Pastors' Wives: Be Free to Soar
- Whitney Hopler Live It Editor
- 2005 30 Nov
As a pastor’s wife, you may feel as if you’re living in the shadow of your husband’s wings, no matter how busy you are at church. But his call to ministry is also your call. Since you’re a team, God has a great purpose for your work at church as well. When you embrace that call, you gain the freedom to soar to reach your highest potential in Christ and in ministry.
Here’s how you can get your ministry off the ground and start soaring:
Discern the voices that truly matter amid the noise surrounding you. Each day brings fresh pressure as various tasks compete for your attention. But many pursuits aren’t truly important. Learn to block out the noise pollution in your life and listen for the four types of voices that matter most: Christ’s voice, the voices of other believers, the Holy Spirit’s voice, and your own voice. As you seek to hear Christ’s voice, be clear about what exactly you’re listening for so you can focus. Remember that His voice will always be positive, not negative, and that He will often speak to you from the pages of Scripture. Know that God will sometimes use other believers to deliver messages to you; carefully consider what they say. Surrender all aspects of your life to God to invite the Holy Spirit to work in and through you. Depend on the Spirit’s unlimited power rather than your own limited abilities moment by moment, and you’ll be able to hear the Spirit’s guidance. Understand that your unique voice is valuable in ministry. Don’t be afraid to speak up and use your God-given natural talents and spiritual gifts to make a positive contribution to the world around you.
Embrace your call. Realize that your husband’s call to ministry is also your own. Since you all are a team in life, the anointing that’s on him is also on you and the authority that resides in him also resides in you. So come alongside your husband to work together in unity. Be confident that your work as a pastor’s wife is significant. Don’t just busy yourself at church without a clear sense of direction. Instead, ask God to show you the specific purposes He wants you to fulfill in ministry so you can be as fruitful as He wants you to be.
Move toward a successful future. Understand that every human being will stand before Christ one day and have to give an account of how we lived our lives on earth. Know that Christ doesn’t measure a successful life the way the world does; in His eyes, success has nothing to do with how many titles or possessions you were able to acquire. Instead, it has to do with the kind of person you have become and how much you allowed Christ to transform you into His image. Let go of past hurts that are holding you back from moving forward in life. Ask God to give you the power you need to forgive others and pursue healing. Let go of bad attitudes that are impeding your progress. Step out of your comfort zone to try ministries you haven’t tried before and invite God to stretch your faith in the process. Recognize that the needs of other people around you are more than you imagine, God can do much more than you imagine when you trust Him, and you can be more than you imagined you could be as a person when He’s working through you. Don’t limit the work God wants to do in your life.
Do what’s right – not what’s popular. Don’t be distracted by the varied opinions of church members when you’re deciding how to invest your time and energy. Always seek God’s direction through prayer. Remember that you serve God alone. Be willing to step forward courageously whenever God calls you into action.
Gain confidence. If you struggle with low self-esteem, realize that Christ’s sacrifice at the cross has made it possible for you to share in His righteousness. Know that when God looks at you, He sees a beloved child who is infinitely valuable and worthy of His love. Don’t hide your pain from others; share the broken places of your lives with trusted friends who will help you heal and grow to see yourself as God sees you. Ask God to use difficult experiences to mature you.
Find lost people. Don’t believe that you’re not gifted for evangelism. Understand that Christ has called every believer to spread the Gospel message, and He wouldn’t have done so without equipping everyone to do it. Make sure your own personal faith is growing and you’re not simply riding your husband’s coattails to God. Keep your thoughts focused on what’s true and positive. Confess and repent of sins that are holding you back in life. Pray for opportunities to share the Gospel naturally, clearly, and wisely with people you encounter in everyday life. Keep the Gospel’s biblical emphasis on the importance of a relationship with Christ, rather than debating religious points. As God makes you aware of people who need to find Him, be intentional about sharing His love with them. Give God your fears, and have faith that He will bring about good results from your efforts.
Build a strong marriage. Respect your husband and his work as a pastor. Honor his commitments to people in your church. Share a healthy sex life with him. Teach your children to love Christ and respect Him as your husband’s ultimate boss. Don’t share your marriage problems indiscriminately with others in your church. Instead, seek help from a trusted church leader or a professional counselor. Feel free to develop close friendships with trustworthy people in your church and. Don’t be too hard on yourself or your husband; realize that you each are human and can’t be perfect. Rely on God’s help to continue to mature in your faith and in your marriage.
Work with God rather than for Him. Don’t just look to your own desires or the opinions of others when deciding how to serve God. Instead, work with God by asking the Holy Spirit to direct your efforts. Know that when you let God take the lead, He will use both your strengths and your weaknesses to make your work more fruitful than it ever could be apart from His direction.
Mobilize other women in your church. Help other women in your congregation see how God can meet their need to be loved, to belong, to make a difference, and to feel adequate. Mentor them and encourage them to confront their anger, pain, and fears honestly and pursue healing. Forgive women who have hurt you and ask God to help you love them with an agape love that expects nothing in return. Teach other women to seek God’s timing and leading before making decisions. Practice hospitality regularly to build genuine friendships with the women in your church. Expect criticism as a natural part of being in the spotlight as a pastor’s wife. Instead of reacting defensively to criticism when it comes, humbly ask God what He wants you to learn from it, and keep relating to difficult people with a positive attitude yourself.
Love your community. Ask God to give you a compassionate heart and make you aware of the needs He wants you to help meet in your community. Strive to surrender your will to God’s will on a daily basis. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading and follow through when you sense He wants you to act to help others in any given situation.
Maximize your ministry. Make regular Scripture reading, meditation, and study a top priority. Eliminate distractions and time-wasters such as spending too much time watching television, surfing the Internet, or talking on the phone. Invest significant time and energy into building a healthy family life and healthy friendships. Remember that you can’t please everyone, so don’t even try. Instead, just be yourself and do your best to please God.
Adapted from Free to Soar, copyright 2005 by Global Pastors Network. Published by Regal Books, from Gospel Light, Ventura, Ca., 1-800-4-GOSPEL, www.regalbooks.com.
Free to Soar presents inspiration from speakers at the Free to Soar Pastors’ Wives Conference, including: Kay Arthur, Vonette Z. Bright, Lois I. Evans, Diana Hagee, Gayle Haggard, Anna Hayford, Bobbie Houston, Serita Jakes, Carol Kent, Beverly LaHaye, Donna Mullins, and Togetta Ulmer.