SAD

 

Some sad statistics that are floating around cyperspace.

80% of pastors’ wives think their husband is overworked.

80% of pastors’ wives wish their husband had another career.

Most pastors’ wife think that the worse event in their family was the day their husband entered the ministry.

 

Ladies, I promise you. You don’t have to be one of the statistics. 

You can do this – and yes, there will be moments that are discouraging, but there will also be a lot of rewarding moments.

 

 Let’s work on this together

WHAT TO DO

Question: It used to be that pastors’ wives did everything in the church. That’s changed. How do we handle that? How do we explain the pastor’s wife role to people who still think we should be superwoman?

A PK friend was cleaning out his dad’s study and uncovered a book called: The Perfect Pastor’s Wife. Interesting that the book was hidden under three dead moths, five books on church growth and a moldy coffee mug. Obviously no one had been reading it any time in this century.

I opened it with much trepidation ready to admit failure in my spiritual calling and turn in my bleach and disinfection (oh, wait, I don’t do the kitchen stuff, do I?) Not too worry. By the time I had skimmed through to the last chapter, I was weeping – not in guilt or anguish, but in laughter.  The book explained that the pastor’s wife must fill the pulpit whenever the pastor was sick or away. Seriously. The author was not just a pastor of any, tucked away country church, either. He was an itinerant pastor who traveled from town to town. In mile by mile detail, this pastor explained how his wife tramped through snow and slushed through rain to be a true helpmeet and share a quickly-prepared message with the waiting congregants.

We put the book back under the moths, the church-growth books and the moldy coffee cup. Let someone else unearth it 100 years from now.

I go back to the gifts.

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. (Romans 12:6)

Not only can’t we do everything, we shouldn’t do everything because that’s beyond our capability. That’s not the way God made us.

Here were my rules

1. I would not be president of anything, nor would anyone have to move out of the ministry she was doing so that I could step in. 

2. I would attend any regularly-scheduled service of the church: Sunday school, Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. 

Five reasons I did the church-attending thing:

     a. How could Ken expect others to show up if his own family didn’t care?

     b. We wanted to be good examples to our kids. (We always told our kids, you’re not attending church BECAUSE you’re the preacher’s kids, but BECAUSE you’re our kids.)

     c. Ken liked me to hear him preach because then he could bounce things off of me later: Did that sound ok? Did you follow me? Do you think they got it?  (Of course, I always said, “yes, yes, yes.”)

    d. I sincerely enjoyed listening to Ken preach.

    e. The Bible says we should get together to study God’s Word.

3. I would get involved in areas where I could best use my gifts of writing and teaching.

When people challenge you on what you do and why you don’t do more, don’t defend yourself.  You could smile and ask, “What do you think I should be doing?” (If you really want to know what she thinks, but you probably don’t.)

The best response is, “I believe working with the primaries is the best way I can use the gifts God has given me. My husband and I have talked this over and he agrees.” (Hopefully, you HAVE talked it over with your husband. Be open about that. This shows that you stand as a team.)

4. If there was a spontaneous need and I could help out, I would – even in the kitchen. I remember one Christmas tea when the ladies did that table-hostess-bring-your-own-china thing. After the meal, everyone went upstairs for the program and one lady was left with all the dishes (which had to be washed so the ladies could take them home). And so I helped her. I’m not sure we got the whole soap, bleach, disinfectant mixture right – but they at least looked clean – and were ready in time.

These are my rules. Write down your own – and then stick to them. 

(Then if someone asks you why you don’t do something, you can say “Sorry, it’s the rule.”)

The Lord wants to use us. He wants us to do the best job possible. We can’t do that if we’re stressed out, worn out and emotionally wrung out.

So, choose what to do and then do it well.

CLASS ACT

The question I’ve been asked more than any other question is: How do I act like a pastor’s wife?

This is my answer: DON’T!!!

When someone acts, she plays a role or personifies someone else. You can’t play a role 24/7. Acts come to an end,

I mean, seriously, if I tried to put on the pastor’s wife act, I’d be in BIG trouble!

I can’t play the piano. Well, I take that back. I can play Wonderful Words of Life and Jesus Loves Me. Let’s just say the church music ministry would quickly sink into clanging discord if I had anything to do with it. 

I don’t drink coffee. I don’t care if it’s mocha-rich, cinnamon-flavored, brewed in your own state-of-the-art coffee pot – I, who will eat almost anything, can’t handle it.  Five cups of coffee in my entire life. Three at camp one summer, when my cabin of middle schoolers kept me up all night for several nights in a row. I needed something inside of me before I was found hanging off my bunk in pure exhaustion. Two at my neighbor’s house (after she rescued me and my two kids from abandonment when we locked ourselves out of the house.) She insisted I wanted coffee and nothing I did convinced her that I didn’t. After I had choked and gagged my way through one cup, she poured me a second.

I don’t do church kitchens. Well, I will if no one else is around. Or, I might clear off the tables after a potluck dinner or dry a few dishes – but that’s all!  Don’t put me in charge. I just can’t get myself worked up enough to care if there are 327 knives in the drawer instead of the 328 knives that were there at the start of the banquet or that the sink full of dishwater must include a 1/2 cup of soap,  plus 1 tablespoon disinfectant and three tablespoons bleach or whatever the combination is. I simply can’t get motivated to remember the magic combination.

But I am glad, oh, so glad that there are people with these gifts. (Well, I’m not sure coffee-drinking is a gift, but you get what I’m saying.)

The thing is, there are things I love doing that other people don’t like doing at all. (Give me a class of high school kids or 5th graders or six-year-olds or even middle schoolers and I’m content.)

The point is – I can’t be a piano-playing, coffee-drinking, kitchen-cleaning pastor’s wife because those things aren’t ME!

And I gotta be me.

And you have to be you.

Don’t spend time wandering what a pastor’s wife acts like.

Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

(You’ll hear that verse from me a lot if you keep reading this blog.)

Think about it – you are God’s workmanship.  You aren’t someone else’s workmanship.

So be yourself.

That’s the way God made you.

And you’re the lady your husband married.

By the way, tea-drinking IS my gift 🙂