God Is Still Using YOU!
As pastors’ wives, we go through different seasons of our lives. I remember when I was raising my children, I was moving constantly. I was on a training mission with them. I made puppets; I went to training seminars for Sunday School teaching; I started a puppet ministry for our church; I had a children’s choir; I did Patch the Pirate; I taught in the Christian school; I directed school programs; I directed children’s discipleship lessons; I taught mothers how to be Godly mothers. God’s purpose for my life at that time centered on training of children.
When my children married and moved away from home, I began a new season and became aware that God’s purpose for my life was changing. I completed my academic degree, which took me twenty years to complete. I began to take counseling courses, and God began to use me to help women who had troubled marriages. I taught several series on How to Be the Wife of a Happy Husband. The Lord placed us in the Fairhaven, a twenty-eight room Victorian mansion that we ran like a Bed and Breakfast for pastors and missionaries. I loved entertaining and encouraging others through this ministry of hospitality. I began writing and speaking more. I completed my first book.
Today, I feel that God’s purpose for my life is beginning to change again. We moved to Texas. We left the big house and the pastorate. When this happened, I began to experience a feeling of uselessness. I was having a hard time understanding what God’s purpose was for me at this time in my life. The devil tricked me into reminiscing about my past service, and I began to feel restless. Slowly and gently, the Lord began to make me more aware of His new purpose for my life. I began to focus on helping my husband and the new direction in which God was leading him. I began traveling with my husband, and God started using me to encourage other Christian leaders and missionaries.
There are times in the ministry when a pastor must take his wife out of a familiar area and move her to a new area. This move sometimes causes a pastor’s wife to become bitter. Her bitterness turns to rebellion, and she refuses to be spiritual and to adjust to the new area.
Pastor’s wife, God has a purpose for your life no matter where you live. When I was living in New England, I had a good friend who was a Pastor’s wife. This friend loved music. In fact, it was she who took me to Boston one Christmas to hear Handel’s Messiah. The Lord moved my friend and her husband to a small town in Kansas to minister. She no longer had the advantage of living near a large city where she could enjoy beautiful concerts. I know how difficult that move must have been for her, but she did not complain. She obeyed the Lord’s leading in her life.
It does not matter where you live or what season of life you find yourself, God has a purpose for your life.
Here is a great missionary story which illustrates that God has a purpose for your life, no matter where!
There was an old medical, preaching missionary ministering in India. The old doctor’s mission board had sent a young medical, preaching doctor to aid this ailing doctor in his work. Accompanying this young doctor was his wife and their two-year-old son. Although the young man had been forced to take over before he was ready, he had done an excellent job.
At the end of a day’s activities, the young doctor came to report to the old doctor. When he had finished his report, the young doctor just sat there for some time. This was unusual for this energetic young doctor.
The old man noticed that something was bothering the young doctor. “What is it, son. What is on your mind?”
“Nothing, doctor,” replied the young man. “It’s just a personal matter.”
For some time, the young man just sat quietly in the chair. Suddenly, he spoke up—slowly at first—then more quickly.
“Doctor, I have received two invitations from England today. One is from my home church—and the other is from our missionary secretary. My church wants me to come home and be their pastor, and the mission’s secretary will retire soon and he wants me to take his position. Doctor, what shall I do? You have been here for a long while.”
“Yes, son, forty-seven years.”
“And you haven’t got much to show for it.”
“No, not very much.”
“Your wife and five children are gone.”
“Yes, they all died of the fever. If they had not been in this country, they might still be alive.”
“You only have a small church with only a few members.”
“Yes, son, just a one-room stucco structure.”
“Well, doctor, tell me, what shall I do? What would you do in my place? Would you stay here burying yourself in this jungle, spending a lifetime to have little to show for it—perhaps see my wife and child die; or would you go back to England to what looks like a greater opportunity?”
The old man closed his eyes and tears began to trickle down his sunken cheeks. His lips began moving in silent prayer. After a while, the old doctor opened his eyes and turned to the young doctor, he began:
“Son, one of these days I am going to die. I will report to the Lord Jesus Christ. Before I have taken a few steps down that glorious golden street, there will coming out of the trees that line that street a brown-skinned starry-eyed formerly Hindu girl. She will grab both my hands in hers and, jumping up and down in excitement, cry out, ‘Doctor, I have been waiting for you for a long time! Doctor, you led me to Christ. You baptized me. Will you mind if I take you to Jesus?’
“Just before I have a chance to fall at his feet, the little girl, keeping my hand fast in hers, will take hold of the Lord’s hand and cry out, ‘Lord Jesus, this man left his country, his people. He watched his wife and babies die in suffering. He gave up all that he had and all that he was. He was the first one to tell me about You, and I want to be the first one to tell You about him.”
Although you might not see it at this moment in your life, your labor is has not been in vain. I look back to the first season when I was teaching children. I taught a small bus child whose name was Lana. She was a child who had a hunger and thirst for the Lord. She soaked up everything that I could teach her. After she graduated from high school, she attended Bible College. She met a wonderful young man there and they married. The Lord called them to the mission field, and they went to Romania as missionaries. A few years ago, we visited this couple in Romania. She and I went to visit a dying grandmother in downtown Constanta, Romania. Lana asked me witness to the old woman, while she translated. Oh the joy that I felt—not only leading the grandmother to the Lord, but having this previous bus kid, who is now a beautiful mature, Christian woman, sitting before me translating the Romania language in order that this grandmother could have a chance to understand the Gospel and go to heaven.
Ask the Lord to show you His purpose for your life at this season of it. Although seasons change, we must learn to follow the Lord’s leadership through each one of them. Your circumstances may change many times over the years, but God always has a special purpose for you to discover in each season as you serve Him. He is not finished with you!
SURVEY OF PASTORS’ WIVES
The responses to a survey of wives of pastors are in order of frequency. A representative comment follows each response.
1. I wish someone had told me just to be myself. “I am a people-pleaser by nature, so for me, not being prepared to handle being a pastor’s wife with my personality was a heavy burden to carry early in our ministry.”
2. I wish someone had prepared me to deal with criticism of my husband and me. “It was hard to deal with negative experiences, conflicts, or criticisms, especially in relation to my husband and our area of ministry. So I would harbor feelings of resentment, when it came to ministry and my man.”
3. I wish someone had reminded me that my husband is human. “I wish someone had told me that my husband could not be God for me. I was disillusioned at first to find out that he indeed is just a man.”
4. I wish someone had told me that others were watching us, (the glass house syndrome). “Even though they are watching us, we don’t need to be controlled by what they expect of us.”
5. I wish someone had told me there are some really mean people in the church. “I was really surprised. I had to learn not to pay too much attention to them, or they would get me down.”
6. I wish someone had told me how much my husband needs me to build him up. “I need to be his cheerleader. Dealing with critics in the church is difficult. He needs to hear that I respect him, now more than ever.”
7. I wish someone had told me that my schedule will never be normal again. “Your husband will be very busy. Expect that. But come alongside him in the areas of time management and organization.”
The following funny script “The Job for Which I Never Applied” was written by a pastor’s wife after she discovered her role as The Pastor’s Wife.
Husband: “Honey, I got you a job today.”
Wife: “Really? Okay, but I wasn’t looking for a job. I have plenty to do here running the household and raising the kids. That was our plan, right? Me stay home with the kids so you could fully dedicate yourself to the ministry.”
Husband: “Yeah, yeah. But I really need you take this job for me.”
Wife: “Well, okay, just tell me what to do and when it needs to be done by, and I will do everything I can to make it happen.”
Husband: “Well, right now there are no specific responsibilities. Basically, it’s just doing anything at church that no one else steps up to do or wants to do.”
Wife: “Oh my, that is a tall order. Okay, I’ll do it. I guess we could use the extra money anyway. Things are always tight around here on a pastor’s salary.
Husband: “Well, actually honey, there is no salary . . .”