We have had a larger turnover than usual of preachers in the congregation where we worship, due to hiring several first time preachers and they eventually moving on to greater opportunities. Our congregation served as a training ground for many years. During 13 years of that time, my husband served as an elder in the congregation, along with two other men. Since then things have happened including the death of one that caused the congregation to not have a plurality of qualified men.
Because we saw so many come and go through the years, I was asked to share advice that would be beneficial for preacher's wives, so I thought it through and decided I could do this. I thought of 6 important things and I hope you will find it beneficial to your life. Much of this would probably apply to all of us wives.
1. First of all, it is a mistake to teach your children that: "We have to be careful to always be good examples because...People watch us more closely...You are preacher's children...We are looked up to more because we are the preacher's family...We are supposed to be better examples ...etc., etc." Rather, teach them: "We are careful to be good examples because we are Christians and we belong to Christ." We have the power to cause them to feel it is a either a burden or a privilege to be 'preacher's kids or elder's kids.
2. Do not feel like you have to be hostess to every bridal or baby shower or house-warming in the community or even in the church family. Share in these good deeds if you want to, but do not over-burden yourself to the detriment of your own family or your own spirituality. We all need time to meditate to keep our spiritual health up to what God expects of us. We need time to ourselves often...often enough that when that time is occasionally interrupted (as it will be) it will not affect us and make us feel 'used'. Feeling used is not conducive to good spiritual and mental health.
3. It is unwise to use your Christian sisters, no matter how close you are to them, as a sounding board or for getting things off your chest when it concerns your husband. When you feel as if you must talk to someone, take a prayer break (a long one) and talk to God about it. Do not tell your husband's faults, no matter how minor, to anyone in the church. This can cause a weakening of his influence as a preacher and as a fellow Christian, and oh! How we need our influence. Our influence as Christians is badly needed in this world and when destroyed, either by ourselves or by others, is hard to be acquired again.
4. Peer-pressure: It is our there...and it is real! If your children are small, you still have a head-start of peer pressure. Share your faith and talk about God's Word often. Instill it in their little hearts until it becomes a part of them. If a child of faithful Christian parents does not have a faith of his own by the time he is seven or eight years old, that child has been failed up to that point. These are the moldable years and children of preachers and future elders and deacons are not just automatically going to grow up loving and serving God. They have to be tenderly nourished up in the Lord just as any other Christian's children do. This takes time, patience and an "unhurried atmosphere".
5. Anything you do in the line of church work or for the brethren personally, let it be done in love (remembering it is also for the Lord) and not because you are the preacher's wife. If you do any good work simply because you are the preacher's wife and believe it is expected of you, you will feel burdened and it will probably show up in your attitude and in little remarks you may make to your family. Then you will be back to number one above.
6. Above all, love God and love your children. Abundantly! Sometimes a preacher's family feels that because their hearts are filled with so much love for people and their time occupied with helping people, that their children will just automatically feel that love and feel secure. They need to be shown that love personally in their own right. Charity (love) begins at home and overflows into the lives of people outside that home...not the other way around.
So love your little ones while they are growing up. Let them know beyond a doubt that they are loved and respected as individuals in the family. They will grow up having confidence and feeling secure. -Edna L. Ingram