The mission is in the marriage, the marriage is in the mission. Marriage and mission do not have separate compartments and categories and when we try to separate the two the tearing leaves us wounded and broken. This walk, this dance, this give and take of marriage and ministry is deep and spiritual and not one for the faint of heart. But, the deep richness that God has for us when we choose to walk this path far outweighs any hardship.
What does this mean practically?
These ideas might apply to many women in ministry, I'm just zeroing in on pastors wives in this post. :)
1. WE TAKE UP THE CALL
We are all called to be witnesses and so that goes without saying, but the call to be a pastor's wife only comes to some. If your husband is a pastor, guess what, you've been called to be a pastor's wife. It took me a while to accept that call. :) The sooner you stop looking at ministry as the enemy that is trying to steal your husband away from you, the better. When he is called out to counsel someone, when he needs to stay and minister, when he needs to "do ministry" - that is your ministry. You let him go, you encourage him, you strengthen him and enable him with your support. Embrace that call with everything you have.
An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
(Proverbs 31:10-12 ESV)
2. WE OPEN OUR EYES
Of course, we have our own call, our own walk and ministry. That we have dual purpose and great responsibility should not be something to look down upon and ruffle our feathers over. This great privilege has been bestowed upon us that we may walk in it to the glory of our God.
I fully believe that God does not just call us to follow our husbands around doing things like a personal assistant, although at times that is the call. We are to minister alongside them, physically or in spirit and in unity. Open your eyes and LOOK for opportunities to serve, to reach out, to minister. Part of taking on the call is to take up ministry as your own and not just as your husband's job. On that note - think of pastoring as a job in the full sense of the idea that there is a need to be responsible, committed, respectful, and disciplined, just like a job, but let it end there. Let there be no talk or thought of their time, our time, taking too much, giving too much - can we ever give too much to God? <stepping off soap box>
Open your eyes to the ministry at home, church, life - to your husband, to your children, in taking care of the household, cars, bills, relatives, neighbors, friends, whatever it means for you - see all of life as ministry and do it as unto the Lord. It's about perspective and attitude and heart.
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
(Titus 2:3-5 ESV)
The connection, the deep communion that comes with being in ministry with your spouse is a fellowship that can't be experienced anywhere else. As I watch my husband preach and there is that moment, so inscrutable that no one notices - what was it? Is he embarrassed, nervous, overwhelmed? The prayers go up as I am unable to minister to him personally in the moment and yet God can calm and move in ways that I never could. Like Aaron and Hur holding up the arms of Moses, we are the support and strength to bolster up our husbands as they walk in this call. The ministry of prayer is deeper and has more impact than any bible study you may stand up and preach, more than that wonderful
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
(Romans 8:26 ESV)
4. WE LOVE
It's a whole lot easier to give to people that you love. What greater thing to give the people that you love than the person you hold most dear in this world? Ask God to give you eyes to see and a heart to love the people you minister to. There have been people that I have not naturally been drawn to and have had irritation towards, that God has supernaturally changed my heart into a deep love for them - when I asked. Love God, love your husband, love the people!
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.
(1 John 5:1 ESV)
5. WE CREATE HOME
It seems in the battle of marriage and ministry the battleground is often TIME and who gets how much. I have found that when I accept the call, look for my own call, pray and love then this battle for time seems to fade. But, the world God has created us to live in works within time and so the question is - what are you going to do with the time that you have? My encouragement to you is to create a home that is a place of refuge, strength and love - a place to be filled with God's word, refueled in spirit and in body. The reality of this happening takes a lot of thought, organization and guess what - time. In the juggling of this great call is the call to be workers at home, see that mission, accept it, and be diligent in it.
I write these things to you in a heart of transparency in hopes that as we learn and struggle through this journey together, we might obtain greater blessing and greater glory to God!
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:12-14 ESV)