By Lynn Mathison
God’s call on your life as a pastor’s wife is about relationships. The primary relationship is to God himself, then your relationship to yourself, your mate, your family, and your church. We all have unique gifts and talents God has given us. I believe He chose our position and fitted us for this purpose. I am aware many pastors’ wives are discouraged and struggle with their role. My passion is for each pastor’s wife to see herself as chosen by God himself for such a time as this, and trust Him who privileged her with this honor to serve.
We always look over the fence and think that the grass looks greener on the other side. Yet God says, “Be thankful and be content with the lot that I have given you.” For me, I find that when I keep my focus where it needs to be, everything in my own life falls into place. Know this: God meets your needs. If He has called you to be a pastor’s wife and has called you to serve Him in this capacity, His promise is that He will give you everything that you need in order to carry it out (see Phil. 1:6). If He has called you, He WILL give you what you need in order to do the ministry.
Are you wondering, What is He waiting on? Let me suggest that perhaps He is waiting on you. He wants you first to be free. He wants you to come back to your first love—the Lord—and to understand that it is His love that will empower you to do the ministry that He has called you to do. Have we forgotten that this love does not wear a sign that reads “Look at me”? There is no pride in real love.
Yet we do struggle with pride, don’t we, in our role as pastors’ wives? What is it about pride? I think a lot of times we just say, “Well, you know I can do this by myself. I can figure this out.” But it’s OK to say, “Lord, as a pastor’s wife, I want to know where I fit in. What should I be doing? How do I approach women’s ministry?” God wants to free you of undue responsibility. He wants you to remember that He has called you. He is saying, “It’s OK – ask Me.”
God is constantly at work in us, energizing us to will and to work for His pleasure and for His glory. We are never perfect, but He is always growing us and progressively moving us. He is conquering the things in us that would hinder our ability to influence those around us. How? By teaching us, a little more each day, how to love as He loves. His love in us does not insist on its own right or its own way.
But how do we as pastors’ wives implement this principle in our daily lives? If you are like me, you like to make lists! I don’t let myself go to bed until I have checked off everything on my to-do list. I like a lot of order, yet in my desire for order, I run up against the fact that love does not insist on its own way. So, though I still like lists, I have learned to let go. If I leave the house and things are not all done, it is OK.
We have to realize that the perfectionist tendency in all of us can trip us up. Our desire for order and organization has to be kept under control—it cannot be allowed to control us. If it does, what happens? We stop wanting people to see us, to see how we live, to really get to know us. As a pastor’s wife, having people over can be a positive relationship tool. We need to be free.
So we should balance our desire for order with our desire to be hospitable. For myself, I like to have people in our home. My husband and I often invite over study groups so they can come into our home and see what we are all about. This is a wonderful way to allow members of our church to get to know us on a personal level. We are not just the pastor and his wife—we are fellow believers. As “real” people, we can build relationships with others and learn from them.
I believe that when I open my home, I open my heart to others. So I want to encourage you to practice hospitality. (Not everyone is comfortable doing this.) Let them see who you are and what you are all about. A right relationship with God, yourself, and your mate will free you up to enjoy hospitality for His glory.
As a pastor’s wife, I pray that you would follow the example of the Lord and walk in love, esteeming and delighting in one another. I encourage you to give up trying to live up to everybody else’s expectations, trying to please other people. God wants you to be real and He wants to empower you. I trust today you will find the courage to be free in Him, free to be the person that God created you to be, free to soar. His love will be your strength and contentment.