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The Role of a Pastor's Wife
By Shannon Parish

Probably one of the most often asked questions that come through Sarah's Tent is from the young, new pastor's wife who asks, "How can I be the best pastor's wife that I can be?" "What is expected of me as a new pastor's wife?"

Memories instantly leap to my mind as I remember asking that myself. Now, after years of ministry experience and people experience, I see great wisdom in Shakespeare's words ... "To thine own self be true".

There is no greater praise or gift to God and the people you serve ... and your husband and children ... that you remain true to yourself.

Staying in truth and integrity, love and joy, reflecting God's grace, mercy and love on this Earth, is greater than any skill or talent that hides who you were created to be.

A pastor's wife is not a trophy wife. The worse thing that a woman can do (or anyone for that matter) is to try to live up to what they THINK other people expect of them. Focusing on an undefined goal dooms you to failure - because you'll never know when its been obtained - because it never really existed!

The greatest thing that you can do as a pastors wife is to first discover who you are. Know your strengths - and your weaknesses. Embrace your strengths and rejoice in your weaknesses!

"What?" you ask, "Rejoice in my weaknesses?"

You bet! That means that you are leaning to your strengths - which are areas that you excel in and love to do (which blesses everyone who partakes of your gifts) and understanding your weaknesses allows others to bless you in kind, because they are strong where you are weak.

Pride will say that you must be excellent in all things. Walk away from people who insist such things because if you aren't aware of it right now, you soon will be .... You are not Jesus Christ! Get over it and relax.

Understanding your weaknesses gives you opportunity to encourage and validate others who have strengths that they are called by God to give. Did you hear that? We are CALLED BY GOD to give what we have. Not what we don't have.

That also means that when the temptation comes to enter into competition, you participate in exactly the opposite of what a pastor's wife should do. She should love and extend grace and mercy to those she serves - just as much as she wants it in return. (Besides, staying away from things you are weak in, means you have less things to be responsible for, and more opportunity for others to do what they love to do!) (Nothing wrong with an easier, happier day now, is there?)

Its true, that there will always be expectations from others that are impossible to live up to. How you respond to those expectations will teach those around you not only how you expect to be treated, but gives them permission to do the same.

How to begin? Discover who you are. Take some very important private time, away from interruptions and outside demands. Bring paper and pen to write down your thoughts, and give yourself permission to imagine and dream about what your perfect life would look like.

Think back to the times when you excelled at something that made your heart soar. That was when you were in your strength. Jot those moments down.

Now think about when you felt like a total failure or hated what you were doing. Jot those down too (don't worry if you can think about more of these than your strong moments. Our world reinforces looking at the negative. This just gives you a nice list of situations to avoid - and to examine. (by asking yourself if there are any common denominators in these events and what to ask yourself what the 'truth' was that your inner voice was reinforcing.)

Once you've identified core belief systems, bring them to the light and lay them on the altar. They are opposite to God's plan and purpose for you and are lies to who God has created you to be. Repent from embracing these lies.

(To repent means to GO ANOTHER WAY. It means that you are acknowledging the error of continuing in this way and you have chosen to go another way.)

Re-visit the FUN MOMENTS where you were in your strength. (This list will build the more that you open yourself to remember these moments. Determine that you will give yourself permission to enjoy these events more often.

For instance:
* If you love to play the piano, play more often
* If you love listening to people, listen to more people
* If you love to cook - cook more often
* If you love to sew - sew more often
* If you love business - network more often and pursue it
* If you love to dance - dance more often
* If you love to encourage - speak up!
* If you love to be with senior citizens - be with them more often
* If you ... well... you get the idea, right?

There is no such thing as a cookie cutter pastor's wife. Each place of worship, each home, has its own flavor or atmosphere and focus. Some churches specialize in prayer and intercession, not only because the pastors love this area of ministry - they are called by God to intercede and pray.

Other churches specialize in excellent worship. Those churches will attract people who have those needs and will set others free who are captive and do not know how to enter into those special ministries. (this applies to witnessing, helping less fortunate, etc.)

Giving yourself permission to embrace your strengths builds confidence and creates a world of thanksgiving and joy, forgiveness and understanding. The fruits of the spirit are abundant in those who are filled with praise and worship. Truth sets captives free ... and frankly, is a whole lot more fun!

When you give yourself permission to be who God made you to be, then you give permission for your children to do the same, as well as any one else who is watching your life. There won't be any guessing in who you are today - or who you might be tomorrow and because of this consistency, people will know that you are someone that they can trust and feel safe with.

Need a jump start? Click on the link that is embedded in the title above, or ... click here: http://sarahstent.com/forms/find_your_strengths.htm 

Answering the questions on this work sheet will reveal your strengths and common denominators. What you uncover will tell you what type of pastor's wife you should be. If you need more feedback - have your friends fill out the form for you, and you do the same for them (why not?) ... print off your sheets.

Now, sit down with a nice cup of tea (do you take one lump of sugar or two?) Discuss what the questions revealed. Tape the sheet where you can see it and be reminded of where your joy resides.

God dwells in the praises of His people. Being in joy will cause you to praise Him in all things and at all times - and it is there that you want to dwell as well.


 

A Cartoonist, Graphic Facilitator and Creative Life Coach, Shannon Parish devotes her life to encouraging those who are fed up with the 'status-quo' and are determined to discover and pursue their purpose and destiny in life through one-on-one mentoring, facilitated workshops and retreats.

 

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(c) copyright 2010 All world rights reserved, Shannon Parish, Living Stones Center.
For reprint permission, please email me.


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Sarah's Tent (Est. 1997)
Living Stones Center
Broomfield, CO  80020-4801

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Copyright 1997-2009 Shannon Parish All rights reserved

 

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