just for pastors' wives #9

>> May 18, 2011

Today our friend Joy Dombrow continues the "Just for Pastors' Wives" series. You can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter. Currently, Joy’s husband Joel serves as lead pastor of Willamette Christian Church, where she serves in a wide variety of teaching, serving, counseling and advisory roles. She is passionate about helping women understand and apply the truths in God’s Word and enjoys using speaking opportunities to do so.
Dear Pastor's Wife,

There have been times in years past when my eyes have barreled down the proverbial cup of my life unable to find a drop of water (let alone a thirst-quenching gulp) to share with anyone else. There have been other times, when my cup has been so splashing-over-the-sides full that I realize I can't hold much more until I empty myself out. It is only as of late that I am realizing that there needs to be a balance of inpouring and outflowing, learning and teaching, receiving and giving to keep the streams of water moving through my life and out to others. I would venture to say that most pastor's wives tend to err on the side of giving until their well is dry, neglecting to refill again the waters that are so needed for ministry. Perhaps we need to be reminded of two things. The first is that we are, in fact, leaders...influencers. In this sense, we are often to move out just a little ahead of those that we are called to serve as we teach them, encourage them, and shepherd them. Filling ourselves up with "fuel" to move forward in this way will help us to fulfill this calling and will set an example for others to follow. Secondly, this is a marathon, not a sprint. God honors longevity, faithfulness, and perseverance. Giving and serving until we fall flat on our faces, without stopping to refresh is noteworthy, but it is not commendable. Serving well for a lifetime is more honorable than serving hard only for a short season. As we find the spiritual, emotional, and physical waters of our cups diminishing we must find a way to keep constantly filled.

1. Find a ministry or passion that energizes you. What is God teaching you right now? Where has He gifted you? What is on your heart? If you can serve and spend time in those areas, you will have a consistent and natural source from which to give. In this way, the serving is simultaneously the filling.

2. Learn, learn, learn. Read books...both the latest Christian books as well as the classics. Stretch yourself to learn and grow. Listen to podcasts. Attend conferences. Take notes from sermons. Ask questions of others you want to learn from. A teacher is first a learner. A mentor is first the mentored. The giver is first the receiver. Push yourself to learn.

3. Regular prayer and quiet times. You would think that a ministry wife would already have this practice down, but there are many who find themselves too busy serving to stop and rest before the Lord. The Holy Spirit is the teacher, comforter, and guide. He has so much to impart to us but we need to slow down enough to hear Him speak. It's amazing how many messages, words of exhortation, writings, and practical steps of obedience I have stumbled upon as I go about my daily quiet time with the Lord. He is faithful to give a fresh and timely word through the Scriptures. He is our daily bread and all the portion we need. Give Him the opportunity to fill you up.

4. Soak up all you can from other pastor's wives and friendships so that you are able to give out more and more. As iron sharpens iron, so too do ministry friendships. They can bring encouragement, blessing, exhortation, and incredible spiritual growth if we would just foster them. I appreciate our own church staff wives as they grow to become more and more like Jesus and encourage me by their examples. I have several pastor's wife friendships outside of our church in our own community who challenge and refresh me. I also have a growing number of friendships from across the country as we pastor's wives interact together on twitter, facebook, and websites.

5. Take care of yourself physically. The stresses of ministry (or life for that matter!) can take their toll if we do not acknowledge our physical limitations. We should not underestimate the importance of eating well, exercising regularly, and getting the sleep our bodies need. If left unchecked, stress can eat away at our well being and depression, illness, or emotional instability can set in, making us ineffective for the cause of Christ.

I don't know about you, but I want to serve the Lord as long and as hard as I can, making sure my cup is always filling will bless others as they receive fresh water from my ministry. And for those of you who have been full for a while and need to pour out to others, what are you waiting for? God has positioned and created you for unique service in His kingdom. Go serve someone a little ministry water.

Desiring to be a stream of blessing,


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Heather Moore May 18, 2011 at 9:55 PM  

Great post Joy! Thanks for sharing your wisdom. I especially like your statement about continuing to learn. So vital to our own health and well being to be encouraged by others.

Joy Dombrow May 19, 2011 at 1:39 PM  

Thank Heather for the encouragement! We need each other!

Brenda May 23, 2011 at 8:11 PM  

Very good advice. I learned the hard way about the stress. I allowed myself to become overwhelmed and even developed several physical problems. I went through a season where God wanted me to say no to outside ministry and focus on my relationship with Him and get my family in order. Now, God is showing me where my heart for ministry is and I'm starting to develop those ministries and it feels so exhilarating to be doing something that I feel passionate about, not just something I think a pastor's wife should do!

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