Becoming A Pastor’s Wife: Learning To Live In A Fish Bowl

life-in-a-fishbowl
I have been married for three years now to an amazing man, Steven, who has recently decided to follow God’s calling into the ministry. He will begin school in the fall to finish up his bachelor’s degree, and Lord willing, go on to seminary. I am so thankful and blessed to have a husband who is following after the calling the Lord has placed in his heart, and I am honored that I get to play a role in this calling as his support.

Back when we were dating and engaged, we had a couple of conversations about what career paths he would consider pursuing and what those paths would look like for us as a couple–and eventually as a family. The ministry came up, but at that time, I think we were both hesitant for various worldly reasons, such as finances and living publicized lives.

I was concerned about the reality that comes with being the pastor’s wife and being on display for people to see and judge who I was, what kind of wife and mother and Christian I was, both inside and outside of church; it seemed way too daunting, and I was afraid of failure. I will always be the first to admit that I am a people pleaser; I long for people to like and accept me; that being said, it is a terrifying thought to put myself out there and to be so exposed to an entire congregation of people–people whom I trust, care about, and whose opinions I value.

Having said that, the closer I draw to the Lord and see Him and His desires, I realize that if it is truly God’s will for Steven, and therefore our family, then He will equip Steven to preach and teach, and He will equip me to be the wife and mother I need to be as well, regardless of my audience. Although I have my concerns and worries about this, I know that God is more than enough. He is good, and His plans for us are good and to prosper us (Jeremiah 29:11). Although there are quite a few years ahead of us before Steven will be an ordained pastor in the pulpit, his training starts now. His training is more evident with classes and is recognized more among others, but what about the other half? What about their wives? Don’t we require some training and support too? This isn’t meant to say that pastor wives deserve praise and a pat on the back, but rather to maybe recognize the need for the wives of those who feel called into the ministry. Once a man is called into the ministry his training comes a little easier than it does for those who are in a position of support. When a man feels called into the ministry, usually there are steps that take place before they start. They are first called, if they have not already received their bachelors, many get their bachelors and from there go on to seminary. So, they spend years under the guidance and teaching under men who have experience and can properly train them. What about the wives? Or do we not require teaching and guidance to the extent that our husbands, the pastors, need?

I am sure that there are some women who felt called to be a pastor’s wife, that the Lord has placed it on their hearts to seek out a husband who is in the ministry, but that is not my story. I have always respected and looked up to the pastor wives that I have met and felt that they looked and seemed so “together.”When I say “together,” it goes beyond looks, but deeper in a sense that they know what they are doing in their parenting, their marriage and even their walk with the Lord. I always felt that there was no way I could live up to being a pastor’s wife. I’m not “together” enough, I would just be a let down to those around me, but I know that it is not all about me.

God is the bigger picture, and He is who we are to be looking to ultimately, not me. It’s already easy enough to think the world revolves around YOU, and that other’s are looking at you and how you do things. I feel like it is intensified greatly when you have been placed in a position where people might pay more attention to you. When we feel like people are watching us, it’s probably natural to think they are also judging (even though they might not be); therefore, you might feel you need to change things about yourself and how you act. I worry about all this for me, because I want my main focus to be on the Lord and on glorifying Him in all that I do. Now, I know that I can’t change the reality that comes with possibly being under a microscope as a pastor’s wife, but I can change how I choose to react or not to react to this fact.

Thankfully I have a couple of years to allow the Lord to grow in me and teach me to be content in Him, and only Him, and it is my prayer that I would surround myself with people who will love and support me and pray for me in my part of this calling. I am proud of my husband and the life he is taking on for us. Knowing how important a life this is (not just a job, but a life) helps me to find the joys in learning to be a pastor’s wife as we strive to glorify God and teach His word together.

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2 comments

  1. Amen Chelsea! As a pastor’s wife for nearly twenty years, I can attest to the truth that without a close intimate walk with the Lord the road ahead will seem to difficult. But you truly can do all things through Christ Jesus. Even through the darkest times you can rely on Him for all things. Please feel free to contact me if you ever need another pastor’s wife to talk to.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Indeed Chelsea, we need the Lord’s guidance too as we fulfill that role as pastor’s wives. Being a pastor’s wife for the last 12 years, I can attest that the Lord gives grace and equips us as we are willing to serve alongside him.

    Like

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