Take Another Deep Breath!

Take Another Deep Breath!  If taking a deep breath could be measured in money, I’d be a millionaire!  I’m pretty certain many of you feel the same way…

Why is it that a particular day can start out just right, even taking the time to perform a couple of kind deeds for others, when suddenly you are hit smack in the face, like a lightning bolt, by opposition?!!  Unfortunately, this form of opposition usually comes in human form! It happens to all of us.  I know; it happened to me recently  As the Bible clearly teaches, Satan is always trying to rob us of our joy.  We have to stand firm and…Take Another Deep Breath!

At first, when I met up with this recent opposition,” I couldn’t breath…then, I had to catch my breath…then, I had to take a thousand deep breaths!  Most…to no avail.  By the time I reached my car, I ended up needing to call my oldest daughter to “vent” my internal frustrations.  Oh, how I thank God for my oldest daughter!  Poor thing; she’s a wonderful listener and over the years we have become one another’s sounding board when needed. I am very grateful for both her being my daughter and for her support.

Fortunately, she was raised in a pastor’s home (our home) and knows, first hand, the many challenges faced in the ministry.  I so hope to write a nonfiction novel one day regarding the sometimes “not mentioned” side in the role of being a pastor’s wife.  The book will either be liked for its honesty or tossed out on its binder!  But, the overall basis of the book will be the demonstration of God’s Love, Mercy, and Grace while facing adversities and oppositions within the ministry.  That fact I can testify to from a primary source’s position.

It’s hard at times to not let people get under your skin who have a unwarrented personal vindictiveness against you.  It’s a challenge to not allow them to rob you of your joy and peace of mind; if only temporarily.  I’m like Beth Moore who stated in one of her conferences (I’ll paraphrased), “I try to handle my life with a meek and quiet spirit, but there are times when I am a STORM and I just carry my STORM everywhere I go!”  Personally, when I heard her admit this…I wanted to jump up from my seat in front of fifty women and shout, “Praise God; Praise God; Praise God!” I think there are days when we all wish we could carry our Storm around with us and kick up a little dust!! Take Another Deep Breath!

Maybe you can relate; maybe you cannot.  But, if you have ever served God in the role of a pastor’s wife for any length of time (it typically takes around two to three years for the honeymoon period to end!), you have, no doubt, been personally attacked (mentally, emotionally, and spiritually) in one way or the other; or you have been attacked in so many different ways that you never realized there were so many ways of being attacked!  I am the latter!

I know there are other professions and other vocations in life where one can get hurt and suffer emotional and mental abuse by other people’s taunts, mannerisms, and harsh opinions…but I am more familiar with it happening in the role of a pastor’s wife; so, if it’s alright…I’ll stick to what I know best.

Sadly, as many other pastor’s wives can relate, I have been judged and ripped apart, no more like shredded, so  many times that the blade marks on my back are connected like tiny little dots! I don’t believe there’s a place on my back (figuratively speaking) that one could put their finger that doesn’t possess an invisible, yet very real, emotional scar!

This shouldn’t be; but actually, it’s a part of the territory.  Satan tries to get to the husband (Pastor) through attacks targeted at his wife or his children.  If he (Satan) can get up enough momentum and support, he can do quite a bit of damage.  You really have to learn to stand strong in the midst of adversities and… Take Another Deep Breath!.

But, on the other hand (thank God for the “other” hand), a pastor’s wife can be surrounded by some of the most giving, caring, and kind people found anywhere on earth.  These people become a true treasure in the life and heart of the pastor’s wife.  I only wish there were more of these type of people!  AND, fortunately in many, many churches….it seems they are abundantly blessed with kind and caring people.  What a treasure!

However; there have been a few times when I felt, honestly felt, as if I could feel the hot blood flowing as it oozed out from another inflicted sworn of criticism, harsh words, or someone’s right out lies being rumored!  I have come to the firm conclusion that one of our most haunting sins within our churches is plain out old-fashioned tongue-waggling lying!!!!  Some people would rather speak a lie and believe a lie than a thousand truths!!  So sad, but so true…Take Another Deep Breath!

Like others, I have been judged by a variety of different people; even some who live a rather “eventful,” often times shameful life style…Yet; they somehow feel “spiritual” enough to oppose  those entrusted by God to hold certain leadership positions and roles within the church!

The Bible clearly states, “JUDGE not that ye be not judged..And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considereth not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Matthew 7 KJV).  Openly speaking, if I lived the life-style that some of my former attackers live…I don’t think I would try to be such a BIG fish in a little pond!  I would sit quietly and WAIT on God’s maturity in my life…Lord, have mercy and… Take Another Deep Breath!

Both my husband and I have been judged by people who have failed in their personal lives and walk with the Lord many times and in so many different ways.  I am referring to those who live a life style demonstrating a lack of discipline on their part to be faithful to their service of God and commitments both within and without the doors of the church.

I was once questioned by some people (actually a “committee” at a smaller church) who literally stood outside the door smoking cigarettes before coming back inside to ask me why I wore pants instead of dresses; claiming that “my” wearing a dress would “aide” my husband’s ministry and help their church’s reputation!  While the whole time, I’m trying to take a breath WITHOUT choking on second-hand cigarette smoke!!…People, this is how crazy and insane some things really are!  It’s hard…but a pastor’s wife has to get used to this sort of “crazy.”  I’m just thankful that God did not send my husband to that particular church at that particular time!  Take Another Deep Breath!

As a young pastor’s wife, I once had a precious older woman come to our home to speak with me.  She felt “lead” to tell me what was expected of me as their “new” pastor’s wife…only to have her sadly end up several years later in a very compromizing position.  adulterous affair with another church member.  But, pastors’ wives… KEEP the FAITH…God knows all, and He keeps mighty good records!!  Take Another Deep Breath!

Once, I even had a deacon’s wife cry uncontrollably on my shoulder that she couldn’t perform the responsibilities she had volunteered for in the church and needed my assistance.  Yet, a few days later she called several families within the church to tell that I had “stolen” her jobs away from her!  (True stuff people; I promise!)  Take Another Deep Breath!

Amazing, isn’t it…some people actually believe the pastor’s wife has no intelligence about her at all!  Or, when she tries to “pitch-in” and help…she is often times accused of “trying to run things!” Take Another Deep Breath!

Another sad fact is that there are some women who desire and “want” the role of the pastor’s wife.  To help achieve their goal…they seek out ways to undermine and manipulate the pastor’s true, authentic, and bona-fide wife!  Honestly, to be the pastor’s wife, and to carry out the role of the pastor’s wife in an effective manner……it helps to be married to the Pastor!! Probably the most important factor in the entire matter!…(End of story!)

I used to love (being flippant here!) when certain “caring” women in the church would privately seek me out to see how “things” were really, truly going.  Believe me, you have to be very careful when dealing with some people.  A pastor’s wife usually can “discern” whom she feels comfortable to share certain aspects of her life.  After all, one of the greatest roles as a pastor’s wife is to help support and protect her husband’s ministry from lurking attackers.  Even though we have to keep a low profile on such matters….our eyes see and our ears hear more than we can often admit out loud!  Take Another Deep Breath!

One thing I discovered down through the years is that it offends “some”people who are trying to bring harm to the church (local assembly) when they discover that their pastor’s wife has been “blessed” to have a discerning spirit…it just robs them of their joy…and often times exposes their tricks, antics, and hidden motives….Thank you God for Your Discerning Spirit…I know many pastor’s wives who are blessed to have a discerning Spirit…What a valuable Gift of the Spirit.

Somehow, I believe over the past thirty-five years of active service, the Devil has managed to send just about every “trick of the trade” to test and to try us!  But, on the other hand God has sent some of the most wonderful, spirit-filled workers for the Lord that any pastor or pastor’s wife could ever hope to serve….it’s just that those few “bad” apples really do try to spoil the whole enchilada!  But, don’t let them!  Keep the Faith and Take Another Deep Breath!

Typically, when I have been brutally attacked… and after taking the 1000th deep breath…I hear a tender, calm voice speak to my heart…”I, too, know of being rejected, mistreated, and viciously talked about.”  God lovingly and gently reminds me that I am not above my Master, and if He endured such persecutions…so shall  I.  For even the Bible teaches, “Those who live godly lives in the Lord shall suffer persecutions.”  Take Another Deep Breath!

Don’t misunderstand;  I’m not saying I am a perfect person; quite the opposite…I’m saying that my personal weaknesses and spiritual battles are opportunities for God to show His Strength to me and within my life, thus allowing me to have an indescribable personal relationship with Jesus Christ; my Savior.  I wouldn’t want to trade that for anything!

When I have been hurt and wounded, it is then that Jesus comes on the scene and applies the Balm of Gilead to my wounded soul.  Truthfully, if certain people did not “attack” us so brutually…we might not know the intensive abundant Grace given to sustain in such matters and situations.  So, here’s thanks unto the Lord for  the many adversities faced in my life…I can truly state with the Psalmist,  “The LORD is my rock and my shield…whom shall I fear…”

Over the years, I have written over twenty-five songs of testimony during  times of Spiritual warfare. I have also kept journals and notations of incidents and “attacks” that I feel have helped me to be more compassionate towards others in like situations and to also counsel those who are hurting and afflicted.  It’s like my husband once told me, “Linda, you can’t have a testimony without going through the TEST!”

Well, dear friend…like many of you….I’ve been through the raging waters and across the burning deserts and through some pretty rough tests!  And, I’m glad to say that Jesus has never once forsaken or left me in these times of trials, oppositions, and persecutions…Many, many times I just have to leave matters in His hands and…Take Another Deep Breath!

So, even though I ran into someone recently whom Satan tried to use to steal my joy and rob me of my peace of mind (temporarily), I can now take a deep breath and feel the soothing waters of joy and peace flooding my soul and reminding me that I am one of His own…A handmaiden of the Lord’s….A child of the King…Rejoice…Amen.

Closure:  It’s hard to know how to react successfully when people attack you or a loved one…but I have learned to first, (after I have vented to my daughter and taken several deep breaths!) “Give Thanks” in all situations and to pray for those who seek to harm me and persecute me or my family.  After all, God is and will be the final judge.  God have mercy upon us all and Take Another Deep Breath!

May you have a blessed day…one absent of adversities.

Remember, God Loves You!

Lin T. Rollins, Author

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