The Pastor's Wife
Guideposts|June/July 2021
Her perfect family life wasn’t turning out so perfect
BRIANNA BELL

I was 27 years old and living the life I always wanted…or thought I did.I was married to a youth pastor. We had two daughters, and I was pregnant with our third baby girl. My husband, Daniel, was busy at church (very busy), and our family was beloved by the congregation.

We were like the youth group families I’d idolized growing up, with their stay-at-home moms, cheerful kids and involvement in church.

My own family was the opposite. My dad had walked out while my mom was pregnant with me. My mom worked long hours but couldn’t afford much beyond the necessities. I was a self-proclaimed Jesus freak, riding my bike miles every Sunday to attend church by myself, where I’d sit in a pew with my middle school friends and long to belong to one of the families around me.

For years, I’d prayed for the kind of family I had now.

Why was I so unhappy?

It wasn’t just that I was struggling emotionally with an exhausting third pregnancy or that I had recently been diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

I felt totally unsuited to being a pastor’s wife and stay-at-home mom. I’m not the most organized person, and my days at home with the kids did not remotely resemble the sprightly, creative families I saw on social media— let alone the relaxed, can-do moms I remembered from youth group.

I wanted to support Daniel’s ministry, but more and more I found myself resenting how much time his job required. Not to mention the masters of divinity he was completed on the side. Much of his work happened during afternoons, evenings, weekends— exactly when my energies flagged and I yearned for Daniel’s help and companionship.

I’d studied communications when I was in college, and I hadn’t anticipated how much I would miss writing professionally after the kids arrived. The more my parenting duties expanded, the more I wished I could work part-time to supplement Daniel’s modest income.

Our family was God’s answer to my prayers. Why couldn’t I be grateful? What was wrong with me?

Everything came to a head when I got the diabetes diagnosis. A routine blood test came back showing elevated sugar levels. My doctor said I needed more tests right away.

Daniel was at church, overseeing a youth event. I called to tell him, but he couldn’t leave the kids at the event unsupervised.

It was nearing bedtime for Penny and Georgia, our four- and two-year olds. I recruited one friend to stay with the girls while another, Lauren, took me to the hospital.

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