Shattered Pastors, Shattered Marriages, Shattered Lives …

Shattered glass

FrustratedThe moment sticks out in my mind as though it happened yesterday. As a young woman of 16, our lovely pastor’s wife sat down on the church bus seat next to me. The Hawaiian Luau youth event has long faded from my memory because of the following conversation between us became burned in my heart and ignited a passion that I have to this day.

Our pastor’s wife was beautiful, full of life and always very kind and loving. I wanted to be just like her. To have her choose to sit down next to me that day made my heart soar. What an honor!

The driver pulled the doors shut and the bus jerked forward.  I smiled at my seat companion and she smiled back and began a light conversation with me. “What do you want to be when  you grow up?” She asked after a few moments of discussing school and hobbies. “I want to be a pastor’s wife, just like you!” I blurted out.

A shadow crossed her face and a deep sadness took over her polite smile. Knowing that she had just revealed her pain to a young person, her eyes fell and she looked into her hands.  Her pain was palatable. My heart grieved for her …

“Be careful of what you ask.” she said softly.  She fell silent and the rest of the bus ride faded into memory along with the luau. Only that heartbreaking moment stayed with me. I wanted to hug her … to help her somehow … to …

Three months later her husband walked to the podium and turned to face the congregation. This too, is a moment I will never forget. I had not seen his wife all morning, and why I had not seen her was to be made painfully clear in her husbands comments that fateful morning.

“I am resigning my position as senior pastor of this church” he began, “I obviously am not qualified to lead you as your pastor, because I have not been able to control my wife.” (yes, they said things like this in those days)  “My wife has been having an affair with Mr. Chathom* there …”  His voice rose with anger as he pointed in the direction of Mr. Chathom sitting with is wife and family in the pew, oblivious of what was to transpire that morning. (horror of horrors!)

Storms in the nightThe pastor continued, “I have sent my wife to another state in shame, and I am stepping down as of this morning. Good day.” And after slamming his Bible shut, he stomped off the platform and disappeared out the back door, leaving a shocked congregation and a shattered family in his wake.

Our church congregation reeled from that announcement and a massive church split ensued. As for Mr. Chathom and his family, I can only imagine. To this day, there is no doubt that what began as a frustration in a marriage that grew over time to birth an action, has not only split that marriage, that family, that church … but has affected the life of every individual that sat in the pew that morning.

Our beliefs about God, about righteous living, about how the Christian walk is supposed to look like, are formed in religious and family settings. When events such as this, shatter those beliefs, then new beliefs are formed. Shame, guilt, condemnation, fear, and blaming rise to cover the embarrassments.  A new religion is birthed – that of law and condemnation.

Sarah's TentFrom that day forward, I have had a passion to help the women who are married to pastors, or who are pastors themselves. Women in ministry.  Women who are not only tending to their own families, but to their congregations and followers as well. Afraid to have friends, no where to go to share their pain and their doubts. Women without a safe place to land, who create safe places for others.

This was never God’s intention. Not for marriage, not for those who serve.

New Living Translation

He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:6)

I was raised to believe that salvation is that new covenant. But I am here to tell you that it is much more than that. Love is the new covenant.

Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’c 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’d 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-39)

Throughout our lives, we are taught how to think and act from a foundation of law, not love. If we had been taught love, there would be much less pain on this planet, don’t you think?

Giving loveLove is really very simple.  Love God. Love others AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF.

Yet, because we struggle to love ourselves, we have nothing to give others … but the same judgment and condemnation that we sentence ourselves with – which we learn from our elders, who learned it from theirs …

If we do not love ourselves, cannot love others … then is it any wonder why so many are lost and in agony because they remain disconnected with their Creator and Savior?  It is not in man’s fallen nature to recognize love, but law we know.

Through out the pages of this website, our online events and local gatherings, our focus is on love. not a a wishy-washy version of love, but love that is courageous, kind, forgiving and without offense. 

No matter what your spiritual journey, or life journey has been; whether you have enjoyed success or been hammered by defeat and failure; you have found a safe place where shame and blame are absent. There’s safety here … There’s wisdom here … There’s relationship here … and there are resources. Lots of resources.

Why? Because I’ve walked the journey, I’ve talked the journey, and I’ve gathered resources, wisdom, relationships and great love along the way. I have much to share, and I’ve met others along the way that have dynamic stories and amazing testimonies to prove the wisdom that they too, now enjoy.

No matter the denomination, size of your ministry or church, or whether you have a title or not. We have work to do … and it begins with love … moves to healing and reproduces more love … which creates an attitude of perpetual praise. You know who dwells in the praises of His people, right? Let’s usher in his presence … with a new covenant. A covenant of love.

*Name changed to protect the individual.

Verses found through

2 thoughts on “Shattered Pastors, Shattered Marriages, Shattered Lives …

  1. elisa olavere says:

    Maybe its because pastors have devoted their time on the ministry and neglected the needs of her wife.She needs attention from her husband,unfortunately given by other person to her.It takes 2 to tango…both of them dont have time w/ each other…and as we know, the devil is roaring like a lion to have us as prey…lets be vigilant in prayer…If pastors and their families will be destroyed…its easy 4 the devil to shake and destroy the church

    • Shannon says:

      You are right Elisa, it DOES take “2 to tango”. Both husband and wife must tend to the work of marriage – not just the work of the ministry.

      Many times the “work” is the very thing that opens the door to destructive behaviors, mindsets and tragedy. It strokes a man’s ego to do well in “work” – whether it is in ministry or in the secular workplace. He is still a man.

      A woman, because of her desire to be loved by the man, is too often, an expert at denial, reasoning away alarming behaviors or signs of drifting, or will put on a brave “Christian/Ministry” face and believe that her “suffering” is not only of God, but glorifies Him. (say WHAT?)

      Scripture says, “Whatever a man sows, that will he also reap.” What we sow is what we are passionate about. If the harvest that begins to appear is destructive, then there is diseased seed present – and belief systems that must be addressed. The fruit is proof of the root.

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