For 40 years, my husband either has been preparing for pastoral ministry or engaged in full time Christian service. This gives me plenty of time to ponder my calling as a pastor's wife. The details of my role have fluidity, but the fundamentals never change. (If you react to my mention of "calling," please move away from the Comment button and read on.)
Every Christian has a calling, i.e., a life God has providentially guided you to and graciously
equipped you for. I am called to be a Christian, a daughter, a mother, a University employee and, yes, a pastor's wife. Since God gave me this life, how does He want me to live it out? I see a similar situation in the verse, "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." I need wisdom to put the truth of God's Word into practice in a responsible, God-fearing way.
God's Word is the main instruction manual for fulfilling any calling. There are not many specifics about a woman married to a pastor. However, the Bible is filled with ways to please God. For example, Christians are to practice hospitality, which has a specific application for an elder and, by inference, his wife. In I Peter, I see that I am to do this "without grumbling." I am only looking at one way to obey God and, already, I see my need to rely on Him in this calling.
In addition, I receive direction in my role as a pastor's wife from my husband. Thankfully, most of what he expects from me is biblical. After 40 years of marriage, I often know what he wants me to do without asking him. I know that he longs to have support of his ministry. One way I can do that is by simply showing up. For worship. For prayer meeting. For special events that he plans. Because God gives me strength to minister to and encourage my husband in this way, I can do it. To me, faithfully attending church is much easier than speaking to a large group of women or leading a youth missions trip.
Sensitivity to the wishes and needs of the people I am serving is part of applying biblical principles. It is something I consider seriously. On the other hand, giving in to an individual member's selfishness or need to control is not part of my calling. As much as possible, when I went into a new situation in my life, I tried to be aware of standards, such as women should not teach men, and style, like women are free to work outside the home. But, I couldn't anticipate everything that came up over the years. I do try to ask myself how I can love this people and serve them sacrificially with my gifts as part of my calling.
Even with 40 years of experience, working out my role as a pastor's wife is still a challenging business. I need to use the fundamentals while learning to please God. Next time, I will discuss some of the details of my calling.