Ask Anna

In this column, Anna will address your questions and concerns.

By the Journal team

Dear Anna,

My husband and I have been married for three months, and he will soon be the only pastor in a two-church district. I am not sure what my role as the “Pastor’s Wife” should be. I hear so many conflicting ideas. I need some guidance.

First, I’m delighted for you! What a privilege it is to serve God, the members of His Body, and the many people who live within the boundaries of your district!

Next, let me ask you: Just who are you? What are your interests, abilities, education, and history? What makes up the package called YOU?

Now look at your personality. Are you outgoing? Shy? Somewhere in between? Let God stretch you beyond what you consider your limit—as you depend totally on Him.

Finally, consider what God has called you to do. Ask Him! Then spend some time exploring it with Him, and take notes.

You are God’s beloved daughter who has married a pastor. Because every member is a minister, you will want to find your place in ministry for God. Allow Him to move you at His pace. And because your husband, whom you love dearly, is the leader of this group of ministers, you will want to support him. One of the most important ways to support him is to pray earnestly for him. And remember to appreciate him and his efforts for God.

Dear Anna,

We are ministering in a difficult church. I often hear sharp words about the pastor. Of course I know his strengths and weaknesses—some of what they say has some merit, but some does not. How should I respond when I hear criticism about my husband? And should I pass the criticism on to him?

My heart goes out to you as you describe a tough situation. Ask yourself, Is a critical spirit the personality of the church? Or is it the nature of one or two individuals? Remember, the same individuals probably spoke cutting words about the previous pastor­ and the one before that.

Please don’t take the burden onto your own shoulders. We have a wonderful God, whom I sometimes call my “Warehouse Man.” I hand off the trouble to Him and ask Him to deal with it. Prayer! Much prayer is essential—for your husband, and for the adversary! Then, don’t dwell on the problem. Thank God that He will care for it and continue to thank Him with a smile on your face. It is amazing how a smile can tell your body and your mind that you are not stressing.

Talk to your husband during a time that is free from criticism. Discuss how he and you will relate to disapproval. Ask him if he feels a need to hear the criticisms. Create a plan of action. However, let insignificant criticisms roll off. Simply say to yourself, “Hmph! This is not worth worrying over!”

But how should you respond when you hear? If the critical person is speaking to you, in a gentle way ask the person criticizing to speak directly to your husband—not to you or to others. You might remind them that each of us has strengths and weaknesses. As part of the body of Christ, we must lift where another is weak. Model love, forgiveness, and kindness to the critical individuals. That will take a miracle—that will take the power of God!