10 Things I’ve Learned About Being A Preacher’s Wife

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I don’t think preacher’s wives are understood by most people. Before knowing anything about her, people will always have expectations, sometimes unrealistic ones, of her. Some people will judge her unfairly if she doesn’t turn out to be exactly what they were expecting. Some people will be shocked when they discover that she, just like everyone else, is very much human—full of flaws, quirks, and antics…but also talents, skills, and most of all, feelings—as vulnerable as the next girl.

I was richly blessed to be able to grow up watching what I consider to be the very best example of what a preacher’s wife ought to be. My mother was the epitome of selflessness, courage, wisdom, and grace. She was a constant help-meet and homemaker for her husband and children, a wise leader of women—both by example and in leadership roles, a caretaker for the sick, a passionate evangelist for the lost, and so many other wonderful things. She made it all look so easy, and she never complained about the many roles she filled.

Now that I’m in the preacher wife shoes, I admire her all the more, because there are some things that I really didn’t realize as solidly before as I do now. Here are some things I presume most preacher’s wives wish someone had told them before they became such:

  1. Prepare to be criticized a lot, and prepare to comfort your husband when someone criticizes him. You will always be the perfect target for those looking for someone to blame. When you sign up to be a preacher’s wife, you sign up to place yourself in the constant line of fire.
  2. You WILL be watched all the time. That “my life is a fishbowl” thing is no joke. Whether or not they mean to, members of the church will always be critiquing you.
  3. There are some really mean people who claim to be Christians. Don’t be shocked when a member or two of the church where your husband preaches don’t turn out to be the picture of kindness and love toward you.
  4. Your husband needs you to be his cheerleader WAY more than you can even imagine. You are his rock—his support—his shoulder—his refuge. Your support, respect, and encouragement means more to him than anything else in the entire world. He needs to know you’re on his team, every step of the way. And sometimes he just needs a backrub. Don’t slack on this point.
  5. Make your home a fortress of peace and security. I struggle with staying on top of keeping a clean and orderly house, but an organized haven of rest and security is a desperate need of my neat-freak husband who labors tirelessly for the cause of Christ. Make sure your living room is the kind of place your minister can dream about coming home to while he’s slaving away at the office. Burn those candles and welcome him home with open arms and a kiss when he’s ready to leave his stress behind for the night. This isn’t just about him—when he’s able to relax, you can too, and, if for nothing else, that makes it so worthwhile. In addition to making it livable for your man, it’s also super convenient for you whenever your husband calls and says, “Hey, can we have Jane Doe over for a Bible study? She’ll be here in 20 minutes” or “Hey, I just got a call from Brother Jones from Elizabethtown and he’s passing through…can he stop by for a cup of coffee with us?” Don’t get mad—just try (keyword try—we all have our messy days) to be prepared for spontaneous drop-ins.  Which brings me to my next point…
  6. Your schedule will never be normal again. If you plan on being involved in your husband’s great work, expect the unexpected. Don’t be so focused on an hour-by-hour schedule that you’re completely sidetracked when a need comes up that you’re called upon to meet. Flexibility is an absolute MUST. Time is something you just have to be willing to sacrifice frequently.
  7. You will need to expand your comfort zone in a major kind of way. Try not to say “no” when given opportunities to serve or to lead. Your husband needs you to minister alongside him, not just clap from the sidelines. While you’re always his cheerleader, sometimes you have to get your hands dirty and just be a team player. Be willing to say yes to things you never thought you’d be able to do. With every “yes,” that servant type of commitment will become easier and easier. And inevitably, the rewards, though rarely material, are rich.
  8. Make time for just you and God every day. Plain and simple prayer and Bible study. While this is important for everyone, it’s especially vital for people heavily involved in the work of the church. Without some daily perspective of why we do what we do everyday, you will doubtless get burnt out and just want to give up when things get hard.
  9. Down-time is essential. While you will find yourself busier than ever before with things you (and everyone, really) should be doing for the church, you can’t successfully handle it all without some sincere relaxation every now and then. Allow yourself little luxuries sometimes. Do something you really enjoy doing every week. Vent to your best friend sometimes. My husband (who is also my best friend) and I like to cuddle on the couch and just talk and maybe watch one of our favorite shows while we unwind from the hectic events of the day. When we do this, I am able to relax, sleep SO much better, and am much better prepared to face whatever stresses are awaiting me the next day.
  10. Just be yourself. Cliché, I know, but so important. If you’re like me, you will find yourself trying to please everyone at the same time. You’re human. You want everyone to look at you and think, “Now THAT is the perfect minister’s wife,” but, I’m sorry to tell you….this will never happen. You will never be able to please everyone, but if you are sincerely doing your best to be kind and love God more than anything, people will see that and true Christians will love you for who you are and Whose you are.

Preacher’s wives, remember why we’re doing this. Romans 10:15 says, “…how beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” If you have a God-fearing preacher who loves souls as a husband, count it at the top of your blessings.

Thoughts? What would you add to the list?


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Recently, I heard a Christian say in reference to impure forms of entertainment, “Well, Christians should be careful, but I think that we should not just completely remove ourselves from worldly entertainment, because then we won’t know how to relate to people. If we don’t watch the same TV shows and movies that everyone else does, we will lose our influence because we will just look like out-of-date sticks in the mud.”

I immediately started thinking, “Okay, so I guess that means we should all be having extramarital sex, so we’ll relate to the world better. I guess we should all start using profanity so we’ll be up-to-date with everyone else—we’re watching it on TV anyway. I guess we should stop trying to make it a point to dress modestly—people will think we’re just old-fashioned.”

I didn’t say anything right then, because I was afraid it would be said out of anger instead of out of a loving, gentle spirit. I went home, frustrated, and thought even more about what she said. You see, God didn’t really beat around the bush when he told us to be different. He was very specific in His word about wanting his bride to be  “without blemish (I Peter 1:19),” “a peculiar people (I Peter 2:9),” and “not conformed to this world (Romans 12:2).” Not once did he say, “Be careful that you don’t avoid sin so much that people think you’re weird.” Not once did he say, “make sure you participate in enough sinful activity to fit in so you can influence people.” God has made it painfully clear that he wants us to stand out. The only way that we will ever influence others for Christ is if they can see Christ when they look at us. Good luck ever trying to convert someone to Christianity after you’ve willfully participated in the same sinful activity as the world.

And as fuddy-duddy as it sounds, God wasn’t silent about our entertainment choices, either. No, they didn’t have movies, TV, or radio when any part of the Bible was written, but he was pretty clear about the kinds of stuff with which he wanted us filling our minds. “Abstain from every appearance of evil” (I Thes. 5:22) type verses are not exactly blurry.

I would love to say to all young people making an effort to live righteously: You’re doing the right thing. Christianity is an all-or-nothing endeavor. Don’t let anyone bully you into thinking that a full overhaul of self in order to fill yourself with Christ is “too much.” It’s not too much. It’s exactly what Christ asked of us.

I’m reminded of a poster that hung on my door all through high school and college and reminded me of why I was different. This is what it said:

I am a part of the “Fellowship of the Unashamed.” The die has been cast. The decision has been made. I have stepped over the line. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still.

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense and my future is secure. I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap giving and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, love with patience, live by prayer and labor with power.

My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my Guide is reliable and my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won’t give up, shut up, let up or slow up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up and spoken up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My banner is clear: I am a part of the “Fellowship of the Unashamed.”

Don’t just be a part-time Christian. Make it real. Make it everything.

Don’t let others confuse you. Don’t make excuses. Just live for God. Give Him all of you. 100%. If you don’t feel different, and if you don’t feel somewhat persecuted at times, you’re doing it wrong (II Timothy 3:12).

Isaiah 5:20 says this: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”

Don’t get the two mixed up.


Did You Mean To Say That?

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Sometimes I feel like Christians don’t think about how their words sound to others—especially on Facebook. I’ve noticed that many of my Facebook friends (and non-Facebook friends too) who claim the name of Christ are quick to condescendingly mock, belittle, and assign motives to other people who wear the same name and have taken a stand on some moral and/or political issue. Just to be clear, let me give you a few examples of this:

Example #1: A couple of months ago, the president of my alma mater, Freed Hardeman University, made a public statement that in effort to appear modest and to avoid causing young Christian men to stumble in their walk with God, the school’s cheerleaders would wear pants from now on, as opposed to the mini-skirts they’ve worn for several decades now. You can read about this announcement here.

Immediately after the news was out, my Facebook newsfeed was busy with the status updates of current and former FHU students who were ridiculing, mocking, and belittling this announcement. They made it a point to not only make fun of the school for taking this moral stand, but also the people who posted appreciation for this decision.

Example #2: A few weeks ago, my husband conducted a question and answer session at our congregation. This happens every month—people submit questions prior to the event, and my husband answers them from a Biblical standpoint on those scheduled Q&A services. My husband never writes, or persuades others to write, his own questions. They are always questions that members of the congregation ask. At this particular Q&A night, the question was asked whether it was wise (notice it was worded “is it wise” and not “is it sinful”) for a New Testament Christian to attend Christian rock concerts or to listen to Christian rock music on the radio. He spent a liberal amount of time talking about why we, as members of the church of Christ, do not allow musical instruments to become a part of our worship. Then he carefully picked apart the question. His answer was that, because it would be difficult not to worship when listening to songs of praise paired with instruments, and because it might appear inconsistent to non-Christians who saw us listening to Christian rock while not allowing instruments into our church building, it was probably a good idea for us to avoid listening to those types of songs. What surprised everyone was that after that service, a tenderhearted woman in her 70’s came forward and asked for prayers and forgiveness because she listened to Christian rock on the radio. My husband was very careful in relaying this to the congregation, and just simply said that we should love and appreciate anyone who has the kind of heart that wants nothing more than to do what’s right. He never called this particular issue a sin, mind you, but simply said what he believed was advisable for cautious Christians. Immediately after the service, and for several days after, many of our members went to that conscientious lady and told her she was silly for going forward. They told her she should ignore what my husband said and not worry about her salvation at all. Some of them wrote less than pleasant emails to my husband in anger for the stand he took.

Example #3: A few weeks ago, I spoke at a girls’ youth rally about modesty and purity in the life of a teen girl. The next day, a mother of one of those girls came and told me that her teenage daughter had gone home that same day and cleaned out her closet of any clothing that might cause her brothers in Christ to stumble. The next weekend, I relayed this story to about 200 other teen girls in another city where I was speaking, and was hurt by the girls I saw laughing and making fun of that girl’s choice to be 100% modest. As soon as the event was over, I heard comments like “I bet that girl was like twelve years old…she’ll grow out of that” in reference to her fervor to do the right thing.

I could easily give plenty of other examples, like the scores of “Christians” I saw last week mocking those who chose to take a stand about the current same-sex marriage issue in our Supreme Court.

My point is this: It’s time for an attitude check, folks. Whether or not you agree with the moral stands other Christians take, it’s your job to do whatever it takes to make the Church look as good as possible to others. When you make fun of people of your same faith, you’re only hurting the cause of Christianity.

I understand that sometimes we disagree about the “gray areas,” and that’s perfectly okay—healthy even. But we as Christians must always caution ourselves to make sure we don’t sound haughty, condescending, or rude when we think it’s important enough to verbally disagree. This is especially true when disagreeing with someone on Facebook. For more thoughts on Facebook etiquette, please read this.

When I see another Christian make a stand with which I disagree, I try to remind myself that this person likely did so with a pure heart that wants nothing more than a home with God in heaven. It’s time we get ourselves out of the way so that we can see the big picture here. All that matters is helping others go to heaven. That’s it. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Before showing everyone how smart you are in a spirit of arrogance and spitefulness, ask yourself if you’re helping to accomplish that ultimate goal, or if you are just hurting feelings, assigning motives in the name of being right or just looking cool in order to fit in with your other self-righteous, arrogant friends.

I could talk all day long about this, but honestly, what’s the point when God said it so plainly:

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them…” –Matthew 7:12

“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”—Colossians 4:6

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building  others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” –Ephesians 4:29

“But in your hearts, revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” –I Peter 3:15

“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” –I Corinthians 1:10

So some of the words we need to keep in mind before we express ourselves are as follows: Gracious. Seasoned. Wholesome. Helpful. Building others up according to their needs. Beneficial. Gentle. Respectful. United with your brethren in Christ.

See, it’s not about me. It doesn’t really matter whether my opinion is the correct one. What does matter is that I do what God says, I strive to go to heaven, and bring as many people as I possibly can with me. Let’s all keep that in mind before we bring our points of view to the table. I don’t care how out of style the phrase is—we all need to constantly ask before speaking or acting—What would Jesus do?

May your words be sweeter this week than last week, and may you ever be growing stronger in your relationship with God. That’s truly all that matters!