Have you ever felt alone? I’m hoping it’s not just me…but I often feel like I am set apart- different from others- because of my position as a pastor’s wife. A few years ago all the couples in my Sunday school class were invited to a party…except me and my husband. We found out later that they were serving alcohol at this party and didn’t want the preacher to ruin their fun. It was the first time I realized that people looked at me differently than all the other women in the church and community. People say that pastor’s wives can’t (or shouldn’t) have close friends in their church or ministry areas. In the first 12 years of ministry I set out to prove them wrong. I allowed others to see the real me, to see that I’m human just like them, and to grow close to the women that God put in my path. Some were instantly uncomfortable and chose to keep me at arm’s length. Others were skittish, fearing that I was just looking for sermon illustrations to pass on to my husband. But a few allowed me to see inside their hearts and chose to accept me as a friend and confidant. Recently, though, a few of those close friends have left me because I didn’t live up to their expectations. I’ve tried to make amends and even attempted to go back to being their pastor’s wife since they were no longer interested in being friends, but their choice has been made. They were too uncomfortable around me. But I don’t think it’s because I’m married to the pastor. I think they would’ve been uncomfortable no matter my role simply because I choose to live completely sold out for Christ. That make some people uncomfortable.
Mary the mother of Jesus must have felt the same way. I’m sure that when people found out she was expecting a child out-of-wedlock they openly condemned and alienated her. Even many who called themselves her friends probably distanced themselves from her. Choosing to obey God and follow His plan wholeheartedly led her down a very lonely path. There are some really great thoughts on this subject at one of my favorite blogs. You can read about it here:
God has been comforting me in my “aloneness.” One great comfort has been the “Leading and Loving It” blog mentioned above. This is a blog for pw’s and ministry wives that is honest and thoughtful and encouraging. It has reminded me that I am not alone. There are others out there with similar struggles and victories.
Another comfort has been during my quiet time. I’ve been reading A.W. Tozer “The Radical Cross.” It’s a collection of Tozer’s writings and one in particular really hit the nail on the head. “The Saint Must Walk Alone” was just what I needed. He points out that the great saints and prophets of old all tended to “walk alone.” Their calling from God was more important than building a human following. Even Jesus was alone in His time of greatest need. Tozer points out: “You cannot carry a cross in company. Though a man were surrounded by a vast crowd, his cross is his alone and his carrying of it marks him as a man apart.” This loneliness we find in the world (and often in the church as well) is actually a sign that we are drawing closer to Christ. One last quote from Tozer:
“The person who has passed on into the divine presence in actual inner experience will not find many who understand him. A certain amount of social fellowship will of course be his as he mingles with religious persons in the regular activities of the church, but true spiritual fellowship will be hard to find. But you should not expect things to be otherwise. After all, you are a stranger and a pilgrim, and the journey you take is not on your feet but in your heart…and who but God can walk there with you.”
All that to say this: You are not alone. God is with you. You are not alone. There are others out their choosing to walk the narrow way, too. You are not alone. Anyone who forsakes all else to follow God’s calling on their life will feel lonely at times- lonely but not alone.