Hi, I’m Sarah. As a pastor’s wife in my late 20s, I’ve often heard other ministers’ wives in my generation express regret or even antagonism toward their husbands’ career.
“It’s his job, not mine! His congregation, not mine. His calling, not mine.”
It’s natural to struggle against our own hearts. Some of us don’t want to be called. We’d like to let all the divine calling be for our husbands.
Admittedly, being a pastor’s wife has its unique challenges and joys. It’s not like being the wife of the banker or doctor or even the plumber. People watch us, measuring our performance against their own (often unreasonable) expectations. And let’s be totally honest; the life of a pastor’s wife can occasionally be downright inconvenient, getting in the way of our plans, our dreams, and our visions of how marriage and family life would be.
In this generation we’re often trapped between culture and our biblical calling. Society says we can have it all—the career, the kids, the home—but never urges us to ask God what He calls us to be.
Before we can begin to acknowledge, accept, and even embrace our role and calling as pastors wives, we must first find our identity in biblical womanhood.
And it’s not easy. In fact, it’s counter-cultural. World culture urges women to be self-serving, self-involved, and self-absorbed. We just call it independence, ambition, and confidence. It’s a daily struggle to reject contemporary culture and surrender first to God.
Proverbs 31 describes the biblical woman as someone who isn’t afraid to work with her hands, and who loves serving people. This woman is strong, loves beauty, and stays organized. She’s someone who blends kindness and capability so well that her husband’s reputation is built up because of how she acts. Everything she does enhances the lives of those around her.
Heavily influenced by the feminist movement, today’s society tells us to protect ourselves. Be independent. Focus on our own needs first. Look out for ourselves, because if you don’t take care of yourself, who will? But Scripture says we are created to serve each other. Live for the well-being of others, and the church. Set aside our wants for the good of other people. And submit ourselves to the authority and leadership of the man God placed at the head of our households. Ouch!
As biblical women we choose to live differently than other women around us. Different attitudes. Different priorities. Different expectations of ourselves and others. It’s about sorting through our culture, and taking only the best and most biblical. It’s about holding tight to what is good.
It’s a high calling, I know. Wait! Let me introduce myself. I’m Delina. As a pastor’s wife in my early 30s, I’ve often thought it would be much easier to embrace biblical womanhood if I was married to someone other than a pastor. As Sarah discussed, we can all think of plenty of reasons why being a pastor’s wife might be undesirable, inconvenient, annoying, or our husband’s call to ministry. At face value, you can live your life resenting your husband’s call to ministry, or you can choose to step it up a notch. Or maybe a few notches.
But what does this look like? It might be that you won’t allow your career aspirations to compete with his. It might mean you’ll intentionally seek out friends in unexpected places when you live someplace you don’t want to live, away from family, friends, and anything familiar or comfortable. It may mean that you’ll ask God for a heart change when you’re resentful because you’re moving away from each district just as you were finally beginning to feel at home and make friends. I don’t know what it’ll look like for you. But God does. And I know that when you submit your dreams and desires to Him, you can be assured that His plans for you exceed your wildest imagination. They’re good.
Trust that He has a plan to use your gifts, skills, experience, knowledge, and interests. More importantly, know that He’s intensely interested in molding you into the woman He created you to be.
I will never forget the words of one wise woman who, during our time in seminary, told me: “God brought you together, so always know that your husband’s calling and your calling will never lead you in opposite directions.”
The next time you experience something very frustrating, I invite you to step back and ask God to change your heart and your perspective to better reflect His plans. Ask Him to help you figure out what to cling to and what to let go of in your life.
No, it’s not easy to set aside your own desires and take up the role as helper, encourager, and partner in ministry. But it’s what the awesome, infallible, infinitely wise, and providential Creator of the Universe designed for you. He’s entrusting this awesome task to you. It really is your calling too.