Guest Post: when being a pw is hard: expectations

>> May 9, 2011

Stephanie is The Candid Pastor's Wife. She can’t decide what she wants to be, so she does it all: blogging, neurotic, break-the-mold pastor’s wife, blessed mommy, math nerd, film and commercial actor, virtual assistant, and household deal hunter. Stephanie has been blogging since September 2010, with favorite writing topics including marriage, mission, and beauty outside of culture. Besides loving to work (apparently), she tries to spend all of her free time with her two favorite men: pastor hubby Brad and 15-month old Samuel. She thinks it’s also important to sneak in moments for food-love, laughing in the sunshine, and late-night reading.
When my husband first told me he was being called into full-time ministry, we had not been married even a year. Since I didn't grow up with a Christian lifestyle, I thought, Oh no! What am I going to do!? I'm not made to be a pastor's wife! That's not me! But as a friend told me last year: If you're husband is called to be a pastor, you are also called - to be a pastor's wife.

I truly believed my husband's calling was from the Lord, so how could I think that the "calling" to be a pastor's wife was not so possible? I now realize, thanks to my friend Martha, that the enemy wants me to think I'm inadequate to encourage my husband in his ministry. The Liar would love it if I denied the role of pastor's wife and became withdrawn, bitter, or beligerent towards the church, God's beloved.

I was lucky as a young wife, in that other pastors and PWs that I knew made sure we didn't sign on to a church that had specific pastor's wife "job responsibilities." However, I sort of took this as carte blanche to not feel committed to anything in ministry. Oh sure, I invested my time into friends' lives who didn't believe in Jesus, but at first I balked at committing to a formal place of service in the church - thinking that I would then be expected to do something.

You see - I had it all backwards. The fear of walking into an unhealthy PW role led me right into satan's schemes: I was insecure and defensive and didn't want to take part in the work of the body of Christ. I'm so blessed to be part of a church body that does not have a specific role in mind for me. But our church does expect things from me - they are the same things expected of all members of our church:

  • to be connected to God and other believers

  • to be committed to personal holiness

  • to be contributing my time, talents, and treasures

  • to be calling others to follow Jesus
And the more I'm aligned with God, the more my desire for this mission increases. Like it or not, pastor's wife, you are an example to your congregation. It doesn't matter if you want to be a leader or not; people are looking at you to see what a Godly woman does: what her marriage and family life is like, how strongly she pursues God and the lost, and if she thinks personal integrity is important or not. Jenilee calls this the Fish Bowl - and it certainly feels like that! But if God has called us to this ministry, then he will equip us for it. Depend on Him to give you the courage and strength it takes.

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married to ministers September 27, 2011 at 8:09 AM  

I really liked this article. Thank you. I just wrote a similar thought about pastor's wives who stop ministering out of hurts. I called it "The Pastor's Wife and a Dirty Little Secret." It is a funny and encouraging post that says don't let anyone, including yourself, exclude you from what God has for you.Other related posts are "The Crazy Donut Lady" and Loving Your Pastor and I'm not Talking About the Sermon."

Martha Brady October 13, 2011 at 10:06 AM  

thanks for quoting me stephanie. it is so true! why should we do something really huge and awful when we can stealthily undermine our husband's ministry in subtle ways...and help our children hate the church...and oh yes, maybe even the gospel!

that is much more his style isn't it? so, so watch families of pastors all over fall by the wayside b/c of our resentment that grows.

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