The church pastor’s wife can have stereotypical expectations of herself, but she has the freedom to not follow those expectations.
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. ~ I Peter 4:10
READING: I Peter 4:7-11
One of the biggest blessings of church planting ministry didn’t dawn on me until about five years into our first church. In a church plant, more so than in the vast majority of established churches, the church planter’s wife has freedom to be herself and serve the Lord the way God has wired her.
For the longest time I didn’t realize that. I brought a head full of baggage and stereotypical expectation into our first church. I felt inadequate to measure up to that ideal of a regal, extroverted lady who teaches Sunday school, runs the Women’s committee and plays the piano. Yikes!
Periodically, awkwardly shy and up to my elbows in tasks that didn’t fit that stereotype, I’d express my chagrin to this woman or that in the church, apologizing for not measuring up as a pastor’s wife. It took me a long time to notice that they always responded with a blank stare. “What on earth do you mean? What are you supposed to be doing? We love you just the way you are.”
For most of the women in our church plant, I was the only pastor’s wife they had ever known; many were brand new Christians. (Don’t you just LOVE that about new churches?) They had no expectation of me other than what they saw me do. Additionally, church plants tend to give everyone grace to start small and “grow into” their spiritual gifts.
One happy day, I gratefully threw off that pastor’s wife stereotype once and for all. I can’t be that mythical lady. But, with God’s help, I can be myself.
Jesus, Help us to give our brand new Christians a great first impression of what pastors and pastor’s wives are like. Amen.
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