Several times in the past few months I have been contacted by other biblical counselors, pastor’s wives, and women in forms of church leadership who are looking for a safe place to share the burdens of their hearts. I will admit, I’ve also looked for such a place from time to time.
The women come timidly, even fearfully; carefully tip-toeing around and leaking small tidbits of information to see what my response will be to them and their problems. I am grieved by what seems to be an expectation that women in church leadership or who are biblical counselors have no problems. I know from past experience that the expectation is that we always know how to deal with every problem without any assistance or intervention. Yes, many “church ladies” are adept at helping others. However, it does not mean we are always see the way clear in dealing with our own hurts, trials, brokenness, and sin.
We all need a safe place to land from time to time. Even those of us who “know better” or are able to assist others with their problems and issues sometimes need a friend or someone who will listen without aiming a disappointed finger of expectation at us. Many women in leadership are fearful of being criticized or condemned rather than helped, held, or listened to. It leads us to withdraw within ourselves and hesitate to reach out for help and hope when we are hurting. We wonder, “Who can I ask? Is there someone that I can talk to?”
The reality is there is often no one with whom she feels safe sharing her heart. Pastor’s wives shoulder many burdens, and many of them suffer with intestinal difficulties and migraine headaches as a result of stuffing things inside and being “fine” all the time. Women’s Ministry directors and Bible study teachers also carry a heavy load as the women they lead come to them with marital problems and child rearing issues. Many of those women have the same issues as those who seek them out for help, but think they can’t admit it. Women in Christian ministry often wind up on anti-anxiety medications or diagnosed with depression or some other disorder.
Everyone needs a safe place to land. We could all use a helping hand, a listening ear, a warm embrace, or a shoulder to cry on. I don’t want to see my sisters in Christ headed to the pharmacy or the therapists office. I want to be a resource; to provide that shelter during the storms of life. Me and the other women involved with this ministry do understand because we’ve been there. Collectively, we’ve been single, married, divorced, remarried, single parents, lost our parents, have ailing/ elderly parents, good marriages, difficult marriages, had children who’ve rebelled in the past or the present. We’ve dealt with all kinds of sexual sin, bitterness, rebellion, anger, brokenness, had good and bad friendships and relationships, addressed sin in ourselves and our families, cared for sick spouses, adopted children, and even after decades of Christianity still aren’t perfect.
This ministry exists for you. We are a safe place to land.
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