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The Pain of Leadership

The Pain of Leadership

“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” 2 Corinthians 4:7


Sitting across the coffee table from one of the ladies in the church whom I barely knew, I began to ask myself, “Why did I do this?”  

Going for coffee as a pastor’s wife is not always fun or encouraging. Conversations often turn to criticisms of the church, the music, the ministers, or even myself and how I should be different and do things better. 

Sometimes, the conversation is an opportunity to hear the needs of the one with whom I am talking and the burdens she is carrying. 

On this day, my heart was heavy. Our family had been going through an extremely painful journey. I was empty, depleted of energy, and felt I had nothing to offer this dear soul.  As I sat and listened to her story, she shared with me the pain and turmoil from her childhood, and she shared about the pain she carried as a mother, I had no words. We sat for about 2 hours; she shared, and I listened.  Then she burst into tears, and as she looked at me, she said, “You’ve never experienced anything hard, why should I expect you to understand my story.” 

I was dumbfounded; I thought my heart would break, as my own hurt intensified and almost overflowed.  All I could do was look at her, tears rolling down my cheeks; if she could see my heart, she would know there was agony of soul. With the strength Christ gave, I said, “I’m sorry for the pain you are carrying.” I did not refute her accusations. I prayed with her, and shortly afterwards we parted ways. I knew Jesus saw my pain.

In leadership, pain is a promise, whether another’s or our own.  During suffering, we may not understand our own hearts, God desires to shine through us to encourage others with His poured-out love.