By Deborah South
Colossians 3:23-24, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”
I LOVE BEING A PASTOR’S WIFE!
As long as I can remember after my salvation, I always wanted to be married to a Preacher. I don’t know exactly when, but as a young teenager, I remember being in a youth service and telling the Lord that I would marry a preacher one day if He would let me! My mom was a great example of the joy of serving as the Pastor’s wife, and I desired that life!
My husband has pastored now for 30 years, and I am thankful to serve with him. Our first church was a beautiful little country church in East Bernstadt, KY. We were voted in on Christmas Day! (I am thankful we believed then and still do, that holidays should not close down the church!) When we arrived there as a young, starry-eyed couple with 2 little children, we had big plans to change the world! We didn’t. We made many “first church” mistakes. The people were so patient with us, and we saw God do many wonderful things and change lives while we were there. God increased our faith in Him and grew us up. When the church struggled financially, we watched God meet the needs. Walking by faith is never boring, and we were able to see miraculous answers to prayer.
I remember as a young pastor’s wife (I was 27 years old), I never felt that I could tell any of the older ladies anything because I felt that they knew so much more than I did. I failed to realize that God put me there to help them, not to sit quietly by when they needed and wanted my advice. Sometimes people do not want your advice. It is better to keep your mouth closed in those cases. But there are times when people ask for it, and if you can back up your advice with the Word of God, you had better do it! The Bible will change lives no matter how old a person is. I remember there were times when I would not say anything concerning child rearing, loving your husband, being faithful to God, and so on. I saw ladies stumble in their walk with God.
One lesson I learned the hard way—do not be afraid to give advice from the Word of God no matter how old you are! And know your Bible so that you can give a Biblical answer!
Another lesson I have struggled to learn is to delegate! I can’t do it all. I am not Wonder Woman. But, too often, I try to be just that! And it usually gets me in trouble. I end up so tired and frustrated because I was too proud to ask for help. Learn to ask for help and to delegate jobs when you are having special meetings, feeding a guest preacher, or other tasks. The other ladies may not do it exactly like you would do it, but if you have help, it saves you time and energy, and it allows you to include the ladies in a part of your ministry. You will find that you have ladies that have hidden talents, if they are just allowed to use them. I have to drop my pride and let others help. This is not easy for me. I would rather just do it and know that it gets done than to depend on someone else. And, yes, this is a battle I still fight with myself.
Lesson three, remember your little angels are not perfect. I wanted mine to be perfect. What mom doesn’t? And it hurt like crazy when they would do wrong. But they are made of the same sinful flesh as you and I, so don’t be surprised if they do something to embarrass you; but don’t make excuses for them either. When an adult or another child would tell me something that my child did or didn’t do, I tried to never “fly off the handle” at the adult/child or at my child. I tried, if possible, to wait until we got home and could hear the whole story. Over the years, I only know of one time that my child truly was NOT in the wrong when it came to a confrontation with an adult, but I never let them know that the adult was wrong. I did not want them to lose respect for that person because one day they might need that adult!
Be careful how you talk around your young children about other church members. I never remember my mom and dad talking about our church members when they were wrong, so you can imagine my surprise when people would leave the church! Daddy knew why, but I didn’t. As I got older, I figured out human nature a bit more, and it was a source of hurt, but we didn’t sit around and talk about all of the problems of the errant church member. We always hoped and prayed they would come back to the Lord. My husband and I tried to practice this with our children. Love your people even if they hurt you; just as you have bad days and don’t always realize you hurt others, they have bad days, too.
(And a side note here: remember your pastor’s children are human and will make real human mistakes. Love them and be there to help them!)
Another note when it comes to your children, don’t make decisions that your husband should be making. In their teen years, my children would often ask me to make decisions that I should have pointed them to their dad to make. God gave you that husband to guide the home. We make decisions based on emotion; our husbands make decisions based on facts. Let him be Daddy! (And if he makes a decision you do not agree with, keep your emotions, words, and facial expressions in check until you can talk privately with your husband. Sometimes he knows more about a situation than you do and has a reason for his decision.)
Lesson four, and most importantly, keep your eyes on Jesus! We get hurt, burnt out, frustrated, etc., when we get our eyes on ourselves or others. If we remember that we are HIS servants, we know that nothing happens to us that He doesn’t allow. A servant just serves! It doesn’t matter what others say or do, he just serves! We have a mentality these days that we do not want anyone to run over us, and we want people to serve us! That is not my job! My job is to first serve the Lord, then my husband, family, and church.
Jesus-Others-You, what a wonderful way to spell JOY! Let me encourage you ladies in ministry, it is worth every mile to serve God with your husband. You are the shoulder he will need to cry on, as well as the hand he will hold as you take steps of faith together. It is a beautiful journey, if you will remember WHO is controlling your life!
If you have no joy in serving, do you really think you will send a good message to other single ladies that may be considering the possibility of marrying a preacher?
If you are miserable doing what you want others to do, do you really think they wouldn’t be as well? We must always make God look good in every part of our life! I can’t imagine my life being any other way than it is now. I have been enriched by the people that God has brought across my path, both good and bad! If I dwell on the negative, I could tell you sob stories, perhaps, but why? What would that accomplish? Instead, let me say with the songwriter, “God’s Been Good in My Life! I’ve been blessed beyond my wildest dreams as I go to sleep each night! Though I’ve had my share of hard times, by my side He’s always stood and through it all God’s been good!”