Tuesday, October 2, 2007

She's Just Like Me

By Susan Frantz Belisle

October is Clergy Appreciation month. Why not take this opportunity to support and encourage your pastor’s wife?

If you are like most women, you need a little encouragement every now and then. There is a very special woman in your life that especially needs your support and encouragement. She’s your Pastor’s wife, and just like you, she needs to be loved, honored, and appreciated.

October is designated as Clergy Appreciation Month by several different Christian organizations. Indeed, Pastors need to be recognized and appreciated during the month of October as well as throughout the year. The Bible says we should give honor to whom honor is due. (Roman 13:7) Blessings will come to those who follow this admonition from the Apostle Paul.

As you think of ways to honor your Pastor this October, be certain to recognize and honor his wife. Regardless of what specific roles she may fulfill within your church, she is your Pastor’s partner in ministry. She is also your spiritual leader and carries a tremendous burden for the ministry of your church. She too needs to be encouraged and honored during Clergy Appreciation Month. So here are some practical ways in which you can encourage her as you think of your PASTOR and his wife this October.

PRAY for your Pastor’s wife. She needs your prayers daily. Pray for her health, her family, her spiritual well-being, and her ministry. Ask her if she has specific needs that you can pray about. Call her, send a card or tell her that you are praying for her. If you can commit to on-going prayer for her, offer to be her prayer partner. More than likely, she is already praying for you. Your Pastor’s wife would be delighted to know that you are also praying for her. Perhaps you already are, but be sure to let her know that you often pray for her. This will encourage her greatly.

AFFIRM her value as a person. Tell your Pastor’s wife that you appreciate the many ways in which she supports her husband and your church. Although she may serve in the “shadow” of her husband or “behind the scenes”, she is laboring faithfully for the Lord. Try to be specific in complimenting her on the work that you see her do. Or just thank her for being a godly role model for the women of your church. Most importantly, tell her that she has made a difference in your life. This is one of her greatest desires.

SURPRISE her with an act of kindness. Your Pastor’s wife is always thinking of you! She makes phone calls, sends cards, plans and organizes events, gives of her time, and does so many other things with you in mind. Take the time to call her or send her a card thanking her for all that she does. Send her flowers, take her to lunch, or give her a small gift. The monetary value of what you do is not important. She will be touched that you thought of her, and your act of kindness will brighten her day. It will give her the motivation to keep on keeping on.

TAKE the time to understand her. As the saying goes, “Walk a mile in her shoes.” Unless you have been a Pastor’s wife, it is difficult to understand the pressures and demands that she experiences daily. She carries a heavy burden for the spiritual well-being of those at her church. She cares deeply about the hurts of others. She wants her church to make an incredible difference for the Kingdom. She works with the zeal of our friend Martha who labored in the kitchen trying to please her Lord. Allow and encourage her to serve in her area of giftedness rather than serving according to the needs of your church or the expectations of others.

OFFER to help her in whatever way you can. Besides being a wife, mother and perhaps a grandmother, her role as your Pastor’s wife’s is endless and never done. She would be surprised and thrilled to have you offer to help her when she’s working on something at church. Better yet, call her and ask if there is anything you can do to help her. Think of a small task that you know she is responsible for and ask her if you can take care of that for her. She’s probably not accustomed to people offering to help her so it may take some time before she can think of a task you can help her with. She may be used to giving and not receiving, but continue asking her how you can help lighten he load.

REMEMBER that she’s human. She’s just like you. She has struggles, heartaches, disappointments, doubts, and fears… just like you. She makes mistakes and is sometimes disappointed with herself…just like you. She is seeking a closer walk with Christ…just like you. She wants to be loved and accepted…just like you. Although she is your Shepherd’s spouse, she is not exempt from human frailty and weaknesses. Extend grace and forgiveness to her when she disappoints you or doesn’t meet your expectations. Support and defend her to those who may be critical at times. Love her with the love of Christ. Treat her as you would want to be treated if you served in the same role of a Pastor’s wife. Most importantly, remember…she’s just like you!


Lauren at Faith Fuel! said...

Excellent, Susan!
Having been a pastor's wife, and now not in the ministry "full time" I so appreciate the opportunity for people to get to know me just for who I am. That was the hardest part about being a pastor's wife- how much vulnerability could I reveal without compromising privacy and protection for our family's needs? Your pastor's wife IS just like you- and she struggles to fit in, human as she is, and overcoming- as we all can when we are "in" Christ!

Jenn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenn said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this article. Wonderful insight and perspective, Susan! Being in full time ministry and working closely with the senior pastor's wife, I always want to honor and pray for her.

Pastor RC said...

Such a wonderful article! Susan has given wonderful insight and practicle suggestions that will encourage your pastor's wife. As a Pastor myself, my wife is one of the greatest tools and gifts God has given me to fulfill his calling. It blesses me when she is blessed.
Susan keep up the great work!

Kym Lamb said...

Thank you for the practical example of how to be "Jesus with Skin" as my daughter's preschool teacher says!