This post isn’t about me. I simply have such a burden for pastor’s wives because I obviously know the load they carry. I hope this will be read with the heart in which it is written – to encourage you about how you might encourage your sister in Christ.
Are you aware that most pastors and their wives experience loneliness, isolation and discouragement during their ministry lives? The role that members play can be a huge encouragement.
I shared with you on Wednesday that a dear friend and sister in Christ, Hope Carter, passed away this week. I’ve had many people who have encouraged me over the years, and Hope would definitely be one of them! If she could speak, she could give some great lessons on how to encourage your pastor’s wife, but since she’s gone to heaven, let me share what she did for me that meant so much and impacted my life and ministry.
- Care – While we came nearly twenty years ago to our church to shepherd her, she cared for me when I was hurting,
disappointed, and lonely. She saw things that she knew were difficult in ministry and she would speak to me about it, rather than ignoring it. She took the time to listen and to pray. Take a look to notice – does your pastor’s wife seem burdened, tired, lonely? How could you show care to her? Reminder her that you’re praying for her. Also, pray with her.
Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
2. Generosity – She generously provided for our family, particularly our girls. When we were praying and watching God provide college funds, the Lord used this dear woman to provide for the wants and desires of our college girl’s hearts. I cannot tell you how many times she would slip a $20 bill into their hands when they came home from college for a weekend. She gave the little blessings we were unable to provide. I am so grateful.
Not everyone can give away monetary gifts, but ask the Lord what you could share with your pastor’s family that would be a blessing. It might be the gift of pet sitting while they’re on vacation, time in a vacation home you own, or countless other things. Ask the Lord to show you.
3. Thoughtfulness – No birthday, anniversary or holiday passed that she didn’t remember her pastor’s family, including us in her own family’s celebration, or stopping by with a gift or card. It wasn’t the gift I needed or even wanted, but to be remembered was so touching. She also knew how many years we’d been serving at the church and was always careful to mention it and recognize it. It’s easy for a pastor’s family to feel forgotten, but that didn’t happen while Hope was here!
Do you know when you Pastor’s wife’s birthday is? Why not put it on your calendar and send a card or surprise her in some small way? Don’t wait for Pastor Appreciation month to recognize their years of service – find another time, perhaps the anniversary of them coming to your church , to let them know you’re thankful for their ministry.
4. Hospitality Hope baked bread. Her beautiful breads loaves, stirred up weekly showed her care for us and many others. As I watched her use the abilities God had given to her, I was reminded that there is more than one way to show hospitality. She also had us in her home often for meals. She and her husband would invite us out for ice cream or for a spontaneous picnic in the middle of the week. Such gracious hospitality was a blessing. This is becoming a lost art/blessing. I’m thankful for the way she blessed us by being hospitable.
If you’re not comfortable having your pastor’s family in your home, do what the Carter’s did many times, and initiate a picnic or a meet-up at an ice cream shop or restaurant.
5. Faithfulness – Hope was so faithful to Church, attending every activity and service until her health no longer allowed it. She missed being there for the services, because her heart was there. I witnessed her love for God’s House and His people as even in her absence she wanted to know if this one or that one still attended faithfully. It’s probably true for every pastor and his wife to go home from church and take a mental roll call! We miss our church members when they’re gone! Hope was so dependable and consistent. If she was gone, something was terribly wrong! What a blessing to have faithfulness among the members.
Do you regularly miss church services and activities? Your presence encourages your pastor and his wife like you can not believe! Be there and be all there when you’re there!
6. Evangelism – How blessed I was to witness her burden for the lost, Hearing her call out family member’s names to me, I saw her love and concern that they come to Christ in salvation. The church is only going to grow through evangelism. Her desire to witness was a wonderful blessing. Even during her last days, she was concerned for those who cared for her. Her whispers of, “I hope she knows the Lord!” was a statement that convicted my silence.
With whom are you sharing the Gospel? Are you inviting others to your church services and activities? Ask the Lord to put someone in your path!
7. Interest – I’m thankful for her love and concern for my family, always bringing up each name and inquiring of their welfare. She was genuinely interested in each one of my family., including my extended family out of state. Though we had no immediate family in Tennessee, I never felt completely without familial love while she was living. Her care for us was like a mother to Dale and me and a grandmother to our girls.
Do you know what’s going on in your pastor’s wife’s life? Do you ask? Do you listen? Do you pray for her and with her about her burdens?
Hope Carter was the hands and feet of Jesus. Many times it seemed she was a ministering angel. How grateful I am! Now she is with the Lord and will one Day receive the reward of her ministry. If her impact in my life is any indication, I’m pretty sure her reward will be significant.
I pray that Hope’s encouragement to me will challenge you to serve your pastor’s wife. Pastor’s wives are not some special group of people, but the load can be great and little blessings like Hope exemplified can give just the encouragement needed to keep on keeping on.
Why not refresh your pastor’s wife with some encouragement.