Do you know what?
One of the MAIN search phrases that brings people to this blog is “good pastor’s wife.”
Generally, that phrase is in the context of How to be a good pastor’s wife, or How does a good pastor’s wife _____________.
You fill in the blank.
We pastor’s wives want to be good.
But what does that even mean?
Growing up (as a third generation preacher’s kid), I had my lofty ideas about ministry and being a “good” pastor’s wife.
GOOD pastor’s wives wear ________.
GOOD pastor’s wives know how to ________.
GOOD pastor’s wives would never _______.
Good pastor’s wives aren’t _________.
GOOD pastor’s wives always _________.
After spending eleven years in full time ministry alongside my husband, Jeremy, I realize that there are as many opinions about what a pastor’s wife should be as there are churches on a block.
Last week, I watched the film *Mom’s Night Out, a “faith-based” comedy featuring stay-at-home moms and, surprisingly enough, a pastor’s wife.
One of the things that struck me in this film is the character of Sondra, the pastor’s wife, who is initially portrayed as a “perfect” woman, wife, and mom:
She is smart, confident, beautiful, fit, well-dressed, great at giving advice, involved with her congregation and just looks like she really has it all together.
More or less the “standard” for pastor’s wives, I guess.
By the end of the story, we see a very different side of Sondra:
She confesses to her teenage daughter about her “wild” past, reveals a tattoo on her back, and at one point mutters under her breath, “I think God is punishing me for the Woodstock Reunion.”
Oh, and let’s not forget the little break dance she cuts on the floor of the bowling alley at the end of the film.
Um… not quite the halo-polishing, perfect, spiritual pastor’s wife we might have assumed?
So how good is good enough for the preacher’s wife?
What if we have a jaded past?
What if we’re more artistic than musical? Or more loud than quiet?
What if our marriage isn’t perfect?
What if our kids aren’t perfect?
What if we’ve been burned by expectations and criticisms from others?
What if we HATE the lime light? Or LOVE the lime light?
What if we are riddled with insecurities, depression, or a past that reeks of abuse or dysfunction?
What hope of “goodness” is left for the broken among us?
Well, my friends, I have come to a few conclusions in my 34 years of living, and here are two:
1. We are all broken. Yes, I am broken too.
2. The only “expectations” that really matter are those of our Heavenly Father. Our life manual is the Word of God, and our life coach is the Holy Spirit.
That means that sometimes people are going to think we’re “too much,” and others may think we’re not “enough.”
Having the appearance of “being good” by someone else’s standard (even our own) isn’t really the point.
(Sondra appeared “perfect.” Like most of us, she was hiding insecurities and even a messed up past.)
Dwelling in Christ and allowing Him to conform us into His image is absolutely the point.
I’ve spent some time thinking and praying about what to write about this year in our bi-weekly “Minister’s Wife Monday” column, and the Lord has birthed a new series in my heart.
At first, I considered calling it “Characteristics of a Good Pastor’s Wife,” but I quickly changed my mind.
Over the next 50 or so weeks of 2016, I’m going to unpack “Just a
Good Little Christ-Like Pastor’s Wife.”
I’ll be sharing 26 Christ-like traits that we as pastor’s wife, and all Christian women, should desire to cultivate in our lives.
Each trait will be drawn from the life of Christ and the Word of God, and will begin with a different letter of the alphabet. (Just because I’m weird about loving alphabetical things like that.)
These are not token “little good girl” behaviors to wear like a frumpy choir robe.
The paradox of Christianity is that merely keeping rules is both too easy and hopelessly impossible.
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
We can keep up appearances, facades and rules. Christ-likeness takes us far away from ourselves and deeply into Him.
My heart is to point us all to the goal of becoming Christ-like, not measuring up to a cultural standard of “being relative” or a religious standard of “being good enough.”
I hope you’ll join me as we journey through these characteristics of a Christ-like pastor’s wife in 2016!
I would be honored if you would share these posts with your fellow pastor’s wife friends, or subscribe to my weekly blog digest if you’d prefer to catch this series by email.
Above all, please remember that I am living this journey with you.
Let’s pursue Christ together!
*I am not necessarily endorsing the film, Mom’s Night Out. I referenced it in this post only to illustrate a point.
Kristy Howard is a pastor’s wife, second-generation homeschooling mom of five, and a passionate believer in friendship, coffee, and quiet time! Kristy writes about motherhood, ministry and life at KristysCottage.com.