Welcome to our third “For the Pastor’s Family” post! Today I’m honored to have Kathi Eshleman sharing for our Minister’s Wife Monday column.
This week and next, Kathi will be sharing words and encouragement and wisdom for younger pastor’s wives. I know you’ll enjoy parts one and two of her article, “Advice to My Younger Self,” as much as I did!
I am honored to have been asked by Kristy to have a part in her Monday series for pastor’s wives. She has asked me to share with you from my particular vantage point of being on “the other side” from many of you.
As a pastor’s wife who has been married for 40 years and has three adult married children and seven grandchildren, I have the distinction of being one of the “older women,” as mentioned in Titus 2.
However, it seems like yesterday that I was where many of you are – busy managing a full schedule, raising children, homeschooling, and learning how to be a pastor’s wife.
I did not marry a pastor. He was a successful businessman for 15 years before the Lord called Him to preach.
When we started out in our first church, we had already been married for nearly 20 years and had 3 children. I was scared to death about becoming a pastor’s wife later in life.
And even though I knew it was going to be hard, it’s interesting that the things I thought were going to be the hardest, weren’t.
Things like loneliness and needing to be flexible because your husband is always “on call,” and being in the public eye were not really the hard things. God is always faithful. He has helped me adjust to those things over the years.
The really hard things are when your sheep wander away for greener pastures, usually for silly or wrong reasons, or worse yet, when they never even tell you the reason.
When the people whom you pour your life into make wrong choices and go away from the Lord.
When your husband is discouraged.
And especially when you are struggling to find your role as a pastor’s wife in your church and still meet the needs of your family.
If I could go back and share with my younger, pastor’s-wife-self 5 bits of wisdom I have learned over the years, they would be these:
1.What you are is more important that what you do.
You can always be doing more.
You can never please everyone.
Everyone will have a different opinion of what you do or don’t do as a pastor’s wife. Some people think you do too much, and others think you don’t do enough or you should be involved in different areas.
You are responsible to please the Lord, your husband, and no one else.
I always have to remember I am serving the Lord, not the church.
Not with eye service, as men pleasers, but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.”
Besides the reminder that we are the servants of Christ, I love the part about “doing the will of God from the heart.”
Your attitude is so much more important than the “things” you do.
It is easy to go through the motions and not have it be from the heart.
When you put God first and remember that your relationship with Him is the most important relationship you have, not only will you be more effective in your service but He will be faithful in directing you to what your ministry involvement should be.
2. The most important job of the pastor’s wife is to be the wife of the pastor.
Sounds elementary, but only you can be your husband’s wife and your kids’ mom. I need to be his wife and helpmeet first.
God created you to fill that role (Gen. 2:18).
Just because you are a married to a pastor, your priorities do not change.
So many times as young (or not-so-young!) pastor’s wives, we struggle to balance our ministry demands and our marriage and our mothering all at once.
God’s Word is clear. As women, after our relationship with the Lord, our first priority is to be our husband and our marriage.
Our second priority is to be our children and our home, and ministry comes after that.
Helping your husband in practical ways, encouraging and praying for him, and making sure his needs are met are your most important job.
When you are in the season of raising children at home, a lot of ministry is going to have to wait. Your children are your most important ministry.
I love being able to look back now and see the fruit of having put my children before ministry, and also to see God’s wonderful gift of timing.
Now that our children are grown, God has put us in a larger, much busier church where I never would have been able to do all the things that I do now back when we had young children at home.
I’ll continue with part two of this article next week!
If you’re a preacher’s wife and you’d like to connect with Kristy, Kathi, and over 200 other minister’s wives, we’d love for you to join our Pastor’s Wives @ Kristy’s Cottage Facebook group!