Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Pastor Appreciation, the view from the bedside of a pastor's wife

I’m Kelly Kuvakas, photographer of thousands, grandma of two (and counting), mother of two (and stopping) and pastor’s wife of one. 

I’m at that age where I wake up more at night.

 I blame water.  

Or maybe I should blame the lack thereof and the consequences of trying to change my poor drinking habits late in life (and late at night).

Maybe this nightly waking up thing at 3:30, 4:30 or 5:30 is a godsend in the month of October – Pastor Appreciation Month.  See, I often find I am alone in bed.  

It certainly has confirmed what my husband has said about himself as a pastor:  “I’m always on.” 

It's a pastor thing, perhaps not dissimilar to the calling of a fireman or a policewoman or an active duty military personnel or anyone else in the search and rescue business.  You’re always at the ready, always on alert.  The clock has no respect for normalcy, privacy or even sometimes sleep. 

Do not read that wrong.  To be upset with people calling or texting or communicating is not the point here. This is the life we signed up for.  This is the love that God has poured into us.  And this is His strength in action even when our bodies are aging and begin calling out for rest (or for the bathroom). 

But it’s even more than that.  It’s God calling the pastor in the dark hours. It’s God inspiring ideas from the Word that has been read and ruminated upon all week long.  

It’s sitting at a computer, tapping on the keys, reading and studying and meditating.  It’s the process of preparation for the next Sunday’s sermon, text and ideas turning over and over in my dear husband’s pastor mind at every hour of the day.  

Did you know that John begins his preparations for the next week's sermon on Sunday afternoon?  

Yes, after a regular Sunday morning of 4:30am rise and shine alarm clock, 

a 5:30 arrival at church, 
a 6am first preaching of the sermon to an empty sanctuary, 
an 8:30 1st service, 
a 10am Sunday School hour (he’s co-leading a new members class this month with Pastor Scott), 
an 11am 2nd service, 
as well as a sometimes lengthy
 stay after the service, where he graciously listens to the critique of his sermon from some and the fears and the needs of others, 
a mad dash to the nearest Five Guys or the like to feed his starving (although she doesn’t look like it) wife, 

then a 2+ hour nap...

Then – then he begins the next sermon.  

That’s the view from my chair (to use his own phrase) or maybe better, as I began this missive, the view from my bedside!

But now I’m fully awake and as I sit here with him at 8:42am on Thursday, October 20, 2016 there are no complaints from him.  

This is a love and a passion and a privilege for him, for both of us.  There will not be a letter or an email from him to tell you all the hours he works.   There won’t be one to tell you when he’s exhausted either.  That’s not the way a pastor rolls, at least not until he’s on the verge of burnout.  But it is the way I’m rolling this morning…  

You know, we came close to burnout this past September.  No, I came close to burnout. I’ll admit it.  It was a difficult start to our postponed vacation. 

At first I struggled with remaining in touch with our congregation. I found myself longing for the total detachment and solitude we both needed. But our vacation fell at a time when crucial changes were happening in the church.  And John’s love for his flock, his staff and his high calling rightly overruled his wife’s and even his own desire for rest. 

In this, we found a beautiful blessing. We both found that once again, when we settle without strife into whatever God places before us, trusting He knows best, not getting angry or frustrated, we fare much better.  Imagine that??  LOL 

One last insight into the life of your pastor, a spy report if you will. 

 Last night when John arrived home we sat in his office and I asked him, as I always do, how his day was.  

He said something like “You know, I’m surrounded by great and passionate people.”  

He was so grateful in his heart for the staff and congregation who pour themselves out regularly for the church.  He had that peaceful look you can only have when you are aware of how much God is moving in the lives of those you love, those whom God has placed around you. 

So, as I type my random thoughts and John continues his morning routine – which I think must but won’t include a morning nap if he’s going to be working until 9pm tonight – I want to say “Thank you Pastor”.  

Correction.  Thank you Pastors!  

Pastor Scott and Leslie’s story cannot be too different from ours, even though their ages are younger and their temperaments perhaps better -- Leslie is the sweetest pastor’s wife I know! 

Thank you Pastors for the hours and hours of unseen work.

Thank you both for pouring yourselves out for us.  

Thank you both for answering the call to Search and Rescue and Continue to Serve.  

I know you wouldn’t have it any other way and for that I thank you too.



  1. Kelly, what a great and encouraging blog post. I am so grateful to God that my daughter and son-in-law (Tori and Conrad) are a part of your fellowship! I pray for you and Pastor John often and appreciate God's faithfulness at work in you. Grace to you both!!!

    1. Wally, we are so blessed to have them with us, pouring themselves out for God's service at WBF!! Thanks for raising a lovely daughter (and family) and thanks be to God for Him leading them here. Your prayers are being heard and we ask God to bless YOU too Pastor!!

  2. Thanks to both (all 4 of you ) for serving is so well.

    1. By His grace , if it's well! Thanks so much Marsha for all you do as well. You're a faithful servant here and on the road!

  3. Your labor is not in vain in the Lord!