Ask a hundred people- What are the duties of a pastor’s wife?”
You’ll get about one hundred different answers.
But I’m pretty sure most of them will address a mash-up of the following:
- what she does
- what she doesn’t
- how she complements her husband in his role
Most churches and denominations have expectations about the role of a pastor’s wife.
ALL pastor’s wives have expectations- and probably misgivings– about her duties in her role.
Today, I want to talk about our “duties” as pastor’s wives.
And more specifically, how grace shapes those duties.
Because, friends, without grace, any leadership role will dissolve into nothing more than duty.
And I don’t have to tell you- duty is not life-giving.
But grace is.
So, my lovelies… here are four grace-full “duties” every pastor’s wife can whole-heartedly embrace.
Duty #1: Give your husband grace.
Your man looks so close-to-perfect in front of everyone at church.
But you live with him.
You know his faults, irritating habits, his insecurities.
You know him better than anyone else, and that’s why it’s so important for you to give him this gift.
How does this translate to real life?
The parsonage yard needs mowed, but your husband is so busy with church work (including mowing the church lawn) that he has to put it off for at least a few more days.
Your husband is exhausted and over-committed all the time, mainly because he has to work a full time job in order to supplement the salary he receives from the church. He rarely has time to spend with you or your kids, since he’s always working or at the church. This is not what you envisioned “ministry” would look like.
A deacon informs you after church that this is the third service in a row your husband has started the service five minutes late. You inwardly cringe at the criticism, since it secretly drives you crazy too.
It sounds petty, but these kinds of harmless little scenarios have the power to destroy your respect for your husband and damage your marriage, if you let them.
Learn to let go of expectations regarding your husband’s ministry, the size of your church, his salary, his personality, and whatever else you find yourself dealing with as the wife of a pastor.
Let go and give grace.
Choose to honor him, in all his imperfect glory.
It just might be the best thing you ever do for your marriage.
The SECOND best thing you might ever do for your marriage is read Boundaries for Marriage, by Cloud and Townsend.
There are healthy ways to express needs, hurts, and expectations within a Christian marriage.
Check out the book —>
Duty #2: Give your children grace.
Growing up as a PK, I always hating hearing the “typical preacher’s kid” comments.
I didn’t even know that a “typical” preacher’s kid acted like, but it seemed pretty awful!
As the mother of preacher’s kids, give your children the gift of unconditional love, grace, and affirmation.
I’m not talking about letting them act like undisciplined heathens. *wink*
But be their biggest fan, not their biggest critic.
A Sunday School teacher complains about your preschool daughter’s behavior in class, and you react out of embarrassment instead of dealing with the issue in the privacy of your home after church.
Your older kids seem to resent ministry life; what are you supposed to do to “fix” that?
It’s tempting to try to meet everyone’s expectations about your family, than to take your kids’ feelings, preferences, and personalities into consideration.
You really hadn’t planned on potty training your toddler yet, but someone made a comment about the fact that he’s still in diapers. Now you feel insecure.
The scenarios are endless, and I’m sure you’re thinking of some of your own right now!
The truth is, you and I have got to be secure in who we are as women- and who and what our families are- if we’re going to let people’s expectations, criticisms, and plain old harmless comments leave us unshaken.
It takes a lot of inner security to be the mother of preacher’s kids.
I want to raise children who are confident, gracious, and who love people and love serving in God’s kingdom.
To do that, I know it’s going to take a lot of grace-giving.
My favorite parenting book —>
Duty #3: Give your church family grace.
Over the years, I’ve met a number of preacher’s wives who have been hurt and basically “burned out” on building relationships with people.
As a younger woman, I used to wonder why these ladies “had such a bad attitude” about ministry.
After being in ministry with my husband for fifteen years, I understand at least a little why it’s possible to get to that point!
—–> Burn out is a natural response to feeling like you’ve given your all and not been loved or appreciated in return.
Years ago, I read the following quote from a passage in Oswald Chambers book, My Utmost for His Highest:
The mainspring of Paul’s service is not love for men, but love for Jesus Christ.
If we are devoted to the cause of humanity, we shall soon be crushed and broken-hearted, for we shall often meet with more ingratitude from men than we would from a dog; but if our motive is love to God, no ingratitude can hinder us from serving our fellow men.”
You were up half the night with a new baby and still had to make it to Sunday morning service with all your kids in tow… Frankly, you’re plain tired of always being the one who never misses, never sits out.
You feel like you’ve been more than friendly and hospitable to the women in your church, but they seem so moody and self-absorbed. You’re starting to think, What’s the use?
If you have to go to the trouble of helping out at another funeral for someone who didn’t even attend your church, you just might scream!
Why doesn’t anyone ever ask you how you’re doing instead of always venting and complaining?
Loving people must be an overflow of our love for Christ.
Human love gives up, wears out, falls short and expects something in return.
Frankly, we cannot love like Jesus without grace.
Don’t even try!
Check out my post, 10 Things Every Young Pastor’s Wife Should Know.
Duty #4: Give Yourself Grace.
This is really at the heart of it all.
Give the woman in the mirror permission to be herself.
Until you receive grace- even from yourself- you simply cannot give it away to anyone else.
Your husband feels called to ministry and he’s so excited about the prospect of stepping into a pastoral role. The only problem? You have NO IDEA how to be a pastor’s wife. Did you actually sign up for this?
The previous pastor’s wife was well-respected and, apparently, good at everything. You feel like you might be living under her shadow for the rest of your life.
You’re an introvert, plain and simple. How can an introverted woman ever be a “good” pastor’s wife?
Here’s the truth:
Most of us don’t necessarily feel like we’re “cut out” to be great pastor’s wives.
God doesn’t call us because we’re a cut above everyone else.
God calls us because, for some eternal purpose, He has chosen us for this.
Believe me, you ARE going to be good at this… as long as you give yourself permission to be the woman God created you to be.
Live into your gifts.
Don’t be afraid to be stretched out of your comfort zone (because you will be!).
Cultivate personal growth in your life.
Learn to love generously- and without expectations.
And give yourself the grace to not be what everyone might need or expect you to be; that’s not your calling.
Loving like Jesus loved is your calling.
When you feel overwhelmed or insecure or just “not enough,” remember this-
There is always enough grace to be faithful.
—–> For further reading, check out my other posts for pastor’s wives:
Are you a pastor’s wife?
I’d love to connect with you over in my private Facebook group for pastor’s wives!
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Here’s to Living & Loving Well-