My advice to a potential Pastor’s Wife

The other day I was contacted  by a friend on Facebook with the following message (names have been taken out to keep her privacy):

“So I was wondering if you may be able to help me out… I am after some advice on dating a pastor and potentially becoming a pastor’s wife haha. I happened to see RANDOM NEGATIVE NANCY EX-PASTOR GUY (name clearly removed) and he found out that I was dating a pastor and didn’t have anything positive to say about it which left me feeling quite unsure and discouraged. I was just wanting to know what your thoughts are on it and to see if it’s really as ‘bad’ as he was saying!”

This was the response I sent to her yesterday:

1. People who have had a negative experience will always expect everyone else’s experience to be the same as theirs – this is not true. This, in fact, is completely unfair and selfish to fling that expectation on you. You can choose to be happy and have an amazing experience.

2. Each “Pastor’s Wife/Pastor’s Girlfriend” is different to the next. Their level of social maturity, their commitment to their relationship, their spiritual growth and journey is so different from the next girl/woman. We cannot be expected to fit the same mould – I struggled with this BIG time in my first year of marriage.

3. God will not ever put you in a situation that He hasn’t equipped you to handle. This includes, pressure from friends, family, church members etc.

4. In the Bible, it says that we as Christians are called to ministers because we “believe”. Simply, some of us have Pr in front of our name and some of us don’t. We all have the same calling, it just looks different and comes in different packages.

5. Communication is key. If you are looking at going down the engagement path, I would encourage you to start having chats about expectations etc. Ask yourselves questions like

“What would it be like if…”

“What would you expect of me if…”

“How would you feel supported if we did this…”

I always said to Richie that our church should offer “Pre-Engagement Counselling”. I really wanted it before we got engaged, but we had some excellent “Pre-marital counselling” before we got married and it gave us incredible opportunities to talk about things we had never addressed (the unspoken stuff), or even were aware we needed to address.

6. There needs to be a level of independence in a Pastor’s Wife. I have some friends who can’t handle having a night where their husband is out or away. Try not seeing him for a week when he goes on school camp or even overseas to a speaking engagement. Potentially you will find yourself alone and you need to be comfortable with that. You will need to be able to make decisions and also have the confidence to release him to do the job he has been called to.

Finally…

I love being a Pastor’s Wife, it is exciting, adventurous, and unpredictable.

I learnt quickly that it does not define me as a person, it is simply one of my many roles in life which God has called me to.

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JustONE Conference, Week 2 Recap – Leading and Loving It!

Over the last two weeks I have enjoyed being a part of the virtual conference at http://leadingandlovingit.com/ and interacting with women from all over the world who are Pastors Wives and Women in Ministry.

I missed Week 1, or rather I did watch it, but was multi-tasking at work while it was on and at the end was disappointed I didn’t write notes, and pay more attention. I lived and learned, and this week I shut myself in an office and took about 8 pages of notes. Below is a small snap-shot into what was discussed/advised and my feelings on what was said.

Honestly, even if you aren’t a “Pastors Wife” or a “Woman in Ministry”, I believe you should just watch it. Gratefully, it has impacted and blessed me; I believe it will have that same effect for you.

Mark your diaries for Tuesday and Wednesday between 1-2pm if you are in NSW, Australia. Otherwise go to this link and work it out http://live.mediasocial.tv/leadingandlovingit

Conference Key Verse: 1 Timothy 4:11-14 MSG

Get the word out. Teach all these things. And don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed-keep that dusted off and in use.

 

Speaker 1: Makeda Pennycooke – The gift of Ministry “keeping it dusted off”

You don’t have to be Super Human or Super Christian, you are allowed to have a bad day.

You don’t yet know what is inside of you or what God is going to do with you.

Ministry is a special gift God has given to us and trusts us to connect with others.

God has uniquely wired and put in front of me (and inside of me) everything I need for my ministry… YOU are adequate… YOU can do this… In reality, He doesn’t need my help, but he chooses us. Isaiah 41:9 – I’ve picked you!

Choose to see that ministry is a gift. He trusts us.

*****

Speaker 2: Holly Furtick – “Don’t ride the coat-tails of your husband or your church ministry”

Holly gave us a list of the things she personally does to prevent riding anyones coat-tails. Basically, she lives a life where she allows God to pour into her… this is so He can pour out of her. Her goal is to be “Living a life that breathes Jesus in every second of the day.”

A “hot-tip” I loved was maximise moments in the car to talk to your family – talk about their day, encourage them “You are going to have an awesome day”, “God is going to use you”, “God is going to lead you” etc (…locking this one into the memory bank for when I have kids).

*****

Speaker 3: Julie Richard – “What is Your (God’s) vision for my life?” – I felt that Julie and I have had the same journey… even though I’m 30 and she is… well I’m guessing 50+?? But looking hot for 50+!

Julie questioned: “Am I right for this role? Am I the right person to be a Pastors Wife? Looking around at the women surrounding me… What should a Pastors Wife look like… Sound like… Speak like?”

“I was looking around, instead of getting a vision/revelation from God to WHO I was meant to be.”

(HELLO THIS WAS ME!!!!)

Don’t look around because you will become fearful and critical of yourself. You will also allow others to do the same to you.

You need to have time alone with your Creator so he can impart His vision for YOU – Get your vision and identity from God alone. Like Esther “I have a BIG God. I will go.” She was confident in her calling, not in herself.  “For such a time as this…”

Finding your identity is just like finding that perfect pair of jeans – You know it, when you are in it.

It’s not an accident, it’s not a coincident, and it’s not a surprise to God.

*****

Speaker 4: Tricia Lovejoy – “Doing certain things well is a gift which adds value to others”

Rom 12:6 – We have been given an ability to do certain things well – It’s a gift! Paul is very clear about this.

This spiritual gift adds value to the people around us and the rest of the world.

Eph 4:11-16 – there are a ton of different gifts, look outside the box.

If you have the gift of encouragement, you may be called to inspire young believers. Look for the needs in your church – think about how and where you could add value.

*****

Speaker 5: Lisa Hughes – “Expectations of a Pastors Wife”

Originally, Lisa felt that Pastors Wives were supposed to be musical (sing & play!), bake & sew (like Martha Stewart!) and wear floral dresses to church with their kids clothes all coordinated.

Thankfully, the modern 21st Century church has blown up that idea of a “typical Pastors Wife.”

Two places she gets her guidelines/ instructions: the B-i-b-l-e & D-C-H (David Charles Hughes – her husband) Jer 29:11 – He has plans for me. There is no other person He wants for your role, but you. There is no other person He wants for my role, than ME.

It’s so easy to focus on the roles that you forget to be a wife.

We are public figures – EVERY Christian person lives in a fish bowl and is a public figure. Everyone looks at you… so just be guilty of trying to get it right.