When the Pastor’s Wife Goes Back to Work

By Ashley Haupt

Leaving behind our house of vomiting children, I went for a quiet walk on a beautiful fall day. As I stepped through the crispy leaves enjoying the golden sunshine, a wave of coldness swept over me—in the craziness of getting up four times the night before with a sick child, I had entirely forgotten that I was supposed to teach Sunday School for someone that morning. One of my worst fears was realized—dropping a ball in the crazy juggling act of life.

I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for eight years. This year I returned to the work force teaching high school English, and my role as a pastor’s wife has changed as well. Where I used to be able to dedicate all of my time to home, family and church, now I have had to make room for an entirely greedy new companion—employment. Full-time employment. Employment that follows me home, keeps me up at night sometimes, and takes a lot out of me emotionally, especially in the adjustment period. Unfortunately, out of all my responsibilities, church often gets the last morsels.

On the other hand, the purpose of church is not to work tired, overcommitted people to an early grave. Church is for the people. Now I need church like never before. I’m dragging in on Sunday morning stressed and tired and sometimes overwhelmed. I need worship, and I need hugs. I need prayers and to hear about the troubles of others, helping me put mine in perspective. No longer am I the kind of pastor’s wife who is refreshed and ready to minister; I’m a sojourner—dirty, weary, ragged, thirsty for grace. Instead of I understand, I say Me too, friend, me too.

And in this weary season of change, the church has not let me down. She has risen up to wrap arms around me and keep me running my race with perseverance. Church members have watched my children, made me meals, asked me about my job, prayed for me, and shown me amazing grace. My church has shown me what I wish more people knew about church—it’s not about what we can produce or how much we volunteer; it’s about being Christ to one another. We aren’t perfect people congratulating ourselves; we’re weary sinners walking each other home.

The body of Christ is grace incarnate, and grace never disappoints. It’s a little taste of heaven before we get there. And just like heaven, we don’t get in because of our merits, but because we trust the Perfect One. Stripped of my church merits, bringing nothing to the table but myself, I find myself loved and cherished as ever. At church, as in heaven, nothing in my hands I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.

Praise God for a church who loves Jesus enough to love me too.

Published November 23, 2015

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Ashley Haupt

Ashley is a messy, creative seeker of grace in Christ. She is usually surrounded by a gaggle of children, but she loves long talks over coffee with a friend, photography, poetry, art, books, and being outside. Writer, pastor’s wife, speaker, mother of four, and returning to teach high school English after eight years at home with her kids.