Cindy - Minister's Wife

I come from a family of nominal Christians. As I grew in “church life,” I began to hear the term “called to the ministry” being used to describe everyone from missionaries to pastors, but I never had heard the term “calling” being used in reference to a minister’s wife or to the life of every follower of Christ.

I accepted Christ as a child, at about age seven. I really didn’t receive any mentoring or discipleship until my teenage years. It was then that I began to understand what it truly meant to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

As a junior in high school, I began to feel God tugging on my heart but didn’t understand what that tug meant. I searched and prayed for understanding and finally came to the conclusion that God was “calling me to ministry.” At this point in my walk with Christ, I only knew a calling to be for a missionary or church staff person. I didn’t feel as though God was calling me to either of these ministries. However, I desired to be obedient and shared first with a youth worker and then with my church what God was stirring in my heart. Several staff from my church began encouraging me to “become” a youth minister or children’s minister. However, I felt confident God was not leading me in that direction.

At some point within that next year, God began to speak to me that I was to be a minister’s wife, though I had never heard of such a call. I immediately shared that with several peers as well as church leaders. I even met with my youth pastor’s wife. The response to my calling was negative, including remarks like, “You just want to be a pastor’s wife!” and “That’s not a ‘call to ministry’.” Even my own youth pastor’s wife did not feel her position was a calling. I quickly stopped sharing with others what God was speaking to me. However, I never doubted what I heard from my Father to be true. Yet even in the confidence of my calling I was unwilling to take any more criticism or lack of support.

I privately began trying to determine what this call really meant. It was not until approximately four years later when I had a close friend in college blurt out one day, “You’re called to the ministry aren’t you! You’re called to be a minister’s wife, aren’t you!” that I began to feel validation from the Christian world of my calling. My response to this person (who was also called to the ministry as a church staff position) was a timid and cautious, “yes.” He began to encourage me immediately and affirm this call on my life. I then shared with him my journey, and he gave me names of others we mutually knew in order for me to seek answers and encouragement.

For me, my calling to be a minister’s wife has several aspects. One of the biggest calls God placed in me was that I was to create a safe haven for my husband and family. The vocational ministry requires so much that I could tell just by watching other church staff families that a safe haven for such a family was needed. My role was not to be involved in every activity and lead every possible event in the ministry. My role was to be a support, or help-mate, to my husband. I do this in different ways, depending on the circumstance. Sometimes, I am not involved physically or even present. Other times it may mean I have an actual role/position/title in the ministry event. It is a constantly changing ministry for me. I must continually, prayerfully analyze how I might best fulfill my basic calling of creating a safe haven for my husband. It is important to understand that not every minister’s wife lives out her calling as I have. God uniquely crafts each of us with the gifts and talents needed to live out what He has called us to do-not every call is the same. However, I feel strongly that every minister’s wife must understand they are called to the ministry of being a help-mate to their minister husband.

I have had opportunity to travel to many churches and talk with many ministry families. It is so evident to see a Family Called and a Family Not Called. In the families my husband and I have visited where the wife knows she is called to the ministry, ministry may be difficult and stressful, but the calling protects from resentment and bitterness. In families where the wife doesn’t feel called, the ministry is the enemy. It eventually begins to affect their marriage and the overall effectiveness of the ministry. It destroys. I fully understand that when I am distant in my relationship with my Father and begin to see myself becoming jealous of our ministry and the time it takes from our family.