Appreciation for This Pastor’s Wife

More than ever this year, I want to add some balance to a very kind gesture – kind, but in some ways incomplete.

unnamed-2Someone declared October to be Pastor Appreciation Month (by the way, according to a Wikipedia article, October has been adopted by almost 30 other causes, including Breast Cancer Awareness, Fire Prevention, and Vegetarianism – we’re talking about a VERY popular month here). Greeting cards are available in Christian bookstores, but it’s probably most visible these days through memes like this one floating around social media.

I’m glad that someone had the idea to express appreciation to pastors. I’ve already received some encouraging words, and I’m grateful. I’m sure my fellow pastors feel the same way.

But as I said, the focus is incomplete, because it leaves out a very important member of the team. I first addressed that problem two years ago, with a post entitled “When is Pastor’s Wife Appreciation Month?” I reposted that article last year, and I’m pleased that it has become one of the most-read pieces on my blog. It describes the behind-the-scenes ministry of my wife, and everything I said is still true. If you wish, you can read it here.

I’m writing a sequel this year, because my wife Murf said something to me a few months ago that amazed me. I still marvel at it. I want to honor her, and remember and learn from her example. This post is one way for me to do that, and if it encourages you too, that’s a worthwhile bonus.

You are probably aware that this has been a year of huge transition for us. We moved away from a church where we had invested 13 years of ministry. We made life-long friends there, and it was hard to leave a church that we loved.

IMG_0957More importantly, we moved away from our daughter and son-in-law and our two grandsons – the youngest was born just days before we left town. Murf had been lovingly involved and invested in the lives of our extended family, getting to play Mimi several times a week for more than two years. She is a wonderful mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother, and I know that each role matters to her. She lives for those moments.

I knew from the time we began discussing the move that there was a lack of balance as we looked at our future. While there would be excitement and cost for both of us, most of the excitement would be mine, and most of the cost would be hers. As the plans firmed up early in the year and we neared the date to announce our departure, I wondered if she would get cold feet as she contemplated the loss that was coming. She never did.

One day I was telling her how excited I was about the new opportunities ahead of us in our new church, about my enthusiasm for the roles I would be asked to play, and she told me that she was excited too. I finally asked her the question that had been nagging me for weeks. Holding my breath a little, I said, “Are you happy for me, or for you?”

I will never forget her response. After a small pause, and with a look of sincere confusion on her face, she replied “What’s the difference?”

Without a doubt, that is the most selfless statement I’ve ever heard. It humbles me to be the object of that kind of selflessness. It’s hard to believe that I get to live with a person who thinks like that. It makes me want to be worthy of her.

When I grow up, I want to be like my wife. This is not the first time I’ve said that, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. That’s why she deserves an Appreciation Month.

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About Sabbath Thoughts

My name is Mike Gaston. I am a former missionary, a Shepherding Pastor at Heights Church in Prescott, AZ, a happy husband, a spoiled father of two daughters, a proud grandfather, and a recently-convinced pursuer of the benefits of intentional, regular, contemplative, Christ-centered rest. This blog will allow me to share thoughts about Sabbath, as well as thoughts about God and the Christian life that come out of my restful Sabbath moments.
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17 Responses to Appreciation for This Pastor’s Wife

  1. Laura Davis says:

    Very well said! I understand her position. Thank you for honoring your wife so well. 🙂

  2. Jill says:

    Wow! I always knew Murf was a rock star, now its been confirmed! Thanks so much for sharing this incredible story of courage, faith and true love. It is surely something to be admired and emulated! We at Heights LOVE having you here and am SO thrilled you’re loving it too … both of you!

  3. LINDA OLSON says:


  4. Karen F. says:

    Great, now I’m sitting at my desk in tears. Murf is really quite exceptional, isn’t she! Thank you for sharing this! 🙂

  5. Chris Abbott says:

    Wow! Although we miss you here in CA we’re also excited for all your new opportunities. Blessings!

  6. FATIMA REIS says:

    Wow! I too am in tears after reading about such love and devotion for your beautiful wife. I am not surprised since you are such a wonderful, kind and loving person and I am honored to know you and to have met your beautiful and lovely wife if only for a short time.
    We miss you so much in LA, but are Praying for you and your lovely wife and may our Lord fill your life with His Blessings and may you both continue to inspire many as you both have been doing for so long.
    God Bless you and your family.

  7. Nehsa Russell says:

    Beautiful 💜

  8. Cheryl Reynolds says:

    Can I be Murph when I grow up as well? I don’t think I would have responded that way.
    This post reminds me of Billy Graham’s response when asked who was the greatest Christian he had ever known (after traveling all over the world). He responded, “Without a doubt, my wife Ruth is the greatest Christian I have ever known.”
    Another private lady married to a public man.

  9. Ken Royer says:

    Excellent writing! “What’s the difference?” What a great quote!

    Loving greetings,

    Ken for Mary too

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