The year is rapidly coming to a close. But these past months have found clergy wives consistently in the headlines of both American and world newspapers.
Some of our sisters fell asleep in Jesus—Ruth Bell Graham, Coretta Scott King, and Tammy Faye Baker. Each of these giants among clergy wives brought unique styles, gifts, and talents to their parsonages and ministries. If you and I are ever tempted to regret our days in the public arena, think of these women’s struggles. Their lives, families, trials, troubles, and victories were all played out on the world stage. They were compared. They were adored. They were criticized. But they all loved Jesus.
Then there was Mary Winkler. Unable to cope with her pastor-husband’s violence, she shot him and fled. Her troubled situation brought a whole new face to behind-the-scenes life in the parsonage. It was not pretty. Her trial dominated the evening news for weeks.
Four different women. Four women who had little in common except for the fact that they married ministers. And that one life step moved them along a road that is still traveled by only a few. According to biographical reports, Ruth and Coretta had to be mightily persuaded by their beaus to commit to life in the parsonage. They had other plans. Tammy Faye seemed destined by her upbringing to become an evangelist’s wife.
Maybe each of these ministry wives has lessons for us. Lessons of endurance. Lessons of faith. Lessons of decisions. Lessons of surviving.
An old adage says that “experience is a hard teacher; she gives the test first and the lesson afterward.” It is my prayer for each of us that, as partners in ministry, we begin the new year in Jesus by learning from someone else’s experience. These four women were not perfect pastors’ wives, but they were all loved by Jesus.
God bless us every one!