Being a mother, housekeeper, peacemaker, friend, fixer of all things, nurse on call, wisdom giver, teacher, volunteer, servant, and pastor’s wife can be so overwhelming that it is exhausting. Sounds like something unreal, right? It’s superhuman! So how do you find balance in all of this when the eyes of others often expect you to be the example?
I remember volunteering for the nursery when I had four young children and later thinking, why did I do that? All I do every day is care for children. So I stopped. Guess what? There were loving grandmothers and other women who were eager to hug on and love those kids.
First, remember, that God always wants you to be you.
Others may have boundless energy, unbelievable giftedness in many areas, perfect children and a husband that never embarrasses them from the pulpit. (But just writing this sentence makes me laugh, since we know that’s not true.) However, the reality is that people are watching us and, unfortunately, they do have expectations.
Here’s what I have learned along the way:
Ask your husband to protect you.
Sometimes as a pastor’s wife we need protection from all the responsibilities and expectations coming from others in the church/ministry. With boundaries in place, you will have the freedom to be who you are, serve where you like and not feel guilty if you just need to be still and quiet at home!
Focus on what God has given you as a Pastor’s Wife.
Your home, your family and maybe ministry. There is no doubt that each of us has God given gifts and talents. There are many ways to demonstrate those gifts without being a champion for the ministry. No matter what you can always love and pray for the church.
I believe the greatest thing we as pastors’ wives can do to comfort, support and serve is to pray for our husbands and those who work with him. (And yes, I do know that even having time to pray without falling asleep is a problem.) Guess what? God knows your heart and the words before they’re even spoken.
Take time for you.
It’s hard to give yourself away consistently and then have anything left for yourself and those you love the most. This happens for a lot of women and a pastor’s wife especially. Don’t feel guilty for carving out some time for you to do what you like (or to just sleep!)
At some point, your home will not be as demanding and you will have opportunity for any ministry outlet you would like.
Many years ago, a dear friend who was my grandmother’s age gave me some sage advise.
“Always be yourself. Don’t pretend. Just be you, a kind and gracious you, but not a doormat. Keep your family things first. God knows and honors your home. And don’t feel guilty about it. Your time to minister will come, and you already have a full-time ministry!”
Pray for someone to come along side you to pray for you, love on you and listen to you.
And most importantly…
Your spiritual life is not dependent on the guy in the pulpit that you know all too well.
Go to a Bible study that you aren’t teaching. Find another pastor that you enjoy listening to and learn from him. When my children were finally off to school, I would sit and read for about 10 minutes, pray and then listen to a pastor I enjoyed as I cleaned. Before that, when they were all at home, my prayer life and my devotional time was scarce. And guess what, I still heard God and so will you.
God has given you the opportunity to serve Him alongside of your husband. Just remember to be you. Because you are the best you that God can use to make an impact.
Susan Malphurs is a wife, mother, and grandmother. (@susanmalphurs) She enjoys reading, exploring the “foodie” options in Dallas, TX, and doing anything that involves her grandchildren.