By Karen Friday
Resentment sent me a friend request. I could choose to ignore or accept it.
As a pastor’s wife, joy and blessings have befriended me on the journey. However, the path is also filled with hard places. Resentment, discouragement and their friends want to join the posse.
We have served in 8 churches over the past 30 years and my husband is currently the lead pastor at Believers Church.
I have learned some valuable lessons along the way about “friend requests.”
6 confessions and lessons learned:
- Confession: I’m a rebel of the typical-pastor-wife ideology. Trying to conform in my younger years, I fell prey to notions such a woman exists. A pastor’s wife who exemplifies “typical.” I wondered who tried to write the job description or the definition for Wikipedia. Lesson learned: God alone defines me. I’m not typical, I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).
- Confession: I am oppressed by people’s expectations. I will never measure up to everyone’s ideal (and neither will my husband). I’m not the pastor’s wife from your former church or like another pastor’s wife you know or highly regard. Lesson learned: seek to please God, not people (Galatians 1:10). Striving to please God will bring a correct perspective as I lay expectations at the feet of Jesus.
- Confession: I resent when the church becomes about busyness. The pastor has a lot of spiritual responsibility as shepherd. Ministry can become side-tracked with “fillers.” When this happens, a pastor’s family will often be neglected. Lesson learned: Be about The Father’s business (Luke 2:49). Spreading the gospel and making disciples are our first priority. Don’t misunderstand. Fun events are good. Yet, we can fill church calendars with no thought to our number one mission of sharing Christ. Programs that fill empty spaces will never fill empty hearts.
- Confession: I am wounded when people in the church are “fault-finders.” Being approachable and extending freedom of expression are ways pastors and their wives make themselves available. However, it leaves us open to attack from critics who prey on the opportunity to implement their personal agendas. It hurts when people criticize my husband, family members, or me. Mean people are in every area of life including the church. The capacity for mean is within each of us—we must guard against it. (I hope to never write the article, Confessions of a Mean Pastor’s Wife.) Lesson learned: weigh criticism against identity in Christ. The scales will always tip toward “in Christ” where I am a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). We can improve, but sift everything with the truth of knowing Christ transforms us—people do not.
- Confession: I dislike being under the microscope. “She hated being a pastor’s wife. It made her feel like a bug under a microscope” (lines from a movie). I have not loved everything about this role, but I love being a pastor’s wife—hate, never. Loving the pastor I married and choosing to be in ministry partnership with him. Pastors and their wives are being watched and followed as leaders and examples in the body of Christ. But. We. Fail. Don’t put us on a religious-built pedestal made from idol-worship of men. Lesson learned: Scriptures do the best job of dissecting my life (2 Timothy 3:16).
- Confession: I am discouraged when the pastor is discouraged. Pastors are not shielded from down-times. In fact, they are more susceptible to this attack from the enemy. Church attendance is low, there’s a lack of volunteers for a mission event, unity is scarce, there are grumblings, or people leave. All factors weighing heavy on a pastor’s heart, thus his wife’s heart. Lesson learned: encourage my husband’s heart as Christ shepherd’s my heart. God is the strength of my heart (Psalm 73:26).
I pray my lessons learned will encourage pastors and wives.
If you have a pastor and wife (and associate pastors)—and you should, it’s biblical—I pray these words give you insight of the burdens carried by those who shepherd the flocks.
And not for knowledge alone, it would spur you to:
- Love in action. Find practical ways to come along side your pastor and serve.
- Pray for their teaching, anointing, intimacy with God, and against the magnitude of attack from the enemy.
- Be unified for a gospel purpose. Don’t squabble about petty things. Drama and whining show our true character.
- Encourage your pastor. The forces of darkness come against him. If you don’t realize the depth of spiritual battle your pastor is fighting, then get your head out of the sand. It’s happening daily! We must fight darkness with the light of Jesus.
Part 2 next week: 6 greatest blessings and joys of being a pastor’s wife
© 2015 by Karen Friday
June 4, 2015 at 9:18 am | Uncategorized