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Rally the Troops!…

 —  February 8, 2011 — 34 Comments

I received this email from a YP wife. I know, and YOU know she is not alone. We have all been here (some are still here) and can empathise. This is what this blog is for, to support and encourage our unique community of youth pastor’s wives. Rally around Ariel :). :

I just wonder how many youth minister wives feel isolated. I have been a youth minister wife for over a year and still feel isolated. Everyone at our church is so sweet and loving but we have no real support system or friends. Very few people are close to our age, we are in are early 20′s with a six month old) at church so that contributes to the issue but still, I feel so isolated and lonely. Everyone sees me as the youth minister’s wife but NOT ME, and even if they do no one has taken the time to REALLY get to know me.? Anyone else feeling alone?

Amber Cassady

Amber Cassady

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Marketer for Simply Youth Ministry and Group Mission Trips. College-aged girls small group leader. Coffee lover. Fan of skiing and hiking as much as she can!

34 responses to Rally the Troops!…

  1. Oh, Ariel!!! I know how you feel. We have been at our church 5 years (next month will be our 5 year anniversary). We really have no friends to speak of. It’s a terrible feeling. I’m such an extrovert that I have never had NO friends before. We are in the same boat as you with having no people our age in our church. I really don’t have any advice for you as I’m in the same place as you. I wish you lived close by!!!!

  2. Um, yes absolutely. We have been at our church for 11 years. Yep, ELEVEN. And it is rare a day goes by I don’t wish I had a friend here who would see me for me. We have a few couples that we are sort of friends with and everyone is friendly of course but I don’t have a single girlfriend here that I can call up if I want to go shopping, have coffee, whatever. One thing I am learning is, I need to reach out. I am very much an introvert and home-body which I know has only made my feelings of isolation worse. Plus, this is a small community. There are plenty of people our age in our church but they all are “locals” and even after 11 years we are still sort of “outsiders”. It’s tough. And I spent a long time being pretty bitter about it. How have I overcome that bitterness? It’s tough. I have worked hard to find friends outside of the church (and this small community) where there is less focus on what my husband does and more focus on who I am. But it is very much out of my comfort zone to be the one pursuing friendships so I probably don’t do it as much as I should. I’m sorry, I wish I could be more help. But know you aren’t alone. My grandmother was a senior pastor’s wife so she warned me about the isolation, even so, I don’t quite think I was prepared. Big hugs to you!

  3. We’re still newbies at our church…my hubby’s been the youth pastor for about 7 months (in our 4 years of marriage, this is church #3 that we’ve served at). We’re in the same boat though…no real friendships here yet. Our church is made up of mostly 60+ year olds, so we long for connection with young 20/30-something families (especially now that we’re expecting our first baby this summer). Being a pastor’s wife is such a unique role. We want to build solid relationships with the people we’re around, but at the same time need to protect our husband, children, and our own hearts. The biggest thing for us while we wait for those friendships has been to develop solid friendships with people who aren’t connected with the church we’re at (unfortunately those friends are now a state away from us). Thankfully, we have facebook and email to keep in touch and the internet to connect with other PW’s who know what this life is like. There’s some great online communities out there for pastor’s wives (check out Leading & Loving It) that can be a really good outlet. Hubby and I lean more on each other now than we ever have and continue to pray that God will provide us with young families to build deep friendships with. Whether that’s in a few months as we continue to help the church rebuild, or in a few years, we know that God has led us here and He usually knows what He’s doing, even if we have no idea what’s going on. It’s definitely encouraging to me to know I’m not the only one who often feels lonely…I hope it encourages you as well knowing that you’re not alone in this!

  4. I’ve been wrestling with this feeling for a while now. YP hubby and I have been here at our first church (as a couple) for about 4 months. There are two couples who are in their early 30′s and one of those is our pastor and wife. We live in a small town where we are total outsiders and are treated as such even by people in the church. Hubby is my best friend here but I long for female friendships like I had when we were at seminary. I have been praying that God would give us a love for the people here that might result in friendships or at least having youth parents invite us to sit with them at their kid’s basketball games (that was my heartache last night.) I will pray for you as well.

  5. I too understand this. I’m still a newlywed and new to being a minister’s wife, but we’ve been here just over 4 months, which is still recent i realize, but there aren’t people in their 20s at our church, and we’re at a modern-ish church, but the area just isnt’ full of young people. it’s hard. to go from college and being around all your friends your age, to a new place, with no young people, so hard.

  6. Yes, Ariel, I’ve definitely felt that way before and I’m so sorry you are too. Are there any other churches in your area that also have youth pastors? My husband has made it a point to contact other youth pastors in the area (regardless of denomination) just to meet up over dinner. It’s been so cool to meet other couples who are going through similar things and understand what it means to be in youth ministry. It’s a great way to make friends because you already have so much in common.

  7. Soooooo…. where do you girls all live?! :) Seems like there’s a common denominator! Seriously!! We’re at church #2 (3 years at the first church and almost 3 here) and there are times that I still feel isolated. When it comes down to it, no one is really interested in being friends with the pastor! My husband has even had a hard time connecting with other YPs in the area who are in line with his thinking/beliefs. I go out with the ladies in my Sunday School class once a month (most are 5-10 years older than I am), but I wouldn’t call any of them “close” friends. When your hubby is on staff, you can only be but so close to church members, anyway! You can’t chat about all that you might like/need to, simply because it often isn’t appropriate to share certain things! Hang in there… try to cherish the glimpses of the sun through the rain!!

  8. piefers@hotmail.com February 9, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    We, too, have just celebrated five years at this church. Isolated is definitely a word that is used a lot at our house. There have been times where I’ve been pretty connected (usually to youth staff) and with each kid, it’s been less and less connection at the church. I am so thankful for a couple dear friends here and a small group (although one is moving next month, and one has joined the church). These relationships have helped me because they were outside of the church, but recently God has SO convicted me of this: if I love Him, I will love the church. There is discretion to be used when pursuing friendships (and a lot of prayer for wisdom and “safe” women to trust), but I truly believe there have to be women in each of our churches to bless and be blessed by…
    my struggle comes when I get tired of pursuing and just want to be me with some real friends. Seems lately another lesson God’s been showing me is to pursue Him more intimately and not find false idols in friends. It still can be lonely and isolating, though.

  9. You’re in my prayers, Ariel. I did really well being away from my family & old friends until we had children (10 yrs of infertility), and then it hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s been 7 years and I still struggle. I envy others who can drop their kids off at the grandparents’ house & get a little break. Lots of older ladies were surrogate grandparents to our pastor’s kids but not the youth pastor’s. It’s a lonely place.

    Praying right now for God to send you godly surrogate grandparents to give you a break when you need it and some great friends that you can trust – possibly YP wives at neighboring churches?

  10. Thank all of you ladies! It makes me feel better to know that I am not the only one, but it also worries me a little that it may never get better, haha. No but really I need to not let the “little things” keep me down and appreciate where we are. We are trying to make friends with other youth pastors in the area, my husbands meets with them often, it is just a matter of getting both families together. I need to make more of an effort to get out into the community and make friends there. Seriously though thanks to all of you I was able to make more sense of a very bad day. @Mollie I am in Texas, in the Hill Country, it is mostly a retirement community, but the kids who do live here really need a youth program. And thank you Amanda for taking the time to help me out! :)

  11. Ariel, where in the hill country??? I’m from Fredericksburg and currently live in Waco.

  12. Guess I should finish my thought before I hit post….

    I have been a YP wife since last May. This past Monday I came home from a church ladies dinner of all things and told my husband “I just kinda feel like I don’t really have any close friends around here.” My amazing college girlfriends are now scattered across the state and country and we still keep in touch as best we can. It’s kind of a tough place to be in. If you are close by, maybe we could connect, or I’m always up for emailing or whatever!

  13. I have been a youth pastors wife for 21 years & definitely know how you feel. The years have taught me that having people your own age around is nice to be sure but, if you look for, it you can find common ground with almost everyone. One person I have the most interesting conversations with is a gentleman who is 87 years old. (I don’t mind telling you I am 42) Just take one day at a time. People will appreciate you for you if you give them the chance. I’ll be praying for you. The one thing I wished people realized about pastor’s wives in general…not every gift you bless us with needs to have scripture on it. :)

  14. Recently, after attending a missions luncheon, my husband shared with me that one of the missionaries gave two things to know about mission life: 1) You will always be an outsider. (She did go into greater detail on this) 2) Make your home your sanctuary. Often times, my hubby and I feel like missionaries in our church/area. Like all of you, we do not have any friends here. Our church actually consists of primarily very unfriendly people which has made it more difficult. And trusting others is so hard. Thank the Lord, we have a close relationship with the Sr. Pastor and his wife. And lately, my husband has started to meet with a couple of other youth pastors in the area. For me, I have learned to call my out-of-state friends and family a lot. It’s lonely but at least I married my best friend and God has given us hope for the future!! I have to think that somehow things will get better. Our last church wasn’t like this. In fact, we had many friends…so that gives me hope. There are seasons for everything. May these lonely seasons cause us to turn more to God and deepen our relationships with our spouses. Blessings to all of you…

  15. I am right there with you! We are currently in the process of change in our church, and in the last 2 years, I have been hurt by people I thought were my friends in the church. It is definitely a hard place to be in…without the internet I would be lost. I wish there were more ways for youth pastor’s wives to connect….I think we a lot of us are in a similar place, but struggle to find people to share those struggles with. Prayers for all of us tonight!

  16. I am there. I grew up in this church and am bless to be here. I still have my friends around, but since I have become the youth pastor’s wife things are different. We are at the chruch all the time and quite frankly sometimes just want to be home. But then there are times where I do miss the friendship between close people. I can’t just let things out when I want or vent things that are going on in the church. I have struggled with being lonely. But I have realized in the last year or so, for me, I have been trying to fill a hole that God can only fill. Also, God has provided some amazing women that have poured into my life. I have a pretty decent relationship with the pastor’s wife, who has also been in that situation.
    Anyway, I am praying. I completely understand. I pray that God fills that void greatly!

  17. As I read all of the comments, I reflect on my life as a youth pastor’s wife and too understand what you all are saying. My husband has been in the ministry for 17 years now and it does get rather lonely. We have been at our current place of ministry for 9 years now and still no close friends to speak of in the church. I continually prayed that God would give me a very special friend that I could talk to and have as a sound board and such and I found a group of ladies in the strangest way. My three children finally became school age and when they found good friends at school, I kind of looked into the mothers of the children my kids were friends with…one mother, in particular, and I hit it off and I found out she was a christian and she invited me to a bible study at her church…it’s not my church but still has the same beliefs that I have. I tried it and the ladies there so accepted me and have loved me now for me and not that I am a pastor’s wife for three years. I love these ladies and can call on them and talk to them about lots of things and they can give me great godly advice because they are outside the walls of the church my husband works at. Maybe there is a church in your area that has a mom’s group or a play group for children that you might be able to join and find that special friendship there. God shows us many things outside our walls. Praying for you today, Ariel!

  18. I hear you on the isolation thing. I think it takes a few years and even more recent we started getting together with other local youth pastor family’s that has helped alot.

    Sorry on a different note my hubby has a birthday coming upand we are on a tight budget. I wanted to suprise him and plan a weekend get away. Anyone know a good affordable place in east Texas / Tyler area?

  19. @Mary…there are great Bed&Breakfasts in Jefferson, which is just north of Marshall, about an hour east of Tyler. Longview has more restaurants, etc than most cities in east Texas, so you could find some things to do there as well. Depending how far you want to go, Shreveport, La. has cool hotels and you could spend some time on the Boardwalk shopping, hanging out, etc. (I’m an ex-East Texas girl…my heart still misses the humidity and pine trees!!!) Hope that may help, and feel free to email me!

    Also, I competely identify with the feeling of not being known. We’ve just reached our 2 yr mark here, and people assume they know me, but almost no one (like 1-2 people) have actually taken the time and risk to get to KNOW me. Everyone is very friendly and nice to our family, but it’s hard most of the time (and we live far from our family) and feel alone and unknown.

  20. Thanks I’ll check it out:)

  21. From the time I started dating my husband I became aware of the wonderful life that I call the fishbowl. It seems that everyone at church is watching you no matter where you are. Meanwhile, you are swimming around in this little world trying to live some kind of normal life. It really took a while to actually make close friends and then August God called us to a new church. I know from the past that it takes time to make friends. My current prayer is not only for friendships but to also be at peace in the aloneness. God has blessed me with a wonderful group of staff wives of varying ages. My desire is to learn all I can from their experiences.

    Ariel, I will be praying that God puts someone in your path that you will be able to confide in. As a very wise youth minister’s wife once told me Remember this is just a season in your life. Seasons change. Just hold on until the Spring. :)

  22. Definitely having the same isolation struggles here, there are others our age, but I get frustrated with the expectations that they put on everything I do and how my kids behave. There is no one to be myself with and have a “safe” friendship with.

  23. I totally agree with the isolation aspect. My husband is also the YP at a church with a larger percentage of retired adults. Even when “Pastor Appreciation” day comes, we don’t count. The most I can count on is a smile while passing in the halls. Any one from Illinois?

  24. totally understand. I am a 22 year old yp wife, and we have recently started going to a new church that my husband just started at. I feel like while everyone is friendly, it is only on that surface level because they may feel scared to get close to me, or they feel threatened? It is a shame not to have any other couple in our age group and only have teenagers for companionship (even though i do love them, its not the same). I would suggest checking out a 20 something group or a MOPS group that meets during the week.

  25. I understand the isolation feeling. Although I am not yet a youth pastor’s wife. It has been especially tough because when my fiance was called to his first church we were still in the dating stage. We are now engaged and will be married this October. We are at a very small church, and when we came to the church a little over two years ago, they had never had a set youth ministry. Before being called to our new church, we both grew up in the same church since we were very small children. The church was larger with a set and strong youth ministry. It was very warm and welcoming, and we had tons of friends. However, after being called to the new church things are completely different. The majority of the church is elderly, however recently we have had some middle aged adult couples join. We have a very small number of college students. I am only 20 years old, and the college students that we have at our church tend to want to play the half way game with their faith, church on Sundays and Wednesdays, and partying in between. Even outside of the church, I have difficulty relating to other college age girls due to differences in values, faith, and priorities. Most girls my age are not focused on getting married, leading a youth ministry, and growing in a relationship with Christ. I stick out like a sore thumb in most social situations because of this. It is really encouraging to know that other women with husbands/future husbands in youth ministry struggle with the same feelings. I have quickly learned how rewarding yet emotional youth ministry can be. We have had many triumpths, watching students step up, receive Christ, and make life decisions. But we have also seen the culture grab hold of some of our students and watch the bad choices they are making and it completely breaks our hearts. It is very difficult to fight in prayer for students and still see them being pulled down by sin and temptations. It is very encouraging to know I am not alone.

  26. It is so nice to know I’m not alone in feeling like this. At times I think I’m being selfish because it can be so hard to be on the outside. We’ve been married almost 3 years and I still haven’t made many female friends. I moved back to the city my husband lives and left all my friends, including my childhood best friend. My husband IS my best friend at this point and I have to share him with….EVERYONE. At first, we had great support. We were helping start a second location for our church and we had a small group of our others in our age range/stage of life and that made a WORLD of difference. Plus, the pastor and his wife were great mentors for us … my husbands mentor… and really supported us. Not same age, but had walked the path and really was a couple we could go to for advice. The pastor was even the one who married us. When the church fell apart and we moved back to the main church, there was a lot of division and we had somewhat of a rift between us and the lead pastor, which was even more salt on the wound. Plus, we our smalll group fell apart shortly after… which was hard. We really have had little contact with other couples since then. Trying to start another small group and find that support again, but its slow going. Plus, we’re expecting our first child in January… so EVERYTHING is changing right now.

    My YP hubby actually sent me this site and I am SO greatful, I need an outlet and support!

  27. I have just come across this site and am so thankful to find it. My husband and I are coming up on one year at our current church after 2 years at our first church that ended very badly. I struggle so much with the loneliness and just knowing that their are others our there that understand is such a comfort. We too are in a church with mostly older couples and senior saints. I will be praying for all of you.

  28. Wow, it amazes me that so many other women go through the same struggles! I knew ministry would be hard, and I NEVER wanted to marry a Pastor or Youth Pastor but for some reason God has called me to that. We were married in June and are serving at a small town church. About a month ago we started praying for friends who aren’t involved in our church because of all the reasons stated above. I need someone here whom I can confide in and share intimate details! Even though I have a few friends form the church, my husband is their youth pastor and I there are certain struggles I can’t talk about. And God has answered our prayers! I recently met two women my age and can’t wait to get to know them. Anyway, it’s been such a blessing to read all these comments. Thank you Amanda for having a site I can come to and feel God’s presence in what is said and have someone to “explain” this new role I’m in! I have been very encouraged by the girls in our Youth group, I know they aren’t the same as friends our age, but some of them are becoming friends and they are girls I can laugh and joke with and mentor so that has been such a saving grace for me. It is when we give that we receive! Blessings on all of you, I look forward to meeting you all in heaven as we laugh about our experiences and joys! Until then let’s give the devil no hold as we try to be wonderful friends to whomever we come in contact with.

  29. My husband and I have been in ministry for 10 years, and I agree with the suggestions of trying to connect with other youth minister couples in the area (and by area, I don’t mean just a 10 miles out–you can be as far as hours away!). We have been able to connect with other ministry couples through camps that our kids participate in every summer. We lived in the south for about 9 years, and were able to connect with some couples there, but just a year ago we moved across the country (we went from border of Mexico to the border of Canada!) and, just as before, we were able to meet other couples in the area through different youth rallies/camps. There are three other couples in particular that we have connected with here, and are trying to build relationships with. Granted that because they live in towns outside my own, I can’t just call them up and go to a movie, but the internet makes contacting and connecting so much easier than it used to be!! We have all been able to meet in a somewhat central location and eat and talk together. Recently one of the couples had a baby, so I drove to their town to take pictures of their newborn and new family. I was able to spend the night with them, and that evening, the wife and I were able to talk about this very subject. I told her how it’s difficult to let your guard down with other members of your congregation, because of the position your husband is in–he works for them! She was able to get a little encouragement from that, and I was able to connect with her in a way that only another youth minister’s wife can. Because of that conversation, we are now planning a YM’s wife weekend together in a few months.

    One other suggestion that I have heard is to not limit yourself to relationships with women your own age. I had a hard time putting that into practice at the first church we worked at (we are on church #3–were at #1 for 4 years, #2 for 4.5, and have been here for about 1.5 years), but was able to connect with the minister’s wife there. She was, and continues to be such an asset! There probably are some older women that you can make a connection with–it might be different than the friendships you are craving. They may take on more of a mother/grandmother type roll with you, but you can cherish those relationships too.

    God bless you all in this battle of loneliness. We have a Father and Friend that cherishes us, and knows our inner most feelings! Lean on him in this season of life. He will see you through to the other side.

  30. Yes yes 1000x yes….we’ve been in ministry since july 2008. We got married in 2009 and had a daughter in 2010. Ive often felt the same but can only find my strength in th Lord everyday :)

  31. I definitely can relate! My husband has been Youth Director at our church for only a few months so far… but it’s the oddest thing… Before becoming the Youth Director a certain (albeit) older couple used to invite us out to brunch after church on Sunday… Since becoming the Youth Director we haven’t been asked once… This puzzles me.

    My husband NEEDS people too… So I’ve decided to reach out to bible study groups for people our age in our area. I’ve also decided to eventually start trying to invite one couple at a time from our congregation (even if they are older, that doesn’t mean a good friendship can’t form!). So I’m praying God will start to bless us with friendships. I’m also pregnant right now and due in just two months… not sure how that will affect things!

  32. PS– if any of you girls live in Montgomery County, PA let me know… or even if you don’t feel free to email me at HeathersPro@gmail.com =) I’d love to develop friendships with any of you ladies!

  33. If you can find some other groups to attend that have somewhat similar values that might help. Sometimes it’s hard to find friends you can click with outside of church because the value systems are so different. But I am part of our local La Leche League group and I love attending. I’m Kathy there–not the Youth Minister’s wife. I feel like I can share my feelings a bit more freely. So if I complain that my husband doesn’t change enough diapers, I don’t have to feel like I’m affecting his job or tarnishing his reputation. And the other mothers are there because they value their families. I really look forward to each meeting.

  34. I am so thankful that I found this site tonight. I feel like I am drowning. My husband has been a youth pastor for five years. We are at our third church. I loved this church until six months ago and we have been here for over three years. Until this summer this church just felt like home. It feels like overnight everything changed. People who I thought I could trust anything with want nothing more than to see us gone. I don’t understand and I feel like the worst mistake I made was thinking I could make friends in the church. I feel so lonely, rejected, judged, and hurt and I feel like I cannot talk to anyone about it. If I talk to my husband he worries about me and considers leaving the ministry so that I will not have to be hurt like this. I don’t want him to do that so I tell him I am fine and everything is ok. If I talk to my family they get upset because they were never happy that we joined the ministry in the first place and they just don’t understand. I can’t talk to anyone at church. I feel like I have no voice any were I go. I don’t want to leave ministry, I want to work things out with our church, I just feel like they are done with us and don’t want us around anymore. Sometimes though I wonder what it would be like if we just took a break from ministry. I don’t want to quite I just think it would be nice to be able to breath for a little while. Sometimes I think my feeling change from day to day and I feel like I am going crazy not having any one I can talk to and having everyone around me expecting me to hold it together with a smile all the time. I don’t know how to be nice, friendly and graceful with the elders when I totally disagree with the way they are treating my husband and our family. I am doing it so far with a smile on my face to the best of my abilities but I feel so fake every Sunday now. The couple of times I have tried to talk to the elders about concerns or hurts my husband was reprimanded for it and told to keep his wife out of the business end of the church. I trusted a couple ladies at the church and they completely twisted my words around and used my fears and struggles against me and made what I share with them public to the leadership of the church and now my husband’s job is threatened because of it. I am so hurt and I feel so completely discouraged and all I ever wanted to do is serve God and I feel like I am not even healthy enough to do that anymore because I am struggling with depression at this point. Sorry for just spewing this all out I just need some where I can feel like I can be heard and not dismissed and have someone understand where I am coming from.

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