Memories of a Church Planter’s Wife – Part 3: The Perfect Pastor’s Wife
As I shared earlier, my husband and I planned on raising support and spending several months and years in preparation to start a church in Corpus Christi. The Lord changed those plans, and within two weeks, we went from future church planters on deputation to pastor and pastor’s wife. My husband and I were both twenty-five at the time: the age of most of our congregation’s grandchildren. I remember feeling so intimidated by the thought of filling the role of pastor’s wife to the sweet members of our church. They had lived so much life and experienced so many things that I couldn’t begin to assume how I could offer anything in the way of spiritual counsel or encouragement. Some of them had experienced serious illness, the loss of a spouse, war, broken marriages, and the loss of a child. They had also experienced amazing things in their lives. One man stood with Lester Roloff in his legal battles against the state of Texas.
I determined that I would “figure out” how to be the best pastor’s wife I could possibly be to them. They deserved my best effort. In fact, they deserved the perfect pastor’s wife. I mentally began creating a list of characteristics of this perfect pastor’s wife. As I came across books or blogs written by pastor’s wives, I continued to add to my list. As our church grew – and we had people move in from all over the country – they would often share about their previous churches and the different programs their church had, or things that they appreciated about their previous pastor and pastor’s wives. I mentally added these things to my list as well. I remember one single girl that joined our church tell me that she used to pop in unannounced and eat dinner with her former pastor and pastor’s wife during the week. My husband was very thankful that I did NOT add this one to my list.
Every year our church would hold a winter revival meeting. The second year we were blessed to have Dr. Raymond Barber as our speaker. At that time Bro. Barber had been in the ministry for over 50 years. His wife traveled with him, and I was SO excited to spend time with her and glean from the wisdom and advice she had to share as a seasoned pastor’s wife. We met for dinner at Cracker Barrel the night before our revival began, and as we were seated at our table, I wasted no time in asking my question,
“If you could give one piece of advice to a young pastor’s wife, what would it be?” She smiled, and I just knew that she had the secret that would help me be the perfect pastor’s wife.
“Well,” she said, “the role of a pastor’s wife is not really mentioned in the Bible. So your job is just to be the best wife to your husband that you can be, and the best mom to your children.”
I was speechless. I think I just smiled and nodded because I had a long list of other questions to ask about how to be the perfect pastor’s wife, but none of them were relevant any longer.
I spent the next several weeks diving into the Bible for myself to see what God’s Word had to say. Obviously that should have been the first place I looked, but I am ashamed to say it wasn’t. What I found was so freeing. I found that although the Bible didn’t give requirements or qualifications for a pastor’s wife, it clearly outlined my role as a wife and mother. The unattainable role that I had created of the perfect pastor’s wife no longer weighed on me. I thought perfection was found through putting on amazing mother-daughter banquets, or taking meals to the sick, or being a wise spiritual counselor to the women in our church. Those things certainly aren’t wrong, but they aren’t things that I HAVE to do to just because other pastor’s wives do them.
My most important job is to be a wife to my husband, who also happens to be a pastor. Yes, many of the things that I do to help him are ministry related, but I am not doing them to meet others expectations or to reach a self-imposed standard of perfection, I’m doing them to help my husband and ultimately to serve the Lord.
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Mrs. Aimee Atwood is wife to Jason Atwood, who pastored in Corpus Christi, TX, for 13 years. God used the Atwood family to establish a thriving local church. God moved the Atwood family to Santa Clara in 2019. They are heavily involved in training the next generation for Christ.