It is a beautiful Sunday morning. She has been up for a few hours to ensure a sweet time with the Lord and to have plenty of time to slip the casserole into the oven. She wakes the little ones with a chirp of, “This is the day the Lord has made!” The kids dress easily in their matching ensembles she laid out the night before. She sips her coffee and adds the finishing touches to the Sunday school lesson she has prepared. She kicks off her slippers in exchange for her cute red pumps as her children happily skip to the car, bibles and notebooks in hand. She laughs as she nearly leaves the house without the meal she made for the new mommy in the congregation. Where is her head today? They arrive early and joyfully enter the church service with a smile on their faces and a song in their hearts. And then…the pastor’s wife pulls up.
In stark contrast to the lady in the red shoes, the pastor’s wife has been up for hours, trying to wrangle her four children into the car. She is running late as usual, and is yelling to the older children not to forget their Cheerios that she threw into a baggie. She looks down and realizes that the little one has on mismatched shoes. Again. Exhaustion overwhelms her as she was up most of the night praying for the strength to love the lady who keeps sending her husband emails about his lack of care of the senior saints. She is greeted by the cheerful choir director who hands her this week’s music octavo. She puts on the rehearsed plastic smile that comes so naturally now as she feels the weight of her inadequacy cover her like a cloud.
Sound familiar? Are you a pastor’s wife who is at the end of herself? Sweet sisters, Christ understands and empathizes with all you go through. He understands being in a family that is scrutinized and judged. He cares for you as you rarely ever get to sit with your husband on a Sunday morning. He understands being betrayed by a close friend, and knows your hesitancy to trust others. Your Brother knows and feels all you go through as you serve the church. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. ” (Hebrews 4:15) He identifies with you as you seek to lay your life down for a people that seem ungrateful. He prays for you and promises to give you the strength you need to endure. All of these unique trials will press you further into the love and acceptance of your Saviour.
Know that who you truly are has nothing to do with what your husband does. Who you married is not who you are. You are a cherished, precious daughter of the King. You are a woman who has value, not because of your husband, but because Christ chose to set his love on you. Your righteousness does not depend on whether you can play the piano, or make a delicious casserole, or teach in children’s ministry. Your right standing before God has been completely and unalterably secured forever by the lover of your soul. All of the weaknesses and inadequacies in your personality were designed especially by your Heavenly Father. They do not hold your husband back or hurt his ministry, they point the church to the beauty of a Saviour who uses weakness and inadequacy and sin to display unspeakable brilliance of his power and mercy.
Hear and believe the words of Psalms 139:13-17 –
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me”
So rest, rest in His tender compassions for you. Serve knowing that he served you with his life, his all. Love remembering how you have been loved with an everlasting love.
Jessica Thompson is the author of Exploring Grace Together: 40 Devotionals for the Family and the coauthor (with Elyse Fitzpatrick) of Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus. She is a wife, a mother of three, and a member of an Acts 29 church.