I went to the pool a few weeks ago and met a woman about my age. Through an exchange of pleasantries, she learned my husband is a pastor at a PCA church and immediately asked about my role as a pastor’s wife:
“So, what KIND of pastor’s wife are you?”
I’ve had folks ask whether I enjoy being a pastor’s wife, and I’ve had others inquire about what it’s like to be a pastor’s wife, but I had never been asked what kind I was…until now.
Did she wonder if I was the extra-super spiritual kind? Earlier that day, I lost my temper with my youngest because she switched around the apps on my phone, so I’m certain I don’t fit into that category. Or maybe she wondered if I was the really crafty kind? But then my idea of crafting is putting icing on cupcakes and then eating them.
Thankfully, she clarified: “I mean, are you the kind of pastor’s wife that doesn’t get involved, or are you the kind that is around a lot.”
Ah, yes. She wanted to know if I was the kind of pastor’s wife who was involved in the church.
One of the most frequently asked questions of seminary wives is, “How much will I need to do in the church?” The fear of unrealistic expectations from congregants is real, but in many ways, it’s sad to me that this is a common concern for pastor’s wives. Instead of stressing over whether you’re the kind who is involved a lot or a little, maybe there should be more of a focus on the joy there is in this role.
Joy in being called.
Sisters, you have been called by God to the place you are right now. Yes, your husband is the one called to the pastorate, but you were never left out of this journey.
The creator-God called you to Himself. He called you into one flesh with your husband, so he called you together into the ministry. Satan would love to see you unraveled by trying to satisfy the expectations of others, but don’t let your fears of this calling be swallowed up by the joy in trusting God’s sovereign hand in it.
Philippians 1:6 reminds us that “…he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” In this calling, He will do good work in and through you until the day you meet Jesus face to face. Drink from the cup of His goodness and know with confidence and joy that God saw fit to call you to this unique role.
Joy in using our gifts.
Several years ago, I sat with an elderly woman whose ill husband we had been praying for. Because I was so used to inquiring about his health, I asked the woman how her husband was doing.
“Honey, my husband passed away. And your husband did the funeral.”
“Right. Yes, that’s right,” is how I responded.
I’ve never had the gift of eloquence. Unless my words are written out ahead of time, I’m like Moses, wondering why God would have me speak to anyone anywhere. It may take some time to understand your specific giftings, but 1 Peter 4 reminds us that we each have a gift and should be using it to serve one another as stewards of God’s grace.
Through the years, I have discovered that my gifts can be shared in the music ministry of our church. I find so much joy in assisting the congregation in song. Find what you love— find what brings you joy—and use your gifts there. Being a pastor’s wife doesn’t exclude you from serving in the local church. You are called to do no more and no less than the congregants you worship with. Each of us has a God-given gift not to be put away for a “less busy day” but to be used to serve one another.
Joy from a thankful heart
We’ve had some extremely difficult times in ministry, and we’ve had some beautifully content times as well, and in each of these circumstances, I’ve been reminded to be thankful. The Lord carries us with His strength and for His glory. Being in the ministry has little to do with us and everything to do with the One who provides for our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs— often through the extension of God’s people. The joy comes when we have thankful hearts for these daily provisions.
After forgetting about the passing of her husband, the elderly woman hugged me. Sure, she probably shook her head and thought, “dear, sweet…idiot,” but she showed me grace, and I was filled with thankfulness. Be thankful for your church members. Love and pray for them with a heart of gratitude knowing that many will show you abundant kindness.
And be thankful for those who are difficult to love. This will never be easy, but joy can’t be consumed by hatred when we are prayerfully and humbly giving thanks, even for the sheep that bite. Quench your thirst for acceptance and love not from the words of the congregants, but from the words of our Savior who has lavished His grace on us. And by that grace, may we be the kind of pastor’s wives that are filled with Joy in Jesus.
Katie is wife to Chris, a PCA pastor at Trinity church in Kirkwood, MO, and together they have three children, Ella (15), J-Rod (13), and Lily (9). Katie works as the music director at Trinity and serves on the Women’s Ministry Committee. She also spends much of her time writing, teaching piano, leading women’s Bible studies, and speaking to women’s groups about the joy she has found in Christ. Katie serves on the board of Covenant College, where she graduated with a BA in English Education, and is currently pursuing her Masters of Arts in Theology from Covenant Seminary in St. Louis. For more information, as well as various blog entries, you can visit her website at www.katiepolski.com.