Pastors’ wives (PW) and women in ministry are incredible sources of wisdom and creativity as they use their gifts in leadership and service. I highly value their insight, faithfulness, and diligent labor. That’s why I’m hosting Wednesdays Are for Women. Each week, we’ll hear from a different PW or ministry leader and gain her perspective on God’s activity on her ministry team, her local church, or the issues facing church leaders today.
Today, I’m throwing my two cents in about life in ministry on holiday weekends.
I’ll never forget it. Easter, 5 years ago. As my husband and I were shaking hands and hugging necks after each of our weekend services at Mountain Lake, I heard person after person relay their afternoon plans.
“We’re having lunch at my grandmother’s house.”
“All of my brothers and sisters are getting the kids together for a huge egg hunt.”
“We have 13 people coming to our house for an Easter feast!”
“Our entire family is in town, and we have an afternoon full of food and fun planned.”
I was genuinely happy for these friends, but after about 51 comments like that, I began to feel lonely, and I found myself crying in my husband’s office. You see, my extended family lives in different states, so munching on some fried okra with them wouldn’t be possible, and I was feeling the sting of one of the small sacrifices we’ve made to be in ministry – we don’t live near any family. To make matters worse, I didn’t even have a meal planned for my family. No celebration. Our focus was the work we were doing at church, not working in the kitchen.
We went home that day to hot dogs instead of an Easter feast, and we vegged out in front of the TV instead of laughing with family and friends. After multiple worship services, that’s all we had energy for.
That’s when I made the decision. Life in ministry didn’t have to mean missing out on the fun of the holidays. While we had done a great job teaching our kids the value and meaning of these special days, we had missed the mark on celebrating the fun side! No more. I made a plan. Since I didn’t have time to cook a big meal on Sundays, I now cook our holiday meals 1-2 days in advance. Easy stuff that can be re-warmed. I find a family or two that are in the same boat as me – no family nearby – and invite them over. Oh, and I make sure plenty of caffeine is on hand because we’re usually dragging by 2PM on Sunday.
My planning doesn’t stop there. My kids get their Easter baskets on Saturday, since Sunday morning is full of ministry prep. Giving the baskets a little earlier means I have more time to focus on them. And, to top it all off, I give Easter treats to our entire Ministry Team, too. Nothing extravagant. Just little tokens on their desks (for their spouses and kids, too). Life in ministry might be lonely for them, just like it can be for me.
Since that Easter 5 years ago, my plan has been working. My family has created some fabulous holiday memories, the sting of loneliness hasn’t been part of it, and I’ve felt the joy of brightening a few others’ day, too.
So, there you have it. My plan. Life in ministry may look different sometimes, but it doesn’t have to be lonely. What about you? Do you have a plan to enjoy the holidays that we help others celebrate? You deserve to celebrate, too! Make a plan of your own, and create the fun moments you want your family to remember.