Responses to the Pastors' Wives Soul Care Retreat


What you're offering, Linda, is such a huge gift to us. There is nothing--NOTHING--out there like this and having a safe place for us to share and connect with others in our same life circumstance, in a safe, secure place where we can air our dirty laundry and encourage and pray for one another is absolutely necessary. You can't put a dollar on the impact! Truly! Additionally, your input, your experience and wisdom from all the training you've had in soul care is essential to help us focus back on why we are here, why we exist, why we are called to do what we do, how to move forward, how to survive, how to thrive, how to love, how to grow spiritually and quite frankly it helped me remember my heart needs to be filled by Jesus and Jesus alone before I can do anything for anyone else. This weekend away with all of you gave me so much life!
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Pastors’ wives have full (often over-full) schedules and may also shy away from “Stepford Wives” types of gatherings. The “Sisterhood of the Fishbowl” Soul Care Retreat is nothing like this! The past retreat that I attended was so life-giving and necessary for me. We’ve been going through a difficult time in our church and I was shattered. Being able to talk to others who knew exactly where I was coming from and to receive prayer and encouragement from them, was like having my burdens lifted from my shoulders and carried by these women. It’s amazing how you can develop such a strong connection to people you’ve never met before. I’m an introvert and being in a group of strangers is very intimidating for me, but it doesn’t take long to find commonalities with the other women. Linda Kline also facilitates this gathering in a way that is healthy, safe, God-focused, healing, and fun. It is absolutely worth the time, money, and effort. If you’re hesitating in any way, give it a chance and sign up. You’ll never hesitate again.
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I know that my spiritual life, emotional life, thought life and married life have been profoundly and positively affected by these times away with a small, intimate group of other pastors' wives. It annually provides me with the time I need that I just wouldn’t or couldn’t take on my own to assess where I am at and what specifically God is up to in my life and my family’s life and in my church. It encourages me to keep moving forward, to keep clinging to Jesus, to remember that I am never alone because God is always with me and also because there are other beautiful women who have so many of my own shared experiences. I also keep coming back because I learn so much from ALL the women who come and are willing to share and bare their hearts. There is a wealth of wisdom and experience and genuine love for Jesus in these groups. It is invaluable. PS--I would also like to add that I keep coming back also because it’s just plain FUN!
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These retreats are quite literally life-restoring to those who attend. The pastor’s wife not only does not generally have a pastor, but she often does not experience church in the way God intended. For the pastor’s wife, the church is a place to pour out, not to fill up. She cannot afford to have deep friendships within the church, because betrayal is too frequently real; so she is often most lonely in the place where God intends His people to connect most deeply. These retreats provide brief opportunities for pastors’ wives to be church for one another. We meet new friends who “get” our life almost immediately at a very deep level. We get tools to take back to other ministry wives who couldn’t attend the retreat. We have time to rest and connect deeply with Jesus just for ourselves, not to prepare a lesson for someone else. We leave re-filled, restored, recommitted to continuing in ministry, and newly connected to — not just friends — but sisters.
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"I was a pastor's kid and now I am a pastor's wife. It was not until I attended a Psalm One pastor's wife event that I realized that I had never had a pastor and I had never been a part of a Christian fellowship without those around me expecting me to have it together and meet their needs in some way. This time away has become a sacred space in my life. A space where I can be who I am and openly struggle with what I am struggling with without judgment or fear. A space where I can be covered in God's love and grace and challenged to grow. Getting away to an event like this may seem extravagant but it is in fact essential. Meeting a whole new group of women may seem exhausting but it is in fact life giving. Just come."
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“As a ministry wife with a full-time job as well as a full plate of personal and ministry responsibilities, I know it's hard to make time to get away from kids, work, marriage, and ministry. But you must. You simply must have space to care for your own soul, so that you have a full well from which to pour out your life to others. Jesus modeled this for us, and it is important for us to model it for those who look to us for spiritual direction. It is especially healing to be in the presence of other ministry wives to gain perspective on one's own situation. In the words of a Todd Agnew song, "I couldn't fool you if I wanted to; our stories are too much the same." Being with others who have confronted similar temptations, endured similar trials, and persevered through similar pain frees us to be who we are behind the Ministry Mask.”
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“What would I say to encourage another pastor’s wife to join us for a gathering? GO. Quit looking for the perfect thing that your husband, your kids, or your denomination would “approve of”. Quit waiting for “the right time” when nobody needs you…that will NEVER happen. If you’re in a tough time at church, I’m sure you’re thinking “I can’t leave my husband to face this alone on a Sunday.” He is not alone – God has promised to always be with each of us. Sometimes a wife to lean on can conceal the need for God to meet your husband and display His power. It is not selfish to go – if you’re all hung up on this, remind yourself that you can serve those you love in a fresher way after time alone with the Father. He will speak to you directly, and also through the comfort of other women who understand your life like NO OTHER HUMAN BEING can."
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“I would say that the retreat for me can be summed up in one word...hope. After coming through a year of messy ministry stuff, where I was feeling very much alone and isolated, my time together with other pastors’ wives was such a balm on my soul. The topics that were chosen reassured me that I was not alone for the Lord IS my refuge even through messy stuff. It helped me to understand why I was feeling so overwhelmed and alone. What a blessing.