"Be Still" is a caring ministry for clergy spouses in the Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church. We've put together a brochure, and if you want a copy let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org). There are ten districts in our conference, but only three districts have spouses who are available to listen and be present to those who are hurting. We are working on more coverage.
I was talking recently with one of the spouses providing support. Both of us described separate experiences with spouses whose names were given to us by a district superintendent. We contacted the spouse several times, with no response. We decided to contact the referring superintendents for further direction.
Reflecting on the lack of response, I remembered a few conversations with clergy spouses, who were afraid that sharing personal struggles would somehow get back to the congregation (even though confidentiality is assured) and/or affect their spouse's ministry.
My question is, How to inspire courage for hurting spouses to "speak up," and utilize a caring ministry designed just for them? I know that asking for help does take a lot of courage, but the benefits for carrying one another and ultimately bringing the spouse to the one says, "Come to me, all who are tired and need rest" can be healing.
God there are many spouses hurting in my conference and I assume in other conferences too. Give them strength and courage to seek listening ears who are waiting to help. Amen.