October 3, 2012

The Rewards of Being a Pastor's Wife

After the service last Sunday, our church held a picnic on the playground of the school in which we meet. I interacted with my husband for approximately 36 seconds from the time he left the house two hours before church started until the end of the picnic. During the intervening hours, I prepared myself and our children for church, got us all there in one piece with lunches packed for the picnic, wrangled my energetic kiddos while greeting folks at the door, talked and prayed with ladies at the conclusion of the service, and then gathered children and picnic equipment so I could plop down in the middle of people I didn't know and turn on the pastor's wife charm.

I'm not complaining, just stating the facts. This was a very normal Sunday morning, one of the easier ones actually. And it's a typical Sunday for every pastor's wife: we're single moms for a day, we answer countless questions, we pray for and counsel women, and we lead ministries. We're "on" with kids in tow.
I have had a taste of a different life. When we first moved to Charlottesville and before we started our church, we visited churches in the area. I soaked in every second of having help with getting children ready on Sunday mornings, my husband driving us to church, neither of us having church responsibilities, enjoying a relaxed husband, and leaving church together as a family.

But here's the thing: I can't imagine living this kind of life for very long. Being a pastor's wife is what I know, and, honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way. OK, yes, sometimes I want to run away but those days really are rare, and I have a husband who patiently and calmly talks me down from my crazy person ledge. Being in ministry is not easy, but it's where I want to be.

I wouldn't be human if I didn't struggle sometimes, and I wouldn't be honest if I pretended there aren't challenges that come with being a pastor's wife. But I also wouldn't be faithful to my calling and to my God if I didn't look for and choose joy in this life each day. God hasn't asked me to do something that is drudgery, fruitless, obligatory, or impossible. He has asked me to do what He asks of every believer: to deny myself, to take up my cross, and follow Christ. With joy. And it is for my joy. He has given us all privileges and responsibilities as His children and this life as a pastor's wife is what that responsibility looks like specifically for me. Being in ministry is not easy, but it's where I want to be. 

One of my counseling professors in seminary wisely said, "There is always another side of the story." This is helpful to remember in many situations, but it's most helpful for me when I start grumbling about what God has called me to do. Yes, there are challenges, but what are the joys? Yes, there are sacrifices, but what are the rewards? There are many joys and rewards, and remembering them helps me adjust my perspective:
  • I get to enjoy community and laboring with an incredible group of people. Each and every one are gifts from God to me personally in unique ways, even those who challenge me to grow in loving those I don't have a natural affinity for.
  • My kids are known and loved. And we know an abundance of eager babysitters.
  • My kids get to see God's faithfulness up-close-and-personal in our lives and others' lives. 
  • I have a husband who leads faithfully and is respected "at the city gates". Not all women can say that.
  • I have the ear of the pastor. I have alot of influence on the atmosphere and dynamics of the church. 
  • I know the intimate details of how God is answering prayer, how He is saving people, and what He is saving them from.
  • Because of my role, people often trust me with intimate details, difficult struggles, and other things they don't often share. This is a responsibility and a great blessing. It challenges me to pursue God for answers and trust Him more.
  • Sometimes people bless our family with unexpected gifts.
  • I am challenged every day to depend utterly upon God.
  • Ministry has been the catalyst for God to break my attempts at performance and reveal His grace.
  • I have the opportunity to speak truth into the lives of others.
  • I have seen parts of the world I would not have otherwise.
  • God promises that what I do for Him is seen and will be rewarded.
Those are a few of mine, all reasons why this is where I want to be. What are yours?