Thirty years ago, when I said “I do” at the altar, I knew that I was also committing myself to coming alongside my husband as a pastor’s wife. Sometime during our dating years, he felt a strong call from the Lord to pursue full-time vocational ministry. Though I wavered some in my faith during my college years, our engagement was a time for me to recommit and say “Yes” to the Lord, wherever He would lead me.
Seminary did not fully prepare us for the emotional ups and downs of ministering to people at their best or worst times. Although we had many occasions to celebrate, we also experienced grief, sadness, and disappointment as we witnessed church members struggle in their lives and faith walks.
Having served alongside my husband for 23 years of full time ministry, I can see how the Lord has protected us, strengthened us, equipped us, and even granted us supernatural joy and peace to sustain us through the ups and downs.
Certain habits, spiritual disciplines, and thought patterns can make a difference in being able to stay the course. Here are some suggestions for young ministry wives as they prepare for the journey ahead:
Focus on gratitude. Consider writing a list of what you are grateful for each day. You will be amazed to see how the circumstances you’ve been fretting about actually have some positives.
Praise God often for the privilege of serving alongside your husband in ministry. Seek out opportunities to disciple others and join in the building of God’s kingdom.
Seek out mentors and ministry friendships. Connect with women who have positive attitudes in their ministry roles. Read books by or spend time with those who have embraced their calling and learned to find joy in their circumstances.
Prepare for the inevitable pain you will feel when church members leave and join a different fellowship. Give your pain to the Lord as an act of worship and redirect your energies toward those He has entrusted you to shepherd.
Be alert to different life stages and phases of ministry. Sometimes you will need to say no to outside commitments so you have time to disciple your children and manage your household. Other days your priority will be ministry focused. Ask the Lord to grant you wisdom to ‘order your days aright,’ as the psalmist prayed.
Remember that ultimately you are seeking the Lord’s approval. You and your husband will not be able to please everyone, but through prayer and seeking counsel from godly mentors, you will be able to make wise decisions.
Find ways to involve your children in ministry. They will gain a sense of purpose and mission and will cultivate their gifts from an early age.
There is joy in the journey, especially when we set our sights on what is eternal. Thank the Lord daily that God has chosen you to carry out His purposes in this world.
Karen Mauer is a guest writer for Just Between Us.