Dear Discouraged Sister in Ministry

by Grace Pike August 25, 2021

Dear Discouraged Sister in Ministry,

I know the wounds you bear.

The bruises on your heart from unkind words spoken by your pastor. The heaviness of your body where your colleague touched your skin uninvited. The scars bore by your soul in the wake of being silenced, rejected, or uncared for.

But that is not all: you have self-inflicted wounds, too.

You try to hide it, but you have made regret your companion and jealousy your friend. For the sake of appearing strong to the world, you trade heavenly wisdom for earthly pride. You give to others with false humility, expecting affection and attention in return. You proclaim the word with your lips but do not demonstrate it with your life.

You are tired, and rightly so.

If there is any time to give up, it would be now. You have been mocked and trampled upon. You have done what is evil in the sight of God. You have not measured up and therefore do not deserve to serve the Church, let alone the God of all glory. All seems lost.

Yet, dear sister, there is hope.

You are not forsaken. Though your heart and flesh faint under the weight of brokenness and sin, the Lord does not fail to hold onto you. In your faithlessness, he is faithful. In the darkness of the world, the light of the gospel continues to shine forth. These are not trite statements; they are your reality. I know this because they are my reality too.

Christ knows the wounds we bear.

For the heart hurting because of sin committed against you, know Jesus is well acquainted with your grief. The one who has “borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” was “despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Is. 53:3-4). His skin “was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed” (5).

For the heart doubting because of sin you have committed, know there is forgiveness in Jesus for those who walk in repentance. God will not despise a heart broken and contrite over sin (Ps. 51:7). When he called us to himself and service of his body, the Lord knew every facet of what that meant: every beautiful, messy, broken, redeemed bit of it. When we are weak, we can trust God’s promise that “[his] grace is sufficient and [his] power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).

Dear discouraged sister, your ministry is valuable. But your ministry is not who you are.

Your strength is never what qualified you to be loved by Christ or to love the Bride of Christ. It is only in the love of Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit that you will stand holy and blameless before the Father (Eph. 1:4). It is only alongside others in the Church that you will continue to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18).

Take heart, beloved. You are a daughter of the Most High King who has entrusted you with the honor of serving as an ambassador for his Kingdom. He has called you, and he will keep you.