Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Life of Quiet Sacrifice

To hear my wife tell it, she was called to be a pastor's wife. Belinda is a pastor's daughter and knows the hardships and challenges of life in the ministry. Her father never had the opportunity to lead a very large congregation. He supported a family of seven children on tomato farming and carpentry while preaching in a variety of small, mostly out-of-the way churches from Texas to South Carolina. One would have thought a talented young lady would have been dying to get away from those struggles to a better life. But not Belinda. She always wanted to be a pastor's wife, and looked forward to it. The thing that impresses me most is that she has never changed her mind. And let's face it, she's had lots of reasons to change her mind. Like countless other pastors and their families, we have gone from one unenviable situation to another. Our ministry income has been small - even minuscule - by comparison with other pastors. That has meant my wife having to be employed outside the home to shore up our income and supply health insurance that most of our churches could not afford. Neither of us wanted her to work outside the home, but the Lord has provided many of our needs that way, so she has carried on without complaint. Thankfully, my wife is not alone in her attitude. Multitudes of pastors' wives go about their business with a similar spirit every day. theirs is a life of quiet sacrifice. They do not gather the public attention so often given to their husbands and prefer instead to stay in the shadows. They make routine sacrifices every day and find ways to make a little go a long way. They willingly accept less that others may have more. But there are other challenges and difficulties unique to the wife of a pastor. Some churches assume the pastor's wife will take on certain church responsibilities just because she is, well, the pastor's wife. One well meaning gentleman reflected that presumption when he asked me "Does your wife pastor the church with you?" I replied, "No, she takes care of me, and that's the way she likes it." He was surprised. My wife has had to sit quietly and endure unjust criticism aimed at her husband. She has remained silent and supported me in prayer when she knew I hurt, and that I, in turn, was hurting for her. She has had to be strong when I was weak. Belinda has been strong for our children when she was not well and I could not be there. She has done it all and yet to this day she still wants to be the pastor's wife. The only complaint I ever heard was when she wished she could spend more time with me at church. Perhaps someone reading this is the pastor of a small congregation and the husband of a wife who goes about her business in much the same way. They take care of both the home and ourselves, and we would be lost without them. The pastor's wife is the unsung hero under the pastor's roof. Right now, I have to hurry and publish this post because my wife is coming to meet me in a few minutes for lunch - one of our few opportunities in the week to be together for lunch - and I shouldn't be late. Do you think?

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