Almost 4 years ago, Joel started his full-time pastoral ministry as the Associate Pastor at Trinity Church in Middleburg Heights, OH. For some reason the role of the Associate Pastor's wife was quite subtle and somewhat comfortable for me. No expectations, no pressure, no "real" demands... except, of course, the true calling to be the encourager and supporter of his ministry. And that I did. I did it well. I suppose being the "second" pastor's wife in the congregation also helped. (Donna, if you're reading this, THANK YOU for your example and support during our years at Trinity!)
But now I am officially the Pastor's Wife. THE Pastor's Wife. Joel became the Senior Pastor of Bethel Church here in Indiana at the end of March, and so far... I must say... my role as the Pastor's Wife has fit me quite comfortably as well. I know it's only been a little over month, but I haven't felt the pressures, the expectations, nor the hard demands from others OR myself. Believe me, I am aware that this might all change at some point. :)
So, what does it TRULY mean to be a Pastor's Wife TO ME?
IMPORTANT NOTE: (As a pastor's granddaughter, pastor's daughter, pastor's niece... and now a pastor's wife)
My thoughts... in my HUMBLE opinion...
- Being Joel's supporter and encourager
- A prayer warrior for Joel's personal and spiritual life
- Being the best mother for my children
- Being the encourager of the ones around me, especially my new church family
- Creating a welcoming environment for my church family
- Developing the specific gifts which God has given me, and passionately pursuing the ways to use them
- Exercising wisdom and discernment
- Growing in my own personal walk with the Lord
- Being sensitive to the needs of the church family, and being available whenever needed
This above list DID NOT include:
- Getting involved in ministry, "just because"... meaning, filling needs as they come
- Wearing certain outfits (although I believe in appropriateness, of course!)
- Participating in EVERY event (although I have been enjoying EVERY gathering... maybe because of the food!)
- Being a good public speaker
- Raising the MOST behaved children (believe me, Joshua has been RUNNING around the building and at every Bible study, prayer meeting, or special event... during prayer times, sermon times, or any other time!)
I've been slowly learning that I am simply a loved daughter of the King. God has created me uniquely for this role and for such a time as this. I love being a wife, a mother, and now a Pastor's Wife. I truly appreciate the prayers of the saints, the encouraging words of every person I encounter, and the support and love of this new church family.
This past month we started hosting our "Alphabet Dinners". Our desire was to host every person in the congregation in our home. Since the house isn't huge, we decided to divide the church directory alphabetically, by last names. We came up with 5 different groups. So far we hosted 2 of the 5 Alphabet Dinners and it's been a true joy to have them in our home. I'm learning, more and more, that despite the work that is involved, God grants me pure joy in those times. I have to say, HOSPITALITY is NOT one of my spiritual gifts, but the Lord is faithful and has provided me with physical strength, energy, and time to cook. People have also been generous in offering their help, especially by bringing side dishes, desserts, salads, etc... I can't imagine having to DO IT ALL! Praise God that things have fallen into place!
There is so much I'm thankful for... I also strongly believe that God has answered my prayers for friends, fellowship, and little friends for Joshua... but that is a post for another day.
One of the books that I've read recently (I'm doing some book reviews soon, as I've been able to READ before bed, instead of watch TV... yes, we got rid of our TV), is the same book that challenged me a few months ago at a Pastors and Wives Retreat. I was given this book and read it that same day, in less than 1 hour. So good, so challenging, so refreshing, and so TRUE! If you have a chance to pick this little guy up, DO IT!
It is titled "Nice Girls Don't Change The World" by Lynne Hybels.
Do yourself a favor and read it! It's a small book... Like I said, I read it in less than ONE hour!