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Defying and Defining the Roles

Sitting at work…thinking about what I needed to do for the church, the phone calls, the update to social media, the next event details, church growth, the sick, the unhappy…

Sitting in church or small group meeting…checking my work emails, thinking about what I needed to accomplish, my response to that email, the deadline I must meet, what I did not get done…

Sitting in front of my home computer…paying bills, trying to remember what homework my son had, what teacher I was going to contact and why, how can I get the kids to learn responsibility, and make Jesus the most important person ever…

Driving to work…calling my mom, calling her doctors, making appointments, financial decisions…How do you feel today, Mom?

Oh yeah, husband is calling…I wonder, is it life or church? When was the last time we had a date? And one more thing, how is it he has no energy for me, or the kids? However, when it comes to, well, you know, sex, he’s the Energizer Bunny?

I think you get the picture and, perhaps, you are, smack dab, in the middle of it all. The balancing act of wife, mom, pastor’s wife, event coordinator, caregiver and overall SUPERWOMAN!

This would be so much easier if I could just concentrate on one thing, or even two things. Ok, how about three?!

There were three vocations that I did not want my husband to have: a preacher, a musician, or a salesman. I’d lived that life as a child or seen others in those roles. They did not look appealing. So, if you know me, you realize I somehow missed my own memo, but let’s just say when Ken (or, Kenny, as I knew him growing up) and I began to date, he was working in the accounting office at Sears. An accountant sounded perfect and I was now ok with the musician part, just so he didn’t do it for a living. (Bahahaha, that still makes me laugh.)

One evening I came home from work and could tell Ken had been crying. Wondering if someone had died or something quite traumatic had taken place, he told me, “God has called me to preach and into full-time ministry.” Now I’m the one crying! What?!! No, that’s not in my contract. "Do you know how hard that is?!" These words and Berean studies set us on the Music Minister staff positions path and eventually led to being the senior pastor of a small church in the DFW metroplex.

During those years of trying to fit in with an already established staff, determining the personality of the senior pastor’s wife, and that whole dynamic was quite challenging, especially if you are working a full-time job while everyone else is at the church making it all happen. You are not quite sure if you are missing out or playing it safe. However, (even though my friends warned me and I may not have grasped it) becoming the senior pastor’s wife of a small church was probably the most challenging. There is no staff and you are doing it all with little support. Now, everyone is looking at you, how you act, do you work?, are your kids well-behaved?, and will you rock our Women’s Ministries group?

I have held a full-time job for most of our married life, with a few “mom breaks” in between, so it wasn’t like having a full-time job was the show-stopper. The show-stopper was the burden (and yes, for lack of a better word, burden) of “carrying” not only my husband and kids, but now all of these people. And a lot of the time, I was now juggling all of this while I was behind a desk trying to execute the plans of “The Boss” (no, not my husband).

There are many reasons, especially in these times, why a woman feels working outside of the home is a must and, if anyone understands that, I do. If you are a pastor’s wife that does not work outside of the home, please take this as a reminder for what some of your church leaders, staff pastor’s wives, and volunteers may be facing at this time.

These three things are what come to mind first:

  • Pressure (“Who gets the most me?”)

  • Guilt (being late, not at every event, funerals, etc.)

  • Exhaustion (“If I just stay up later, and get up earlier, I can get it all done.”)

Please remember: you are not just putting it out there for man’s approval--but God’s approval.

Determine to not allow your roles in life to define you, but define the roles given to you. How?

  • Step 1: Exalt, celebrate, and rejoice in the Lord

  • Step 2: Search for, and then rely upon, the strength of the Lord

  • Step 3: Continually seek Him--read, listen, soak in His Word

  • Step 4: Recall the miracles you have seen (big, little, miniscule)

  • Step 5: Follow His guidelines, rules, and boundaries (1 Chron. 16:10-12 NLT)

Then, repeat. And repeat. And repeat again.

Let me add one more tidbit of my own opinion. If you do work outside of the home, choose to stay plugged in to your church in some area. Not only does it affect your husband and home, the impact on a church body can be detrimental otherwise. Romans 12:4,5 speak of the parts of the body and their special function. The touch of the healthy Pastor’s Wife is life-giving.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him 1 Tim. 1:12 NLT

Called to serve, devoted to His cause, and faithfully supporting others-- Barbie

Barbie Harris is a devoted daughter, ministry wife, and mother from Fort Worth, Texas who is also employed full-time at Daystar Television Network as the Senior Producer's Assistant. In all of her spare time, Barbie blogs at If I Were to Write a Book about life with two boys with special needs that she and her husband, Ken, adopted 15 years ago. Barbie holds down the fort while Ken travels full-time as a music associate with Chresten Tomlin Ministries.

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