of guilt once we've opened up -- like we're a bad spiritual Mom for doing so.
When Moms get together at a local MOPS meeting and talk about the challenges they face with their preschoolers, do they tag apologies on to the end of everything they say, in fear that someone will think they are bad mothers?
When mothers of teenagers talk to a guidance counselor about challenges they have with their kids, do they apologize for sharing and say that they hope they don't think they are terrible moms for seeking help?
When mothers take a break and have a "Moms day out" away from their children are they characterized as uncaring?
Why do we feel the need to convince people so much?
Nobody who really has their head on straight in ministry is going to think you're a bad spiritual mom because you:
- Need help with your spiritual kids
- Need a break from your spiritual kids
- Are feeling pressured with the demands of spiritual parenting and need encouragement, wisdom and motivation.
There are a tremendous amount of resources to meet the needs of natural parents - things like Focus on the Family. Nobody thinks it odd or unspiritual that parents go there in droves for encouragement to stay the course and do the right thing in parenting. Can you picture someone going to a bookstore and purchasing The Strong Willed Child or Dare to Discipline and saying to the cashier, "I'm ordering this but pleaaaaase know that I love my kid. I don't want to give them up! I'm soooo blessed to have them. Please, please, please know that!" Um...no. We'd think that was really unnecessary and kind of weird.
I propose that we relax. There is no condemnation here. Those of us who are seasoned understand completely the need for a time out. We understand that needing to talk doesn't mean you don't love those you've been entrusted with.
The discussion forum is open 24/7 here at PPN, and there is no need to apologize to us or work overtime to convince us about how happy you are despite the fact that right now you really, really need a listening ear and some encouragement.