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Click HERE for Mallory’s Faithful31Moms podcast!

Meet Mallory Allen!

Mallory and her husband Josh are church planters in the Memphis, Tennessee, area and they’re raising two boys in ministry. In addition to hosting the Faithful31Moms podcast for Love Worth Finding, Mallory has also written a children’s book about the names of God.

If you’d like to hear my entire conversation with Mallory on MTTM, click HERE to listen to Ep 23.

Mallory, what do you consider to be one blessing of being married to the ministry?

That is a really good question. I think that I would’ve answered it differently back when I first started and now. But I think one of the biggest blessings is just being on another level of partnership with my husband because there’s a lot of times in marriage you have things that you do together, like hobbies or shows that you watch together or you go watch your kids play sports, whatever it is that keeps you bonded as a family. But with us, especially in church planting, it was kind of like all boots on the ground. Everybody is completely all in, in our prayers as a family, in our efforts. We tear down and set up every single week, for example. So just there’s a lot of extra time that we have spent together. And at first I would’ve not considered that a blessing. We had to really learn how to work together. But I think over time it has helped grow us closer as a couple. And that’s a huge blessing.

So what’s a burden that you’ve experienced in your ministry marriage?

Well, that’s funny that you mentioned it because I guess especially when kids come into the picture, it complicates that little duo team that you have going, if you will, before kids are in the picture. And so when I was thinking about coming on with you, I actually thought about four things that I don’t feel like I’m completely delivered from, as I’m sharing these things today. So don’t anybody think I’ve arrived and I’m an expert. I’m 35 years old and still very much learning, but I have been in it since I was 21 and had a couple of kids along the way. And so I came up with four lies that we often tell ourselves or the enemy tries to make us tell ourselves as pastor’s wives and also as being moms, as pastor’s wives specifically.

Lie #1: The enemy tries to tell me, “You’re alone. You’re alone in this motherhood role, in this wife role, in this pastor’s wife role.”

And I had to come to grips with that and realize that I didn’t need to be alone in that. And if I couldn’t get support from lay people in the church, understandably I understood their perspective, then I needed to get it somewhere else. I’ve been in churches where the lead pastor’s wife really took on that role and poured into the younger pastor’s wives, and I’ve been in situations where the lead pastor’s wife did not do that and I had to find help in other places, in other ministry friends if you will. But if you’re drowning or you feel like you need help with this new role of motherhood or you need help with your marriage or whatever, and you don’t feel like you have a lay person in the church that’s willing to take you on, you need to find it from somebody. I recommend having ministry friends that can understand your perspective. In our case now, we have some church planting friends that we can talk to about things. But it’s hard being the one that’s always pouring out and there’s not people pouring in. So that’s the first lie, but it doesn’t have to be true. You need to have some people in your corner even if they’re not in your church.

Lie #2: Sunday mornings are just bliss (because we never miss!)

People in the church assume this. I didn’t realize it would rhyme, and that’s kind of funny, but it’s not. It’s like the furthest thing from that possible when kids come into the picture. For most of us, we always have to go to church by ourselves because our husband’s long left the house earlier before the rest of us. It has gotten easier in different seasons of life as the kids have gotten a little older, but at the same time, they’re more vocal now about how they feel about things too (not wanting to go to church). And so that’s kind of interesting and funny sometimes. But, overall, in no way am I excusing absence or even being late. I know it happens sometimes, but I think that as pastor’s wives, we should be present, but at the same time, cut yourself some slack. If Sundays are hard, it’s okay. I can remember getting in, turning it on two wheels in my minivan being like “I made it!” and that was good enough. If the kids had wrinkled clothes on or whatever, so be it. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves that we have to be all smiles and everything has to be perfect on that day. And there’s no way that you can manufacture that every week. You cannot control everything. And so I think that’s something that the Lord has really released me of, I guess.

Lie #3: I’m not good enough

In different times in our life and different ministries that we’ve been a part of,  I’ve always struggled with telling myself that I’m not doing good enough and I’m not being a good enough partner in ministry, especially after having children.

There were just many nights where I would come home and I’d put my kids to bed and it was already too late so they were whiny. I’d just sit on the couch after and beat myself up. I’m not doing enough. I’m not doing enough with the ministry, like the college girls. I’m not hanging out with them enough, I’m not staying for service enough. And I just remember just really beating myself up about that.

Regardless of if you even have little kids or not, any pastor’s wife, I really want to encourage you with three things the Lord has told me over and over again that I’m really only called to do. And that has lifted a weight off of me.

  1. If you’re a believer, you’re supposed to spend time with Jesus and have a personal relationship with Him and grow that relationship.
  2. If you’re married to a pastor, you’re called to encourage him, you’re called to love him, you’re called to show him affection and make your home a comfort to him and also a safe haven. And so that’s been something that I’ve struggled with–I thought the way that I was supposed to really care for him is that I was supposed to be at everything or I was supposed to be doing everything, but I’ve learned is that’s not actually true and that was freeing in itself.
  3. If you are a mom and you’re raising kids at home, you are called to be there for those kids. Meeting their everyday basic needs earns you the right to pour Jesus into them as they grow older like we’re supposed to be doing.

If I’m doing those three things well, whatever time I have left, teaching a Bible study at church or leading a youth group of girls or whatever is fine and good, and if you have time for something, then do it. Go on a mission trip, whatever. But those are the three priorities. And for a long time I had my priorities out of line because I thought I was supposed to be doing all this over here at the church and then all this over here at home. And you can’t always do both in different seasons of life.

Lie #4: Our kids need to be the best behaved and most involved, and they need to know all the answers about the Bible.

Obviously, that is impossible! That’s what I would call the glasshouse syndrome, that everybody’s watching you and they’re watching your kids and they’re listening to your kids. If your kids are misbehaving or they don’t know the answers, you’re thinking, oh no. And I know this because I was a kid in the ministry and I felt like everybody was watching me and I felt like I had to be at everything.

Have you ever felt like church people put expectations on your children? Have you ever had a parent take you aside and tell you, “I think your kid ought to be doing such and such?”

Yes. I have had that happen before. I’m trying to be careful in how I say this, but I feel like some church people believe that because they’re the pastor’s kids that they should always be “on”, that they should always act a certain way, that they should always know the answers, that they should never be the ones called out for disrupting in the Bible story time. And that’s like I was saying earlier, kids are kids, that’s just not possible.

Do you think your kids resent being raised in a ministry home?

My kids don’t know any different. but I do think that we’ve really tried to bring them along in the journey that we’ve gone on. I can remember specifically in 2020 when we were going to be moving here in the middle of a pandemic, because it was May. And my youngest son doesn’t really remember it, because he was only three, but my older one does. He was in kindergarten. And I just remember him having a lot of questions about why we were leaving his church and why we were going somewhere else and what it was going to be like and all that. And we just really stressed to him that sometimes the Lord calls us to do things and they may not be the easiest things. They may not be the things that we want to do, but it’s better to be in the will of the Lord every time than to be out of it.

And through that, even though he was very young (and we had to water it down in the way that we explained it to him), we really saw his faith grow a lot. And we saw his prayers become more than, thank you for the food, amen. Or just the standard cookie cutter things. We saw him begin to really learn to really pray for things. And that was a really cool experience because I think if you view ministry as the adventure and I guess the privilege that it really is, I think that your kids will view it like that too. And they’ll grow and they’ll be stretched and their faith will deepen.

Can you tell us a little bit about what you’re doing with mom’s ministry and children’s ministry at Love Worth Finding?

Faithful 31 Moms has been a great adventure. I’ve really loved doing the podcast and ministering to moms specifically through Love Worth Finding. But along the journey, I’ve written a couple of things, something called Casting of the Flowers, and then a devotional coloring book that goes with that that basically takes kids through the ABCs with the names of God.

I also wrote a little booklet that parents and churches can use to lead children to Christ if you feel like they’re asking questions about that. Click HERE to check out “How to Become a Christian” in the LWF bookstore.