Combat the Lies & Find Purpose in Your Role as a Pastor’s Wife
Trying to shove down the frustration that’s growing inside me, I turn my back on the evidence of breakfast—scattered like debris from an explosion on every surface of my kitchen. I’m barking orders like a drill sergeant as I cross the landmine of hot wheels cars, discarded pajamas, and the dog.
Find your shoes.
Go potty one more time.
Grab your water bottle.
Sit by the door and wait for me.
I shuffle us all out to the car, throw diaper bags into the front seat, buckle everyone up, shut the doors a bit too hard, sit behind the steering wheel, and glance at the clock on the dashboard. A four-letter word—that’s not PG-13 but not something I want my four-year-old using—escapes my lips. I forgot to grab my Bible. But we’re running late for church, so I’ll just have to use my phone. I tell the boys we won’t have time to find Daddy in the student building before they have to go to their class. I promise donuts if they don’t throw a fit and stay beside me while I get them checked in at the Preschool hallway. By the time I make it to service, I’m exhausted. And it’s barely 9am.
On Sunday mornings, when I’m going to church alone, sometimes sitting by myself in worship, I feel the nudge of resentment toward my husband’s job. “How nice it would be to all come to church together in the morning,” I think. Usually, this nudge is easily ignored and replaced with a swell of pride as I watch my husband teach God’s Word to teenagers, welcome new families, or pray over our congregation. As I lead a small group of 7th-grade girls, I feel a sense of partnership—we really are in this together. We’re parenting our kids and carrying out the ministry we believe God called us to.
But then the week drags on and that nudge of resentment won’t leave me alone. It pushes and pokes, leaving behind a tender bruise as I glorify his job and minimize my own.
Please tell me I’m not the only one who battles this nudge of resentment. I know it’s not pretty to admit. I mean, I love Jesus! I love ministry! I love my spouse! But there are some days when it just feels plain hard.
If we’re not careful, we can believe the enemy’s lie that our life is less important, less fun, or less fulfilling simply because we don’t have Pastor in front of our name. We can let him convince us that we have been sidelined by God because our job is not clearly celebrated as Kingdom-work. When these lies get louder, our thoughts turn inward. And soon, we are unintentionally comparing everything we do (or don’t get to do) to our husband’s job.
We start to have thoughts like this:
I am lonely, but he gets to work with people he likes.
My days are repetitive and mundane, but his days are fulfilling.
No one is pouring into me, but he gets to be discipled every week.
I’m stuck at home with the kids, but he gets to go to camp/conferences/fun events/staff lunches.
I can barely focus on my quiet time, but he gets paid to study the Bible.
My job doesn’t have a lasting impact, and his job does, so he must matter more to God.
As I type out these statements, I recognize them as a ridiculous tactic the enemy uses to drive a wedge in my marriage and silence the calling God placed on my life. However, on a random Sunday morning, these thoughts can flutter back into my mind—especially if I’m too focused on myself.
A Renewed Purpose
In John 3:33, John the Baptist says this about Jesus: “He must become greater, I must become less.”
This is not an effort to make ourselves small but an emphasis on making much of the Lord. When we make Jesus a big deal daily, we set aside our own wants and needs. Then, as Jesus takes up more space in our hearts and minds, we have a greater capacity to care about the things God cares about—namely, other people. We notice that our compassion for others grows along with our desire to serve our husbands and our church.
By focusing on ourselves and what our life is lacking, two things happen. One, we minimize the calling God has placed on our lives, and two, we miss an opportunity to encourage our husbands, and partner with them in ministry.
We forget that God is with us right here, right now. He has not sidelined you. In fact, He has a unique purpose for you today. You are called to ministry, too. You are doing Kingdom-work when you take care of your children, encourage a colleague, help a coworker, talk to your neighbor, and pray for your friends. God has called you to something, just like He called your husband. Don’t miss it simply because you’re not employed by the local church.
When you and I think inwardly and only see what’s in front of us, we forget the mental, emotional, and spiritual toll vocational ministry has on our husbands. We can unintentionally isolate our husband when we forget that his work is hard, too. The enemy is attacking him, just like he’s attacking us. Honestly, the enemy wants nothing more than to destroy your husband’s ministry, steal his joy, and kill his character. So, what if you went to war on behalf of your husband? What if you prayed fiercely and consistently for him and his ministry?
Going To Battle
Here are a few ideas of ways that you can pray specifically for your husband:
● Pray that his ministry would thrive.
● Pray that he would have a clear vision of what God wants for him and the people he’s leading.
● Pray that God would guard his heart and mind.
● Pray that God will give him discernment to recognize the enemy’s lies and the strength to fight them.
At the end of the day, we can take the spotlight off ourselves and put it on him. We can become great question-askers and listeners. We can find out how we can take part in his ministry, shoulder a burden, and celebrate the things God is doing in him and through him. We can offer advice if it’s needed but always provide encouragement. We can remind him of the Truth when he needs to hear it. We can show up and serve alongside him, remembering that we are called to this, too.
May we remember that our role supporting and serving alongside our husbands matters deeply—to the Lord and the men we love. May we carry it out with grace. selflessness, and joy.
Callie Clayton writes to encourage others (and remind herself) that it’s possible to experience God right where you are. She enjoys teaching the Bible to teenagers, having good conversation over meals she didn’t cook, and baking all the chocolate desserts. Embracing her role as a boy-mom to three little ones, she and her husband are worn out, but loving the adventure of parenthood.