In my perusal of old notebooks and journals, I came across a copy of a letter that I wrote to a young woman who was about to become a pastor's wife. She was already married to her husband...and he was about to become a pastor for the first time. They were members of the church in which my husband was the pastor, and thus I was "the pastor's wife". So I felt somewhat qualified to share these thoughts with her as they prepared to begin this new adventure. Look over my shoulder and read what I wrote way back in March of 1990:
This is just a personal note from me to you as you prepare to begin this exciting journey into "ministry". It appears inevitable that you will someday soon join the ranks of those privileged women known as "Pastor's Wives". It is truly a privilege and a high calling to be the wife of a man called of God into full time Christian service. However, there are several things you should try to remember:
- First, you are the PASTOR'S wife, not the CHURCH'S wife...your first ministry should be in the home, as a wife, mother, counselor, helpmeet, lover, encourager, and perhaps even exhorter. You will find this aspect of your "calling" to be the most challenging, most rewarding, most exciting, and most fulfilling. If you neglect it for any other "ministry", no matter how important it may seem, not only will you suffer, but your husband and family will suffer also. Always remember you are to be the "helpmeet" for your husband, the Pastor, and not the "helpmeet" for the church. All other areas of ministry must come second to that of being the wife of the Pastor.
- Second, don't let the demands and needs of the ministry rob you of your joy in serving Christ. There will be times when you will feel a real need to get away from the "maddening crowd", and find a place of refuge and retreat. Don't wait too long to set aside that time. Not just for yourself, but for your husband also. Keep your relationship with Christ alive and exciting by spending time alone with Him daily, and then special times set apart for retreat and recuperation.
- Keep your relationship with your husband alive and exciting by spending time alone with him daily, and then special times set apart for retreat and recuperation. Both relationships are equally important, and both relationships need equal time and care. But I warn you, you will have to remind yourself from time to time that this is most important. Your schedules will get so hectic and wild that you will feel like a stranger to Christ...and you will feel like a stranger to your husband. Guard against this, Julie, with all your heart, and plan ahead. Try to always build into your schedules time for rest, recuperation, and recreation. Don't allow the pressures of the masses close in on you. God is able to take care of their needs with or without your help...and He can use your talents and gifts best when you are rested and happy.
Julie, I commit you into His loving, powerful, capable hands. Please keep in touch with us, and know that we are praying for you both daily.
As I re-read this letter written so many years ago...now from the perspective of a "old pastor's wife"whose husband has since retired from active ministry, I find myself saying "Amen" to all that was written. I wish that I had remembered to heed my own words throughout all of our years of service in the church...there were too many times that I let the needs of the church dictate my time and rob me of my energy and strength so that I was not able to be the "helpmeet" that my husband needed most. Looking back, I know that we truly needed to take that time out as a couple to rest, recuperate and "recreate", and we didn't do it. We allowed ourselves to burn out and thus became weary, sad and miserable in our calling. We listened to the wrong voices and did not heed the VOICE of our Lord whispering to our hearts to come apart for awhile and be blessed in His presence. If I had it to do over again, I know I would try harder to listen to what God was telling me to write to "Julie" almost 25 years ago. Things might have turned out differently. Hindsight is always 20-20. Today I am just thankful that we survived and that we still have each other to enjoy...and we still have our love for the Lord. We are just expressing it differently these days. And that's okay too. God understands.
Now, go check out this link and see what others are writing.