Today, we have my Aunt Toni on the blog! She shared an article she wrote with me and I wanted to share it with you!
What to expect as a “ministry” wife...
Expect to become your husband’s dearest friend.
Yes, your bond is great, but serving a flock together and going through trials together continually deepens your bond… Or it has the opposite effect of pulling you apart - fight against that one! Expect others to come to you with complaints about your husband, but never listen to them. Always direct them straight to him. If it’s a sin issue on his part, they need to work it out anyway, so it doesn’t do them any good to tell you about it. Make sure everyone knows that you are loyal to your husband even though he is a sinner and makes mistakes. They will learn not to “cross” you because of your unity. In his darkest times of hurt, you will be there to encourage him and he will encourage you.
It is normal to have trials, and they are mostly because of the people you serve. Expect bad attitudes, grumbling, complaining, bickering among the sheep. Sometimes you will even have those sheep who betray you and “stab you in the back”. It is hurtful, it is painful, but God can be your strength and your solid rock. People (especially sheep) can be fickle, but we cannot put our trust in people, because they let us down. God and His Word will stand forever. Expect some that “leave” the church (wherever you may be) will come grumbling and telling you all about it. Never be a part of gossip and always direct them to the elders so they can work out their differences. If they refuse, it tells you that really all they wanted to do was grumble and gossip, and not do things the proper way as stated in Matthew 18 (this is a good passage for handling disputes). Some who leave will want to remain friends, some will decide they want to “move on”. That one hurts, but as I said the other day, some will turn the other way when they run into you at WalMart - not because they hate you, but because they like to avoid the truth, and you are a reminder of the truth…. (Most people who leave do not leave in Biblically correct manner - they just leave! Some do, but very few, sadly.)
The ministry brings many blessings. Some of the sheep are more mature than others… these are the ones who usually bestow us with blessings. And even some of the “young” sheep can be so sweet and thoughtful… it will amaze you. God meets our needs continually, and it is mostly through loving, caring, and giving sheep. Sometimes it is through strangers, and sometimes through fellow ministry workers. God is good and He always finds a way to take care of us!
Expect to be in the ministry for a “marathon”, not a “sprint”.
Most assistant pastors and youth pastors burn out in 18 months-2 yrs. Why? Because they pour their hearts and souls into the people they love and get little in return. They exhaust themselves and their families by sacrificing so much, that they forget they are human and they need to rest too. It is vitally important to prioritize, take time for your husband, take time for your children, and pace yourself so that you can be prepared to serve as long as God has you serving. I like to pour myself into everything, so sometimes it is hard to step back and let someone else take things over, but then I remember that there is joy in serving, and if I am willing to share, then they can experience part of those blessings also. Take a break and slow down from time to time, but never quit….always stick by your hubby and the calling God has put on him.
Take time for being in God’s word, even if it is just a short time daily. This is one I have struggled with. I am an excellent reader, but it is not my favorite thing to do. I don’t enjoy just sitting with my coffee (LOL, I don’t like coffee) and reading my Bible on the back porch. Actually, I prefer to read a little before I go to bed, but when I’m studying, I prefer using the computer programs. So…whatever works for you. Everyone is different. Don’t feel pressured to do someone else’s method. Believe me, I have tried and failed many times. The point is to be in God’s word, hide it in your heart, and it will sustain you and help you counsel others in the correct biblical way!
Expect to experience the joy.
Living in a fish bowl has its down sides, dealing with unpleasant situations will wear on you, and you will have sleepless nights due to stress and drama. BUT….if you remind yourself of God’s goodness, keep doing what He has called you to do, and never forget where He has brought you from, and the reasons why He called you to “this” task, you will experience JOY… of being right where God called you, doing right what He called you to do. Remember it is always the safest and the most blessed when you are in the center of His will!
Are any of you readers in full-time Christian service? Do you have any thoughts to add? Please share!