My husband boarded a plane for Brazil this morning. He is traveling to speak at a large youth conference. So HUGE shout out to all the single mom’s out there. It is tough work trying to fill in for both mom and dad. Every mom goes through it on one level or another… You are left alone for a day or a week or a month to run things alone. Truth is, I am not alone. My husband and I are a wonderful team.
My hubby does ministry all over the USA and I am his biggest cheer leader. I LOVE it and I LOVE the impact God is using him in. In fact I feel so proud and try to media blast it for all the world to hear. I get so excited when I hear the testimonies of what God has done… both on a local trip to another church or on a missions trip in another part of the world. It is amazing to see how God uses him. I LOVE it. He is so anointed and received so well.
We are on assignment. I have realized that I am a both/and kind of girl. I am not satisfied watching my husband serve in ministry… we were both called to this. So I pray, I look for good reports, I rejoice when people get saved. I take care of things at home so my hubby can be free to minister. I am ON MISSION!!!
But I did not always feel this way….there was a dark side in it for a long time….. having gone though bible college and ministry training…I don’t remember anyone telling me about being left behind. How my husband might travel without me while I stayed at home with kids and what that would mean for me. I wanted to be there too.
So, In case there are a few other Pastor’s wives going through this same thing…. I will take a chance, be vulnerable and share with you how I got through and how God has helped me…. Here is the view from my perspective.
I have swung from both ends of the spectrum with how I feel about this. It has been torture and yet, it has also been a divine God moment allowing me to see things that I needed to fix and hearing from God – getting close to God because I was “forced” to while my hubby was gone.
The truth is that I am a bit abnormal. I LOVE travel!!!! I LOVE going places. I LOVE going to other churches. I LOVE seeing my husband in action and what God does through him. I LOVE ministering too. I LOVE seeing God do things on the mission field. It was one of the things I had in common with my man when we started dating… a desire to travel and minister.
So, The first time I was left behind, was just traumatic. He was oversees for almost 3 weeks, Right before he left, I remember talking to my Childhood pastor’s wife… I complained that he was going and how did she ever deal with this… and in a nutshell, she just said it was part of the job and that it would be ok. This was not what I wanted her to say. (this was before FB, taking cell phones oversees, and really even internet explosion) Other women have done this better. Look at Billy Grahm’s wife… she raised her kids alone. Hearing this this was normal for Pastor’s wives and that they had to deal with it for longer periods, didn’t help. I wanted someone, anyone to feel sorry for me… I wanted them to say how I should have gone- and maybe even brought all the kids. Or maybe my husband shouldn’t go on trips when we had little kids. I didn’t really mean it. I didn’t want to stop him from going…. but I began to dread the days leading up to my husbands departures. I wanted him to miss me when he was gone… I was clingy.
You see, I had had a taste of “the good life” of traveling ministry and missions and had been traveling with my hubby taking teams of youth to foreign countries for 4 years already. It was wonderful. BUT I couldn’t go this time, I was 8 months pregnant and in no condition to travel. 3weeks. So he went, It was an eternity. I was a wreck. I didn’t know why. I even had an overwhelming fear that He would die – I cried like he had died. I grieved and cried the whole time… So, I took my daughter oversees with us the next year… but she was a baby – it was too hard on the youth and I ended up being left behind with family in one of the cities. I loved being with family, but being left behind while the rest of the team went off to other cities ministering was devastating. That was the last missions trip I went on.
I Remember, that those first times I was left to handle life at home alone with kids I recognized a few ugly things that I had to fight though. So Here are a few observations from my experiences of being “left behind”.
Ugly things first:
As soon as my husband left, I felt like I was holding my breath waiting for Daddy to come home so I could exhale and breath again.
I found myself holding resentment in my heart that I didn’t get to go with my husband.
Staying home while he was off ministering made what I was doing at home feel insignificant in the kingdom of God.
I was resenting the fact that he was “getting to travel” and I was not, even if it was the harshest conditions in a country like the Philippines.
I found myself managing the situation… but not enjoying it. Don’t get me wrong… I LOVE my babies. and LOVED being with them…. but, I had a hard time enjoying them when daddy was gone. I felt like everyday was just another day to wait and manage until it was over. When the kids were really little it was so hard to not have daddy coming home at night to look forward to after a long day alone with the kids. That is what made it so much harder… It was like a never ending day for a very tired mommy with toddlers and little to no adult time in sight.
It’s the long trips that are hardest. A LONG ministry trip to me is daddy being gone over 8 days … sure, I was fine with him going on the trip (most of the time) and happy he got the opportunity to go, but It was hard to be alone at home with kids… not “getting to travel” but having to keep life going in perfect sync without him in it.
I couldn’t fight the feelings that staying home every time was the short end of the straw. Yes, even after my babies were born. I didn’t want to leave them but I also found too often that as soon as my husband stepped on the plane, I would immediately have to fight off feelings that I was always left doing the mundane, unexciting things of life, while my hubby experienced favor around the world.
I was jealous. Being home with the kids alone also meant that I was not free to step up and be in charge of the ministries at home either- I was stuck. I was jealous of the other people who got to go with him on the trips.
Again, I LOVED being with my kids… but I had a problem.
At my lowest, I felt inadequate everywhere.
In my perspective all I saw in this moment was the favor my husband had at home and abroad – wonderful places, ministry opportunities, great food and restaurants (it’s amazing how important getting to go out to eat at a nice place can be when you are at home with kids and can’t do it anymore), spending time with amazing people in ministry and truthfully, I was jealous. Not envious (wishing he didn’t have it), but jealous (wishing I had it too).
I felt as though somehow favor never found me.
It wasn’t true… but I felt that way.
I even remember accidentally letting it my feelings out of the bag to a pastor once… and I think my feelings ended the international ministry trips he offered my hubby….
My feelings were not ok. I was so conflicted in my heart.
I hated long ministry trips and yet I LOVED that my hubby got to go and was so proud of him. It was both.
It was both/and, but I was not free from my emotions yet.
First Jealousy and then Fear. My mind was on the negative what if’s. I remember a huge amount of guilt over thinking this: I wanted to be where ever I was not at the moment. If away in ministry, I wanted to be with my kids, if I was with kids – I desired desperately to be doing ministry.
BUT before you get too mad at my ugly emotions…. In the middle of my maddness…. every-time- God intervened. I fought back. I didn’t just want to be ok with him going – I wanted to thrive if this was what we were called to…
I wanted to thrive if this was what I was called to…
God was constantly speaking his perspective into my heart…. Showing me the beauty of my situation. That the ugly side of my emotions didn’t have to rule me… here is the balance.
After God dealt with my heart… and I truly repented of my selfishness and of not believing God had the best in mind for me too…. He showed me some things that were true about my situation:
When daddy is gone, for a pastor’s wife… the stakes are higher.
++Missions Trip Mode with Kids is a reality.
My kids need EXTRA attention when daddy is gone… Here is how it went: The days can be CRAZY when he is gone.. Many times my kids were so emotional….and acted out a bit when daddy was gone. It was their way of dealing with the change. Not usually defiant… but looking for extra attention. They would go a little crazy emotional about life and get extra hyper. They couldn’t properly put into words that they missed Daddy, so they just acted it out. It was a lot of work. This is what kids look like for me in missions trip mode. I was not ready to feel like a single- married- mom.
++WE all fight a spiritual battle at home when daddy is away ministering….
It hits our emotions and also our natural circumstances. We needed a prayer covering too, we didn’t get it for many years and I didn’t prepare myself spiritually for my husbands trip. The truth is that when My husband goes on a ministry trip, I go with him in spirit. I would find myself drawn to interceding for my husband at times only to find that was a crucial moment of ministry for my hubby. I didn’t get it in the early days… It was crazy -We’ve have had cars run out of gas randomly, whole family break out into fever and sickness, jaw pain, cars being broken into, and the list goes on… when daddy is gone. Depending on where my hubby is, sometimes there is even witchcraft involved that needs to be fought off in the spirit. So my prayer life is a protection to both my husband and my family.
++A lot of my negative emotion was a spiritual battle that I didn’t recognize.
I was not ready for the fight, in fact I was weakened for a fight. I felt left behind, not on mission. I was giving into fear tactics that the enemy used over and over again on me and had a hold on my life over. I was not dealing with small things on a normal basis in my heart, so they became large when I was alone and had to deal. I felt like I was not good enough. In a low moment of feeling sorry for myself, I would find myself being “the accuser” of my husband… all his inadequacies. EVERY time my husband leaves God has me pray blessing over him instead of allowing negativity to settle in… and fight off those things that separated or alienated me from my hubby in my heart.
In this process i realized that I depended on my husband way too much. Even more than God it seemed. I remember feeling like I was holding my breath, waiting to breath, waiting for Daddy to come home. It was just this terribly empty feeling. And things always seemed to go wrong when He was gone. Mysteriously crazy things would happen…. I missed His smell, everything he normally did with the kids, the balance he brings to our family… to my parenting style. I waited for phone calls and desperately wanted to hear “I miss you”. Cause I really missed him…. God has made the two one, and I felt the divide when he was gone.
++Prayer for Daddy changes the atmosphere in my home.
So many times when craziness breaks out with my kids… that is also a time of ministry for my husband across the world. I needed to recognize the patterns… and change the atmosphere of my home by gathering the family and all praying for daddy. We ask for my husband’s ministry schedule now and pray for him every morning. It is the most precious time… and the most precious prayers ever. I ask each child to pray and they do it gladly. It’s a way of trusting God while Daddy is gone.
++Because my husband is ministering, I also have an eternal inheritance. His reward is my reward as well.
People are being saved. People are getting right with God. Miracles are happening. Because I am at home… My husband can minister and I am in this with him. I beg for reports of what God has done… It’s ok to want to know the details. I LOVE seeing pictures of the faces and places of people who were impacted on the mission field when my hubby goes. God would show me pictures of people. I literally saw crowds of people around the throne of God that my husband had impacted on these trips… I saw that in my allowing and championing him to go- the crowd was around me too. I played a part. We share in the eternal reward of souls saved.
++By championing the call of God on my husbands life, I am making room for God to bring joy to my circumstances.
I am serving my family by loving my kids enough to take care of them, be there for them, give them extra attention and watch over the needs at home AND champion the call of God on my husbands life, on our life, on our family. THIS is my most important duty in this phase of life.
I began to see the beauty of the moments with my children. It was both/and. They would not be young and need me forever. This was a gift… to be with them right now.
++Attitude is everything. My perspective makes or breaks the experience.
Honoring my husband while he is away speaks sooo loud to my kids. So I choose to do it, even if I am having a tough day and my emotions feel differently. I can either champion the cause of what Daddy was doing, or show fear, anger and jealousy, even without words, the heart issues get passed on. I never speak out negativley, but my emotions and actions spoke louder than words. So NOW I always look for time everyday to pray for Daddy, to champion the cause of Christ in whatever he is doing and tell them, show them if I can.
I do not always win every battle.
I firmly believe now that I play a part in the victory or success of my husband while he is ministering. My attitude and perspective win or lose makes an impact on the ministry…. even from thousands of miles away.
My home is my 1st ministry and this is not punishment. It is an opportunity. My kids need me and I am so privileged to be the one to teach and train them in this moment.
My hubby has been traveling without me for 13 years now… :o) On average he travels 2x internationally a year and a number of USA trips per year too. He loves pastoring our local church, but I would have to say that he loves traveling and ministering just as much.
I realize a lot of families have one parent gone a lot for travel…. but being a mommy in ministry with a husband who travels brings a different kind of load on many levels.
When my husband travels, I go with him in my heart & spirit.
WE are on an assignment from God to see people saved, delivered, set free.
If get frustrated with the kids and little things of life faster when my husband is gone….I also repent quicker.
I depend on the Lord much more.
I am scared to do it on my own, I don’t like being the lead with out my hubby there. But It makes me have to step up!!!
I make decisions faster. I would do some things differently and It’s ok.
I am sooo thankful for Facetime and modern technology.
I am so endlessly thankful for friends and family who help out when I am alone.
I take vacation days with the kids and go more places… places I bring the kids that He may not have grace for…. We have a blast.
I give myself permission to spend a little money.
I give the kids extra treats and do special things with them.
I feel free to have girl time… and have people over, so I do and we have fun.
I cant wait for a text, a picture or a status update (getting a personal text of a minstry update before the rest of the world sees it or hears it is the greatest treasure)
I always wish I was there too, but don’t actually want to be away from my kids if given the chance.
I am thinking of ministry all the time, I am thinking of my husband the whole time. I feel a much heavier load spiritually for the church than I do normally, I pray more, I see more need, I have a greater responsibility.
I see how much a weight my hubby is carrying in the spirit for our church and I appreciate the load he is carrying for our church and home much more.
I accept more help, and I willingly ask for help with my kids and my house.
When Daddy comes home, We love how much he missed us. The feeling, love and time together when daddy comes home is priceless.
Yes, being left behind is hard sometimes, but in the end, If my perspective is right going into it and preparing for it, It is a God ordained mission. Our whole family and church is better because of it.