chime in: questions from you (2)

>> February 18, 2009

Reader Deidre C. wants your two cents on two topics. Answer one or both, but please chime in!

1) What to do when you don't feel called to the ministry?

2) How to support him when he doesn't even know where God is leading?


Lily February 18, 2009 at 11:00 PM  

1-If your spouse is feeling called to ministry, but you're being dragged along kicking and screaming because you don't feel called-- keep in mind that God called him knowing who his spouse was! Years and years ago, I broke up with my boyfriend (now spouse) because I couldn't imagine myself in the role of pastor's wife. I had a personal crisis about not feeling called into it... but you know what? Over time, God grew me into the role. I never would have expected it, but God was faithful to grow us into areas of ministry that even we can't see.

One more thing, Scripture tells us that the heart is deceitful above all things... (Jeremiah 17:9) which means that sometimes the way we feel is totally not in line with God's will for us. Our emotions can frequently lead us astray-- and sometimes you just have to trust that since God knows all of it anyway and doesn't make mistakes, he knows exactly how you feel in this situation.

I would suggest strongly that you pray your socks off... and if you haven't gotten an answer on that, pray a bit more. We serve an awesome God who is able and willing to give us wisdom.

2. Again, prayer is central to this question. And not nagging your husband about it. That's a particularly challenging thing for me-- because I want to know the plan now-- I don't do particularly well not knowing what the future holds, yet God is there in the future, as well as in the present. HE knows where your spouse is called, and He will be there for you on the journey.

I'd also suggest that you keep reassuring him that you love him no matter what, and that you are there beside him and trust his judgment. It's a scary thing knowing you are called somewhere, but unsure of where God is leading. Scary because men are hard-wired to think they have all the answers, and when they don't-- well one thing they shouldn't need to question is their wife's trust in their leadership.

Lily February 18, 2009 at 11:02 PM  

One more thing-- I hope my thoughts on your question #2 didn't sound like I was accusing you of not being trusting-- That's really not how I meant that to come out. Only saying that men need a little bit of reassurance when they don't know all the answers.

Karen,  February 19, 2009 at 9:56 AM  

I am interested in this website not because I am a pastor's wife, but because I am a former pastor's wife of 16 years. I am interested in what other pastor wives think and go through. How do other pastor wives find joy and success in their personal and ministry lives? Moreover, am I the only person to ever struggle as a pastor wife?

Church and ministry has always been the center of my life, even since early childhood. I never thought of doing anything but being a missionary. I married a preacher-to-be. I put him through the last two years of Bible College, five years of seminary (124 hrs masters), and a three-year doctorate of divinity. I knew where I was going and was excited about the possibilities of what God would do in our lives.

Four years ago and 15 pounds lighter, I knew I was heading for an emotional breakdown. I hated my life and I hated the ministry. My husband resigned and is now doing a PhD program in order to teach.

I could analyze and be analyzed (done that) of what went wrong, but today I am on the road to recovery. I feel God has given me a second chance and the freedom to invite different opportunities and things into my life that fill me with joy. This freedom has most of all, allowed me to be me, whoever that is.

However, to say that the Pastorate was bad to us would not be true. It was not at all. The people were good and generous. We were able to raise our family in a wonderful area. Fortunately, those same people in our former church, many are now my friends. All I can say is that I did not flourish in the ministry.

So I post for all the pastor wives that struggle to find joy and meaning. I pray that God will bring others in your lives that you trust and can help you find your own way.

Rodlie Ortiz February 19, 2009 at 3:24 PM  

Full disclosure here: I am a guy, and I'm a pastor. I find this to be a very fascinating question. And I can relate to it because I'm married and we've dealt with somewhat similar questions. First of all, I believe that every Christian is a missionary and every Christian should be involved in ministry. This has nothing to do with being a pastor or a pastor's wife.

That being said, I think my wife's job is to be "my wife" not the "pastor's wife." I don't think she has to feel called to professional ministry to be able to do that. I think society places much expectation on pastor's wives, so I'm the first one to try to alleviate that. I tell my wife that, concerning her involvement in church, she's like every other member. She should listen to God's voice, and based upon her gifts and talents, she should get involved. And if a church member comes to me with any nonsense of what a pastor's wife should do, I repeat the very same thing to them.

Concerning your husband, I believe it's a similar situation. Your job is to support him no matter what, whether or not he's in full-time ministry. Could it be that he's not called to be a pastor? Sure. Should that make a difference in the kind of support he gets from you? No. If he's struggling with a call to ministry, struggle and pray through those times with him. And if it turns out that he feels called to work in business or be a firefighter, you can support him as a person in that.

Remember, the role of a wife/husband team, is to walk beside each other no matter what. Through the ups and downs, the mysterious and the clear times.

I'll be praying for you guys that God would guide you.

JulieAnn,  February 19, 2009 at 4:10 PM  

One of the things that helped my husband and I was listening to someone speak on whether you are called to plant a church. I realize that it's a little different then not feeling called to ministry but I think the same principles can be applied. In my own experience, my husband felt called to plant a church and I did not.

The main point was, if God is calling the husband, He'll bring the wife into agreement. Or the husband's vision will change. This takes prayer and patience on not just the wifes part but also the husbands. If God is calling the husband to ministry, He is powerful enough to work in the wifes inmost being to change the way she feels and thinks. I realize that some women are really reluctant to opening themselves to let God work in them...and I then would hope that the husband would wait upon the Lord.

Back to my experience... my husband was willing to wait and not just jump into the church planting thing while I had reservations. God ended up placing us in a 10 year old church plant, and it ended up being the best for both of us, and we were on the same page on where God was calling us. I have no doubt, that if my husband would have done what he wanted to right then, our marriage would be much more strained and I don't even want to think what the effect would have been on our family.

First pray that God will work in you and reveal to you what He has called you to do, and then pray for your husband and that God would do the same for him.

In these differences, God is stirring change in either the wife or husband or both, but only God knows and He will make it clear in time.

Alisha Thompson,  February 19, 2009 at 11:19 PM  

1) What I found most important was to understand that I was called first to be my husbands wife then I asked God lead me into the ministry that he wanted me to be involved in which was worship. Our church asks each member to do several things as part of our discipleship process and one of those things is "service in ministry" so even if I wasn't the PW, I would be serving, so I had to find my passion. Sometimes "the ministry" is so overwhelming to think about - just break it down to where is your passion - and go from there. If you don't know what that is, take a gifts test, that is a wonderful way to help you narrow down what you are good at and the spiritual gifts that God has given you.

2) How do you support him when he doesn't know where he's going? What a man needs most, at his core, is to know that he is respected, that his wife is beside him even if he makes a mistake. You can support him by letting him know that you are praying for him to have wisdom and the strength to make the right decisions for your family. And then, let him lead. Don't second guess every decision but make thoughtful comments and suggestions when appropriate, but pray and trust that God knows your tomorrows and even if you take a left when God is screaming TURN RIGHT - God will get you back on track. He is really good like that...

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