I grew up in a pastor’s home. I never knew life without Dad at some sort of meeting; board meeting, counseling session, wedding rehearsal, funeral… oh, the many meetings! On Sunday mornings Mom was usually playing the piano or teaching a class and we often shared our Sunday meal with others around the table. My mom tells me of the early days of their ministry (when my siblings and I were all 4 and under) when they lived in the parsonage which also served as the pastor’s study, the nursery, a Sunday school classroom—oh, and did I mention it also contained the church office and mimeograph machine!? Every Sunday mom had to have all three of us dressed and the house cleaned by so everything would be in its rightful place for when the church members would tromps through our home. I don’t remember that (thankfully!) and when I have that imagine in mind I most certainly respond negatively. But when I think of the many days I rode my bike to the church just to drop in on Dad for a few minutes, having Dad as my soccer coach, having Dad pick me up after school, playing (or many times working) with Dad on his day off, the many “gifts” of unusual activities we were able to do because someone in the church knew this person or that and wanted to let our family experience various things (like the airplane ride that picked us up right in the field across from our house!), I readily sign my own family up.
But you may have a very different story. You may have married your husband thinking he was going into the business world with all the offerings of financial security complete with bonuses and weeks of vacation. You may have never graced the doors of a church until you were saved in college and you’re completely unfamiliar with what you believe the role of a pastor’s wife should be. You may have observed a pastor’s wife who kept her distance from the church and even a larger distance from her husband and you think, “is that who I’m resigned to be?”... and all this talk about being a pastor’s wife has you full of fear and anxiety. If you were really honest, and we can be here, you may even question whether or not your husband is hearing God’s voice correctly.
So now what? God has you headed, or already in, full-time vocational ministry and you’re wondering what you are doing there. There are a few lessons I’ve learned along the way now that I’ve been a pastor’s wife myself for over 7 years and I wanted to pass those on to you. Hopefully they will encourage you. (These Truths are still working themselves into me.)
1) God is Sovereign. Not only is this a great theological word, it is Truth. He knows best in every situation—even when we can’t see it. He chose your husband to carry out His purposes here on earth and by doing that, as you are one flesh with your husband, He chose you, too! (And God even knew what He was doing when He planned that out!)
2) God is Sufficient. He is all we need and He tells us in Him we have everything we need. (2 Peter 1:3, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.")
3) God gives the Strength. When we truly abide in Him (John 15) by spending time in His Word, meditating on His Truth, he promises to give us His perfect strength. (Is. 40:31, “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.)
4) We are to respond in Faith. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God...” As that chapter continues it lists many small steps of obedience that in and of themselves may not have been of any great significance, but over time resulted in men and women being listed in the Hall of Faith! If we are children of God we will desire to please God. Walking in obedient faith, one step at a time, is one outflow of that faith. This may mean minute-by-minute taking thoughts of doubt “captive” or wrestling with our struggles of contentment or any number of other seemingly small steps of obedience.
I don’t know where you are right now, but I know I’ve begun to go back to “the basics.” The basics are always where we need to turn when we begin to feel turned about and confused about our purpose—or God’s purposes. Nothing can be a substitute for reading His Word. Only His Word will be 100% accurate, 100% of the time. Through reading His Word we begin to get our minds clear enough to hear the Holy Spirit that is so oft quenched by our everyday living.
Let me end with portions from my current memory passage taken from Isaiah 55. I hope these words of God will wash over you like a replenishing summer rain.
"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money…Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live… Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD… for he will freely pardon. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, …so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace…Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree…This will be for the LORD's renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed."
Grow in the Grace of God,