When the wife doesn't "hear" the call...

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by JoyC, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. JoyC

    JoyC
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    I need some advice (please, bite your tongue if you want to berate me). My husband, who's in his fifties, believes strongly that he is being called to preach. He has felt this way for about fifteen years, and we've talked about it in the past. I think I've been his biggest obstacle.

    The problem is me. I'm active in church as best I can be. I have an incurable illness that is hard and expensive to treat and very debilitating. My mother is very ill and I'm responsible to see to her medical needs. My daughter is about to graduate college and enter graduate school and the stress is causing her asthma and other medical problems to flare. To top it all off, I'm having to stop medications because our insurance has changed and won't cover them or they're too expensive if they do. So I'm dealing with withdrawal too. To say I'm at the end of my rope is an understatement.

    I guess I'm not sure that my husband is hearing God or hearing pressure from the pulpit. I guess we all have times that we don't know if the Spirit is calling or it's just pressure. Then again, maybe I'm the only one that feels this way.

    I can't say that I've not wondered if God wants us to go into mission work in some poverty stricken part of the world since we both knew what poverty was here in America, but I certainly do not feel that I'm pastor's wife material. I do NOT want to live in that fish bowl.

    My husband isn't doing a great job reassuring me at this point as to what direction he sees God directing him, other than the surrendering part. He already teaches and works with children.

    I feel like a heel because of the way I feel. Does this happen to other wives, or am I alone in this?
     
  2. Rubato 1

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    You are not the only one to feel like this.

    A piece of advice I was given years ago that has come through for me many times is this: carefully, prayerfully, write a list of all the reasons you see to follow your husband, and all the reasons you see to refrain from that route. then compare the lists. I have often been suprised at the results. I wouldn't make the list a basis for descision, only a tool to help you 'think through' this major choice.

    I'm praying for you,

    R1
     
  3. exscentric

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    Fifteen years seems like quite a definite idea of calling.

    Your place is with your husband, it isn't optional to me - personal belief of course :thumbs:

    Have you considered all the problems might be God's prodding a move? Not that it is, but something to consider.

    Your frustration is totally real even though you don't know the ins and outs of it so keep praying and talking with your husband.

    God deals with problems that we turn over to Him, but often He waits till we decide that we will let Him.

    Some talk with your pastor or someone trusted might also give you some insight.

    Praying.
     
  4. just-want-peace

    just-want-peace
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    Hard to do, BUT when you decide that you don't have the answer, and that He alone can direct you, AND you relinquish control to Him, THEN you will feel a peace that "passes understanding" and can move on.

    Until then, nothing but chaos, confusion and misery.

    God bless you as you work thru this.
     
  5. TaterTot

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    The fish bowl aint that bad actually. Ask the Lord to show you His will for you, and for your husband. Ask Him to show your some scripture. He will do it. He is far bigger than any physical limitations or insurance issues. Yes, it's scary to surrender, but no place like it in the world!
     
  6. annsni

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    I am a pastor's wife who came to this role later in our relationship. My husband was a software engineer all these years but I always knew he'd be a pastor someday. So now, almost 23 years into our marriage, our life is in a very different place than when we first married and I'm nothing but thrilled about it.

    First off, I'd ask you if you are hesitating because you're questioning your husband's call to the ministry or are you hesitating because you're afraid? What kind of expectations do YOU have of a pastor's wife? Do you think that you have to be the one to run the women's ministry, teach, serve and do all sorts of things? Is that what God calls a pastor's wife to do every time that her husband is called too?

    My first advice would be for both you and your husband to commit to pray for a period of time - even fasting if needed - to seek God's will. If God is clearly calling your husband to the ministry, He is calling you too because you both are one flesh. He cannot be the pastor he needs to be without your love, support and encouragement.

    Next thing I'd do is to figure out what expectations you have for "pastor's wife" are and if they are realistic or your own thoughts on what a pastor's wife should be. Get into Scripture to see what a pastor's wife should be doing and you might be surprised. I'm not in the choir (not that we have one but I wouldn't be in one if we DID have one), don't do the ladies' Bible study, don't teach Sunday School or anything like that. I actually do a new mom's class (because that's close to my heart) and do the computer work for Sunday. A few other things here and there and that's it. God didn't gift me with a good voice or the ability to teach children other than my own. I also do not have the gift of administration so planning things is NOT the thing for me to do. LOL

    So basically, see if you're "not feeling the call" because of your own thoughts and fears (like Moses and his slow to speech thing), or if it's really that God is not calling you. I really feel strongly that if your husband's call is true, God IS calling you because He will not separate what He has joined.
     
  7. Tom Bryant

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    Joy,
    Thanks for being so transparent about your misgivings. You're not the only one.

    Ann has given you alot of great advice. Both you and your husband ought to talk to a pastor and his wife about this. The ministry is not easy, especially for a pastor's wife.

    I believe that when God clearly calls a husband He also clearly calls the wife also. Will be praying for you and your husband.
     
  8. chuck2336

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    As a pastor let me simpy add my amen to all the post here.

    PRAY PRAY and then PRAY some more.

    P - pray
    U - until
    S - something
    H - happens

    Just keep pushing, the Lord is faithful!
     
  9. Joe

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    We attend a Lutheran Church in our hometown once in a while because our good friend is the Pastor, and we know most everyone. He and his wife are close friends of ours. I ride with her sometimes too.

    Before joining a Baptist church, we were SDA. We were also close friends with the SDA Pastor and his wife until they moved. She attended church about twice a month and never volunteered/helped out. This wasn't a problem for them or anyone else in church that I know of. We were very involved at the time.

    Though we have been close friends with three pastor's wives, I have never heard of a Pastor's wife being treated any differently than any other church member. Fish bowl doesn't apply here imo. Remember, they are only married to the Pastor, that's all.

    We have Doctor's wives, Lawyer's wives, Social Worker's wives, Police Officer's wives etc...No one expects anything different from them than a Pastor's wife.

    All the Pastors wives seemed content with their husband's occupation, enjoyed church, and were very supportive. None of them attended Sunday School or a bible study during the week, and didn't exert themselves too much in helping out. All had their own jobs and identities.

    Actually the SDA Pastors wife missed church frequently, she didn't seem to enjoy it but who knows...I never asked her, doubt anyone else did either.

    Our Pastor's wife attends church on Sunday, nothing more. No bible study during the week, no Adult Sunday school though once in a while, she will volunteer.

    Unless there is scripture support for "Pastor's wife" which differs from being a biblical wife and mother, then I wouldn't worry too much. I'll pray for you.
     
    #9 Joe, Mar 26, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 26, 2008
  10. JoyC

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    Thanks for all the advice and prayers. I had an emergency yesterday and couldn't get back to repy before now.

    Joe, your words, "Unless there is scripture support for "Pastor's wife" which differs from being a biblical wife and mother, then I wouldn't worry too much", says it all. I'm to be no more nor less than what God expects of me anyway. That put it all into perspective for me.

    Thanks again, everyone!
     
  11. gb93433

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    I have some questions to ask:

    How many are living for Jesus Christ because of your life as a couple or has your husband discipled ion such a way that they are doing ministry.If your husband is not make disciples each year then he is doing little to reach others. If he is not making disciples now what makes him think that he will when he pastors and has to deal with the antagonists.

    The man who taught me carpenter work had discipled many people who went onto be missionaries, pastors and men and women who are making disciples. He was not pastor not a very good preacher but he loved God and was able otr make disciplers. He won more to Christ than any pastor of the church he attended. He was at the same church for 42 years. When he dies the church could not contain all of the people who were there. The city officails were there, Business shut down for the funeral. The service lasted for three hours with person after person telling of how he reached them. Many of use when we were younger wre invited to his home for lunch. It was not unusual for his wife to fix lunch for 20 or more about twice a month.

    3 Jn 4, "I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth."

    There is no greater joy than to know the people you have taught to walk with God and then they repeat the same thing with others.

    What can you and your husband do together as a couple? My wife loves discipling couples with me. She is a great complement to me.

    Sometime when you get a chance read http://www.bibleteacher.org/Dm118_8.htm
     
  12. abcgrad94

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    Joy, I've been there, done that and if you want to pm me, please feel free to do so. I fought my hubby tooth and nail about ministry for quite a while until the Lord convicted me and gave me peace about it.

    Being a pastor's wife is the hardest, most challenging thing God ever asked me to do and I will openly admit that it's not always easy or fun, but here's something someone once shared with me that really helped: God does not call the equipped, He equips those He calls.

    If God wants your husband to be a pastor, He will give (or teach you) everything you need for the task.
     
  13. jshurley04

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    Two things strike me:

    1. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is let go and let God do His work. It is hard to leave what we know and are comfortable with and step into the unknown. It boils down to how much are we going to actively trust God to take care of all our needs

    2. Just because your husband surrenders does not mean that you will be leaving for Africa in the morning. God may keep him there where he is at doing what he is doing, God just likes to see an honest and genuine willingness to do what He leads us to do. Once your husband surrenders, God may move the family or may keep you there.

    The hardest thing I did when my current church called me as the pastor was to not try to talk my wife into anything. I let God deal with her heart and I get the impression that He is trying to deal with yours. I would ask you, has God ever failed you yet in your life? Has He ever let you down and not cared for you and your family? Why would following His call on your family be any different.
     
  14. blackbird

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    I'm with Brother Tom on this one

    As a pastor----here is how I feel

    My marriage to my wife comes first------I am not married to preaching nor to the pastorate---I am married to my wife---I love her more than I love preaching and the pastorate

    I can quit preaching any time I want to------but I cannot quit being her husband

    I can leave the pastorate anytime I want-------I kinda figure that if God can raise up rocks and stones to become children of Abraham--then He's also fully capable of raising up someone else to preach---preachers are "a dime a dozen" but my wife's husband is priceless and is not replaceable

    So what is more precious to me??? My marriage or my ministry??

    What is more precious to me??? My wife or the ornery ole "Fart" of a deacon giving us each a bad time in ministry???

    Let your husband answer the questions above!!!!
     
  15. bapmom

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    Joy, can I go out on a limb here and guess that your real hesitation is something you hinted at in your OP? You feel inadequate to the task - I don't blame you.....your plate is full. But God doesn't give us only what we can handle, God gives us more than we can handle so we'll lean on Him, and then we find out that God is stretching us. I don't know any pastor's wife worth her salt who thinks she's 'arrived' and can handle the position on her own.

    Remember, God already called you to your ministry, and you answered that call when you said "I do" at the wedding. From that point on God calls your husband to do whatever He wants him to do, and your ministry never has to change. Your husband is your focus, given to you by God.

    If/when your husband does go into the ministry don't let what you think others expect of you take over in your head. Let your husband be the guide of what things you need to take part in. Maybe he'll want you to take over some areas, but maybe not - you are the pastor's wife, not the assistant pastor. :wavey:

    Praying for you!
    :godisgood:
     
  16. abcgrad94

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    Excellent advice, Bapmom. Part of feeling inadequate about ministry is because so many of us have an "ideal" of what a pw is supposed to be (or do, or think) and we don't think we measure up to that man made ideal. We have to remember what God expects from us, not people. In fact, I've found that people sometimes demand more than God does.
     
  17. Romten9

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    JoyC...Is there any reason to believe that your husband is a flake who starts projects and doesn't finish them? Is he constantly following one hair brained scheme after another? Is he always hearing God "tell" him to do odd things, and then it turns out badly? If so, then God will often speak to the wife, to reign in the husband.

    But, from what you have written, it doesn't sound like your husband.

    Can I just encourage you to have faith, submit, and follow your husband? You are in the perfect spot, for God to do very exciting, wonderful things in your life. You see, God often must bring some of us to the end of our rope. He lets us exhaust our own capabilities in managing our lives, so that we may finally turn to Him, and give Him our burdens. Then, he says, "why did you wait so long....you needlessly carried all this, when I would have done it for you!"

    You see, if you are not living in God's will...I have to tell you, if you are a Christian, you will not be happy! We are only happy when we live in the middle of God's will. We THINK we know what will make us happy...but we are wrong!

    I hope you will indulge me a little while I tell you a little about my story.

    When I married, I married a boy from my own small town, who I grew up with, and whose family had been friends of mine, for 2 generations. I never saw myself living anywhere but in my small town with my close knit family. I loved my parents, my sisters, grandparents and all my cousins. The whole town was like an extended family, and I loved it. I wanted to raise my children there, and grow old there. And so I married a local boy who said he wanted to do the same thing. He was going to serve a few years in the military, and then we would go home.

    Well, God called my husband in a different direction. He called him to stay in the service. The last thing in the world I ever wanted. I read all the horrible things about kids who grew up moving from pillar to post! I didn't want to live like a gypsy, moving every few years, and my kids never feeling like they had roots. We had several years of upheaval. I felt betrayed, and miserable. And I did NOT think that my husband was spiritual enough to be hearing what God wanted him to do....I WAS much more spiritual...I thought!

    But, one night, in the middle of the night, we received another lengthy phone call from a cousin of my husbands. This man was always drunk and rambled on for hours, with my patient husband listening. I was tired of it. I was furious, that he always called and woke us up--and my husband never told the man to stop! I angrily got up and went to the other room to read my Bible (because I was so spiritual, you know!) When I came back, my husband was urging his cousin to give his life to Jesus Christ....and God clearly spoke to me---loudly---and said, "who is more spiritual? HE answers when I call". wow. It hit me like a brick.

    So, I decided that I would follow my husband, and trust God to lead him. That was 20 years ago. I have to tell you, that it was the best decision ever! God has taken us to many places, that I never would have wanted to go, and I have gotten to do things that I never knew I would want to do! We met so many wonderful people, who God 'used to teach us so many things...things we needed to know, when sorrow entered our own lives. We learned how to tie a special knot in our ropes, so that we could add on another one!

    I stopped looking at the "what ifs" and looked at Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that "all things work together for good, for those who are in Christ Jesus"....I know that is a fact, that it is true. I was much more happy, when I followed Jesus, and did what He wanted me to do, than trying to make myself happy. Jesus knows what you need. He knows you better than you do! Moses also said that he wouldn't make a good leader....and God knew that in fact, it was this humility that made him the best leader. You too will make an excellent Pastor's wife. Follow your husband. Trust Jesus. You will not regret it.
     
  18. Trotter

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    Being called to preach doesn't bot always mean becoming a pastor. I am called as a preacher and teacher, but I am not a pastor. while I might be someday if the Lord puts me there, He called me to preach and left it at that. He may be doing the same thing with your husband.

    It is easy to be worried about all of this, as this is something that you don't see/feel yourself. That doesn't mean he is or is not called... but fear can make us blind sometimes.

    Others have urged prayer, and that is definitely the right course to take. not just for you, but for him as well. Being involved in the church and teaching does not always mean that the person should be a preacher. 15 years is a long time, but God will give you both peace about it one way or another.
     
  19. bapmom

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    JoyC,

    Please forgive this stealth post. I am Bapmom's husband, and I am using her name to post here, because I think I can offer some comfort.

    God called me to be a missionary to Japan when I was 10. There were not many preaching opportunities for 10 yr old Japanese missionaries! Because of my personality and hyperactivity, many adults in my church openly scoffed at the idea of me being a preacher. I knew I wasn't capable of the task that God had called me to - and many agreed with me! But I was also naive enough to believe that my lack of ability was immaterial when it came to obedience to God.

    Now how does a ten yr old snot-nosed brat obey the call to preach when no one will let him preach? I couldn't very well rush the platform and steal the mike from the preacher during the service!

    I discovered the only way to obey that call was to determine in my heart that NOTHING or NOBODY would dissuade from obeying that call when the time came. From that point on, for 25 years, I have always said I was going to be a missionary to Japan. Now, the criticism has come full circle, and people have asked me why I have taken so long to get going. The answer of "God's timing" just isn't a very satisfyng answer after 25 years. Honestly, I am still insufficient to the task that God has called me to. This insecurity, however, does not absolve me from my responsibilty to obey God. I don't have to get anyone's permission to obey God, and I don't have to listen to the devil's reasons about why I should give up on it!

    Remember what God asked Moses when he objected that he didn't have the skills to do God's will? Exodus 4:11

    "And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?"

    God knew exactly what He got when He called me, my wife, your husband, and you to do a work. I share some of the same fears and insecurities that you do (and so does Bapmom). We are all a bunch of unprofitable, sinning servants. But God is so awesome and gracious that He still wants to use imperfect little ol' us!

    We cannot be so sure of our own inadequacies that we think the Creator of all does not know about them or is incapable of equipping us in spite of them. In fact, the weaker we are, the greater glory He gets when He uses us to do great things. It is at those times that our testimony shows others that only God can take credit for the work that was done, because it is obvious that we didn't do it. "My strength is made perfect in weakness."

    We just finished our first and only scheduled missions conference the first week of August. They are taking us on for support. We are officially at 1% of our support level. I had no prayer card, no video presentation, no table display, and I couldn't bring my whole family.

    BTW, I didn't call him for the meeting. He called me. We had never met before.

    Today I got a call from another pastor I have never met or heard of before. He says he found my name on a website and wants me to come preach for him in the spring.

    I still have not made one phone call to book/solicit a meeting for deputation.

    I am stunned that God wants to use me to preach the glorious gospel of Christ to people abroad. I can tell you that it is impossible to do what God has called me to do on my own. That is why I have to rely on God.

    And this is the most important thing to remember -

    The safest place in the universe is in the center of God's will.
     
  20. Major B

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    Because of our last ministry experience (gut-wrenching nightmare), my wife has let me know, in no uncertain terms, that she is through being the pastor's wife, permanently. She also let me know that interim work, supply work, Bible conference work, and revivals are all verboten! I've said "no" several times, and now the word has gotten out, so I don't get asked the question.
     

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