Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Pastor's Wife

Well, this has got to be one of my least favorite subjects ever. What is a pastor's wife? There are as many answers as there are pastor's wives!

Probably somewhat naively, I am fond of saying "There is no such thing in Scripture as a pastor's wife!" And in a sense, that is very true. There is no list of requirements in I Timothy addressing my conduct or gifts or the expectations of the woman who happened to marry someone called to lead a church. However, my role as mother of my children and helpmate to my husband is clearly addressed and I know what I have been called to. Therefore, my role is the same as every other wife and mother in my church - to care for my family and to love and support my husband first and foremost. Also, as a woman in the church i am called to use my gifts where God leads me. EVERY woman is called to do this.

Every wife is called to care for, encourage, love, and serve her husband. So that means your job is the same as mine. My husband just happens to be the pastor of the church. Your husband just happens to be the pastor of your home. You are the only one who will care for, encourage, love, and serve your husband intimately. I am the only one who can do those things for Steve. Now, my husband's job is stressful... there is a weightiness to what he has been called to do. But do not underestimate the call your husband also has - to provide for his family financially, emotionally, and spiritually. You role is to help in each of these areas to the best of your ability.

Every woman is called to use her gifts in the community that God has placed her in. I love ministering to women. I love that there is a place for me to use my gifts in my church. But I don't lead women's ministry because I am Steve's wife - I do it because I am called to it. What are you called to in your church? Are you actively seeking God's guidance on where to serve? Have you evaluated what your spiritual gifts are?

Now, it would be naive to say that I can completely ignore the title "Pastor's Wife", although I have tried! In my desire and need to be Steve's helpmate I am often called to do things that other's will never do. But, I would imagine that the wife of a business owner or doctor or school administrator (which Steve did for many years!) also must meet with people in her home or travel to conferences far away. So, again, I am being a helpmate to the best of my ability.

It is true that many people today walk into a church setting and place very specific expectations on the pastor, his wife, and his children. Most of these expectations are not fair or Biblical. But in seeking to welcome people into the church, I am gladly willing to meet poeple where they are! But when pushd about my role in the church you will hear me politely say, "There's no such thing in scripture as a pastor's wife - I am simply Steve's wife!"

A few years ago I decided to do a few things to help keep me sane:
* I will seek to defer church questions to the one who has the authority to answer.
* I will passionately defend the freedom my kids should have to live their lives like all other teenagers in the church - they are not on display to be critiqued.
* I will avoid relationships with those who are seeking to saddle me with a burden and responsibility that is not mine to bear.

This is not meant to be a rant against a role I am fighting! I love my life. I love what my husband has been called to. I know that our whole family has been called to this - we follow him, support him, and are part of Trailhead Church. I LOVE my community. I am grateful for the friends God has given me. God is good and He has blessed us exceedingly abundantly above all that I could have asked or imagined.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this!