There are days when I am thrilled at having the front row seat to what God is doing in our Body. There are other days when that front row seat seems to turn into an overloaded doorstep. Here’sa snapshot of my doorstep this last month.

“I know we haven’t seen each other in a few years…but I wasn’t sure where else to turn. I’ve been living in my car for two months now and was just raped. I need help.”

“I messed up. I went out with a boy from my past that I know I shouldn’t have gone out with. We ended up having sex and I’mpregnant. I’m so, so sorry…do you hate me?”

“It’s so hard watching our daughter in so much pain. The days in the hospital seem like they will never end and with CoVid, it’shard for even her brothers and sisters to be with her. I know God is working in the midst of this…but I am weary.”

What does your doorstep look like these days?

Is it looking a little crowded?

We, as pastors’ wives, understand in a really deep, everyday way what it means to “rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn”(Rom 12:15). And this is part of the calling God has for us – and it is good. But experiencing someone’s joy and pain with them can take it’s toll. It is emotionally exhausting. And in order to bounce back, to be resilient, I’ve had to figure out how to regularly off-load the weight that I take on when I step into someone’s pain. Here are a few things I’mtrying to practice:

1. Surrender them. Immediately after EVERY conversation where I have been called to mourn, I take a moment and surrender them to the only One who can carry them. I have to do this audibly, like out-loud, so it’s intentional and unmistakable. “Jesus, take them. Carry them. Heal them. They are yours.”

2. Know my strengths – and my limits, whether they are limits in how much I am able to give to them and still fulfill the rest of the calling God has put on my life, like taking care of my family and others. Or maybe it’s the limits of my training. When I am able to surround myself with a team of people with resources that go beyond me, I’m able to get people the help they really need. And I don’t have to stand alone, feeling like it’s all up to me. Partnering with a good counselor or a few others in the church that you trust is one of the best ministry decisions I’veever made.

3. Allow for recovery. I need to be constantly taking inventory of the people/challenges that are on my doorstep. And when there’s a few, I need to create some space to recover, to refill. I have a friend, who was actually once on my doorstep, that takes me horseback riding every now and then. But I’ve found that a walk in the woods usually helps “air out my soul.”