We’ve talked for some time now about the need for a safe place where pastors can find help and healing for their hurts, habits, and hang-ups. That’s the purpose of CPR (Celebrate Pastors in Recovery). But something we haven’t talked about nearly enough is the need for a safe place where spouses of pastors can find help and healing. The need is just as great, if not more so. The depth of feelings of isolation, loneliness, and fear in the midst of struggles is often greater for spouses than for pastors.
Several years ago an old college friend and his wife were leading a church in the Midwest. They went through a period of time in which they experienced some struggles in their marriage- nothing of an immoral nature, just struggles. She needed a friend in whom she could confide and who would be a prayer partner concerning the need. There was only one woman in the church she felt she could completely trust. That woman was a little older and had been one of the apparent spiritual leaders among the women of the church for many years. One morning, my friend’s wife bared her soul to this church leader as a confidant. Well, you probably know where this story is heading. Turns out, the woman was not trustworthy at all. And it was only a brief time later that other key leaders in the church were made aware of my friends’ struggles. To make a longer story shorter, my friend ended up having to leave that church, both of them tragically broken over the betrayal that had taken place.
Pastor’s spouses, just as much as pastors, desperately need a safe place where they can find healing, too. That’s where CPR groups for spouses can be of critical help. Listen to the following two testimonials I have received in recent weeks from pastor’s spouses who have courageously walked through the 12 steps of Celebrate Recovery in a CPR group for spouses…
Being a pastor’s wife can sometimes demand perfection from this world. I believe it’s easy to feel pressure from this world to be someone we’re not. I am a child of God dealing with sin, striving to accept His grace daily, realizing that the enemy desires for my life to be entangled by his lies, yet my Savior is beckoning me to freedom everyday. And I’m understanding more and more that I cannot do this alone. What a beautiful thing…I don’t have to walk alone, none of us do. My pride, control issues, codependency issues, and performance addictions can destroy me. But with the help of my Heavenly Father, my spouse, accountability team, and others around me, I can strive to walk with freedom with true joy on this earth, as I look forward to being supremely happy with our Father one day. I am grateful… for the Lord’s work in and through this ministry. I am thankful for brokenness, and for a group of women who know me well enough to encourage me, ask me hard questions, pray for me, and love me. I am grateful for a program that is a tool to help find healing and restoration from our Jesus. Praying others will journey through this someday.
Being in the position I was in as a pastor’s wife put me at a disadvantage when it came to discussing the real hard and very deep things that people experience. I felt that I couldn’t share the ugly stuff for fear that people would view me or my husband differently than the position that we held. I needed to look like I held it together at all times. But the truth was that I faced all sorts of struggles and trials… I found that being a part of a CPR step study group for pastor’s wives was truly a blessing. I discovered that my struggles aren’t isolated to just me. We all have stuff! I got to share without feedback or fear. You don’t realize how much vocalizing your heart can also help heal it. It was a wonderful experience to have been a part of that group of women. I no longer believe that I am singled out because I happen to be married to a pastor but I am responsible for allowing God to use my hurts, hang-ups and habits to glorify Himself.
Help spread the word. The need is enormous. We are ready and willing to be of help any way we can in getting CPR groups started for pastors and for spouses. If you are interested or you know someone who may be, complete the 4-question interest survey in the “Connect” box on the right hand side of this page and you’ll receive a confidential reply from us shortly.