Stress is not my worst enemy. It's not what makes me speak unkindly, act impatiently, or worry unnecessarily. Stress is not the culprit; sin is.
It is my idol-manufacturing heart. It is my inherent commitment to protecting myself, my comfort, my pride, my reputation, my investments.
It is me believing myself to be king of my own kingdom, rather than a subject in His.
Stress is the external pressure that reveals what is on the inside. Ministry can be messy and at times, stressful. I'm regularly convicted and confronted with what that pressure can squeeze out of me. Being a pastor's wife is ultimately not all that different from being a wife to any godly man. I've received much encouragement, through the years, from a book by Mary Somerville, a fellow pastor's wife, One with a Shepherd: The Tears and Triumphs of a Ministry Marriage.
I trust you will be encouraged as well from these highlighted truths from my copy:
On understanding your role as a pastor's wife:
The greatest ministry that you can have to your church is the provision of a home for their pastor where he can receive the rest and rejuvenation he needs to be able to serve effectively as their spiritual shepherd.
On coping with loneliness:
Why would we as pastors' wives be lonely? We are in the middle of the action. We are aware of everyone's lives yet sometimes we experience time of deep loneliness and even feelings of sadness and despair.
...Set your heart on His grace and magnificence. Think on all that He is for you and has doen for you. Confess the sin of putting your comfort and pleasure above everything else, including God Himself--making it the idol of your heart.
On guarding your ministry marriage:
You have the privilege of being your husband's greatest admirer. He probably gets many accolades from the people he serves. Hopefully he gets the most from his lifetime companion.
We must always keep in mind that our job is not to change our husbands or help them sove all the problems in the church--just love and respect them. I am not the voice of my husband's conscience.
On being a ministry mom:
Children sense hypocrisy...We don't have to be perfect parents. We just need to be willing to admit our mistakes to our children and ask for forgiveness when we are wrong. This shows them the genuineness of our walk with God.
On being one in purpose:
The life of the pastor or shepherd is a life totally devoted to meeting the needs of the sheep. We must be one with that purpose as wives. We need not be surprised that it is a life of sacrifice.
Whether you are a ministry wife, or a wife who ministers, be encouraged today to begin your ministry first by availing yourself of the great abundance of His grace. Let our marriages testify to Christ as we abide in Him.