Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Ministry Girlfriends

A few weeks ago, the topic of friendships arose in my bible study class.  For some reason, the teacher wanted to know if I had close friends.  Silently I voiced, “Well duh!  Of course, I have close friends.  I am a woman and God gave women a need for girlfriends.”  However, I responded to the question, “Yes, I have many close friends who are allowed to be in my inner circle.”   I further reminded the teacher and fellow classmates that even Jesus chose the disciples who were also his friends. However, a couple were allowed to be his closest companions.

This week I want to delve a bit in to my perspective on two areas of friendships-staff wives and congregation wives.  I have touched on this before and there are far more qualified people who have much more knowledge than me on this subject.  Just remember these are my opinions.

First, let me say I wish I could gather all my girlfriends together for a beach trip/chocolate feast.  Alas, time, finances, and schedules restrict the trip.  So, let’s imagine we are all on some white sandy beach with a salty breeze giving us a “I don’t care” hairstyle, and we are munching on coconut M & M’s (that’s the favor for beach trips).

As a pastor’s wife, I am fortunate to have many girlfriends whose husbands are also in the ministry.  We come from different walks of life and vary in age.  We serve in large congregations and very small rural churches.  Some of these ladies are here locally with me and others are scattered across the nation and world. 

Ministry girlfriends understand each other.  We walk the muddy ministry path together.  We get that we have great days and really stinky days.  We know that there are times we need to vent our frustrations to girlfriends who understand.  (Let’s face it, we can’t vent to a church member about another church member).  We celebrate joys.  We cry when one of us hurts.  We hold each other accountable.  We support one another in prayer.  And we laugh . . . a lot!  What is most important to me is that there is no judgment or jealousy.  If one of us is struggling with an un-Christ-like attitude, we simply pray for her and encourage her.  The fact that we serve in different size church does not cause envy because we all know that every church has its good and bad sides.

Like I said earlier, not all my ministry girlfriends are in my church or local.  I have a great relationship with the staff wives at our church.  I always know they are a phone call away.  Many of my girlfriends are in our association.  We fellowship once a month.  There is no agenda.  We simply fellowship and laugh.  These ladies are so encouraging and supportive to one another.  I am able to stay in touch with my long-distance ministry girlfriends by phone, text, or social media.  Just getting a simple “how are you doing?” from one of them brightens my day.  Here in Arkansas, our convention has a private Facebook page for the wives.  We can share prayer request, joys and even vent some. 

It’s funny but I have two ministry girlfriends-one here in Arkansas and one in Tennessee-and we are constantly texting one another.  We do not see each other often so texting is our mode of communication most of the time.  We check up on one another, solicit godly advice, and share funny things that have happened.  I truly love these two ladies.

Let’s face it, ministry is extremely hard.  We are facing a day when people do not want anything to do with the local church or sound biblical teaching.  As a result, our husbands get discouraged and need our support.  That in turn leaves us needing a safe place for encouragement and uplifting.  My ministry girlfriends provide a place of safety.  They are my encouragement.  They provide godly wisdom on dark days.  They laugh and cry with me.   They are true God given friends!

.  How about you?  Share with us how your ministry girlfriends encourage and support you.

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