March 28, 2011

Kelly Matte on Being a Pastor's Wife

Welcome to Ministry Monday! My friend Kelly Matte joins me today to share her hard-won wisdom about being a pastor’s wife. Kelly is wife to Gregg, who is pastor of Houston’s First Baptist Church and author of Finding God’s Will, and mom to two adorable kids, Greyson and Valerie.

Kelly is a blessing to everyone she meets. To me personally, she has been a real-life model of the kind of pastor’s wife I aim to be: faithful in prayer for her husband, purposeful in parenting, and an abiding disciple of Jesus. Her life and her home are full of peace and joy, despite the demands and stress of her husband being the pastor of a large church. Because she is so good at maintaining priorities, I asked her to share specifically about how she does that. I know you’ll be blessed!

What advice would you give to ministers’ wives who are just starting out?

Keep your eyes on Jesus.  Never lose sight that following Christ is your ultimate calling and being united with Him your primary identity. 

What is the process you go through before saying yes or no to a ministry opportunity outside your family?

First I simply pray and ask God if this is something He wants me to do.  Secondly, in trying to discern His will, I consider the calendar. Will time allow for me to serve in this way without neglecting the needs of our family? Third, does it line up with my spiritual gifts or at least pure motives to further God’s kingdom?  And last but not least, does my husband give me the thumbs up? If I sense the Spirit saying no or not yet, I decline and rest in the reality that God has someone else picked out for the task and that my saying no is allowing me to say yes to what God does want me to do for now.  If on the other hand I sense God giving me the green light then I go for it whole-heartedly unto Him.    

How are you a helpmate to your husband?

I seek to make our relationship and our home a haven for him.  I want to be a source of refreshment and encouragement. I want him to know that his heart is safe with me, that I respect him and am fully committed to helping him fulfill God’s call on his life. The Marriage Builder by Larry Crabb is one of my favorite books on marriage and taught me how to make this a reality. It’s main premise is that God alone can meet the deepest needs of our heart and when we let Him we are then free to minister to our spouse’s needs rather than manipulating them to meet our own. So finding my own security, significance, and satisfaction in Christ alone is essential to me being the helpmate to Gregg that I want to be.

After that, one specific way I seek to be a helpmate to Gregg is to fervently pray for him.  A few years ago the Spirit led me to begin keeping journals with prayers and scriptures just for Gregg that I have given him as gifts on special occasions. He treasured them and would read from them daily as a source of encouragement. 

Another way I seek to minister to him is by keeping the home running as smoothly as possible.  Having a clean house, good meals, and the kids on a flexible routine and under relative control makes home a place he can relax and replenish. When Gregg gets home we drop everything and welcome him in (which means attack him at the door with hugs and kisses!) 

To be ready for him spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally requires that I manage my time and energy wisely during the day. I want to be fresh for him and ready to give, listen, and care. Especially after a particularly hard or long day when he gets home late, we both love it when I welcome him into a clean house, with kids tucked in bed waiting for Daddy to kiss them good night, chocolate chip banana bread baking in the oven, and a candle lit :) I certainly am not always successful at this but it will never stop being my goal. Gregg is my best friend, soul-mate, and gift from God and as long as I live I will seek to bless him.     

My interview with Kelly will continue tomorrow, when she'll share about how she and Gregg protect their marriage and family from the demands of ministry. See you then!        

You can read the second part here.