I am not a Youth Pastor. No, I find myself in a greater position. I am the wife of one, and through the last three years I have seen that this role of wife to a minister is an adventure of sanctification. Marriage is a process of our sanctification, but I seem to get a double dose of it in this position. I was raised in a home were being transparent was a lifestyle, an imperative choice, and it usually came with repentance, consequence, and beautiful redemption.
Now, more than ever I see why God put me in the home that He did. I used to laugh at the thought of working with youth, and even went as far as to say that I would NEVER EVER do it! I had seen the ugly ugly side of church. Yes, that’s a double ugly. I’d seen human nature of control come into action, and it was a result of human gain not Christ’s gain. I had never had a youth pastor. No. They usually left due to other’s wanting gain.
God appropriately put me in my place when He revealed that I had to be what I never wanted to be. He made me see that it doesn’t matter what I saw, but what He wanted me to do for His church. It was putting myself in a room with junior high and high school students every week. Usually, it is numerous times in a week, knocks on the front door, and even phone calls at late hours of the night that remind me of this new journey.
I decided that I wanted to be what I never had, what I had never experienced. I wanted our youth to know that they had a God-fearing, a submissive woman to the will of God helping her husband lead them. I made the choice that these soon-to-be adults were going to see my failures, my cries to God, and most importantly that God was not going to let anything pluck me from His hands.
Our youth have seen my good, bad, and my ugly. They’ve seen my tears in moments of struggle, and they have seen my joy in His promise. It has built some foundational truths in our relationship: 1) They know I’m honest. When speaking with me I give truth in love. I don’t sugar coat a generation that wants truth. 2) They know I love them. Our house is a HQs for our group, and the parents call it the “safe zone.” 3) They know I need the grace of God. It is a clear example that I am a sinner, and I need Christ. If I’m having a bad day they know, and they minister to me with their love. I think in that my guys know, “my youth pastor’s wife gives me the opportunity to be held accountable (truth), she loves me and practices self control when I screw up (love), she struggles and shows me that life in Christ is a battle, not a cake walk.”
I’ve noticed that with this approach it has resulted in two things. The first is that it gives them the chance to minister to me. You see they are more than just students. They are the people that we pour our lives into. When they minister to me, I begin to see that my husband and I are indeed making disciples. Our efforts each week in sharing our struggles, in sharing our triumphs, and showing how God is convicting us can bring such a great victory to the glory of God.
However, there is a hardship to our approach…
We see them fall; the fall is so hard they don’t get back up right away, others not at all.
The discouragement builds in our hearts as we see them make mistake after mistake. It is a constant reminder that we are a sinful natured being. We get hurt when they leave the church for a season, and we wonder if we failed at our discipleship.
I’ve realized that through our transparency we are talked to about some serious problems. We are hugged with genuine grips, and we are cried on with shattered hearts. We have a generation growing up not knowing how to handle some tragic situations, and they need to see that these tragic situations come to us all.
How will I react to that tragedy? Will it be in anger? Will it be with joy? Will I be transparent enough to show that my human nature drives anger, while the indwelling of the Holy Spirit pushes me to joy?
My position is more than Youth Pastor’s wife. Yes, it’s more.
It’s a friend.
It’s a mentor.
It’s a mom.
It’s a confidant.
It’s a forgiven sinner.
It’s a woman baring her life of sanctification in front of some of hardest critics in the world… youth!
Aislynn is a 27-year-old co-leader of a Christ-following family and the wife of a youth pastor. She describes herself as “painfully human” – walking a very public life of God’s sanctification. She and her husband have been married for nine years and have two rambunctious boys whom she homeschools. She has a degree in English literature, but finds being a Compassion Advocate a higher honor.