Tip #8: Safeguard your children

As pastors’ wives, one of our first priorities, second only to our relationships with God and our husbands, is safeguarding our children. While some people believe the church should hold a higher place on our priorities’ list than our kids, I’m not of that camp. I believe that if we sacrifice our children on the altar of the church, we’ve wasted the most important opportunities for Kingdom advancement that God has given us.images

Here are some areas where pastors’ wives need to take special care of our children:

1. Shield them from our tongue. As I mentioned in Tip #7, our children live in a fishbowl in which everything they say and do is up for scrutiny by church members. We need to be careful not to violate what little privacy they do have by posting embarrassing things on Facebook or telling everyone the awful way they treated their brother yesterday.

2. Insulate them from church information. When our husbands need to talk with us about frustrations at church or problems church folks are having, we must take care to have those talks out of the hearing of the children. We can’t simply assume that our two-year-old is too young to understand or that the television has our ten-year-old too occupied to hear. I don’t mean we should never tell our kids what’s going on at church; I do mean we must be intentional about what we say and when we say it.

3. Shelter them from heartbreak. Even among professing Christians, there are those who will use our kids as a means of “getting in good with the pastor.” While we don’t want to be overly suspicious, we’re responsible for protecting our children’s hearts from hurtful manipulation by those who will use their affections to gain power in the church. At times, people who have befriended our children will leave the church, sometimes with bad feelings toward our husbands. In those cases, we need to explain to our kids that those folks got upset with Daddy, not them. It’s our job to alleviate the hurt such breaks have on our children’s spirits.

4. Protect them from abuse. Since pastors’ families spend so much time at church, it’s easy for us to view the building as our home away from home. We need to be careful, though, of our children’s physical safety. Because they’re often allowed to roam the building unsupervised, pastors’ kids are especially susceptible to sexual abuse. We must remember that someone’s membership or regular attendance (whether that person is an adult or teen) does not mean they pose no threat to our kids. We need to talk to our children about what contact is and isn’t okay, and we need to encourage them to come to us with any concerns, reminding them that we won’t be angry with them if someone hurt them but that we will do our best to prevent them from ever being harmed again.

5. Guard them from themselves. Sometimes PKs get the idea they can boss other children or staff members at church. Other times they think church property is theirs for the taking. Still other times they believe their dad’s role as pastor necessitates their acceptance into Heaven. We must watch for these dangers to their souls and weed them out of our kids’ mindsets.

As pastors’ wives, we are to train up our children in righteousness, safeguard them when we can, and trust God to take care of them when we can’t.

Facing Doomsday

doomsday-clock-12598389Doomsday predictions have been around for centuries. Think of last December’s Mayan Calendar predictions, the Y2K scare of 2000, the Heaven’s Gate Hale-Bopp suicide of 1997, the current Blood Moons craze. Christians and non-Christians alike have long latched onto landmark dates or planetary alignments as “the day to end all days.” They’ve worked themselves into frenzies of fear and frantic preparations. Then as each chosen date has come and gone, they’ve been proven wrong.

Some skeptics use each wrong speculation as ammunition against “those kooky Christians.” Others use the false prophecies as proof that the world will never end. Even professing Christians are lulled into a false sense of complacency with the here and now and, though they may never admit it out loud, fall into living as though Christ will never return. Or worse, they get so comfortable with life on Earth, they don’t really want Him to come back at all.

And yet Jesus says He will return as a thief in the night. He says to be on the alert because nobody knows the hour or the day. He says when the end comes, we will be eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. In other words, we won’t be expecting Him to come when He does. So how should Christians live? Quit our jobs, stockpile food and guns, hide out in caves? Simply continue on with daily life as if the end will never come?

The Bible calls Christians to exist in a peculiar tension, one that puts us in a constant state of readiness for Christ’s return. We are to follow these three principles of preparedness:

Live life. Believers are told to “work in quiet fashion and eat [our] own bread” (2 Thessalonians 3:12, NASB). We are to labor at our job, enjoy our food, walk our dog, kiss our spouse, parent our children, pay our bills, wash our dishes. In other words, we are to go about the business of life.

Be ready. At the same time, we are to be ready for Christ to return at any moment. We must live like the five wise virgins who kept oil for their lamps so that when the bridegroom came, they were all set to go with him (Matthew 25). This does not mean we should hoard oil or any other physical supplies. It means we are to prepare ourselves spiritually for Christ’s return. First, we must look to Jesus to save us from our sins. Then we must study the Bible, memorize Scripture, and share the Gospel with the sinners around us who aren’t equipped to face Judgment Day.

Pray continually. As we live day-to-day life in a state of readiness, we are to pray, “Maranatha. Lord, come quickly.” As Christians, we should never tremble in fear of the end of life as we know it. We must never be so immersed in the stuff of this world that we forget to long for Heaven. Instead, we should tremble in anticipation of the triumphant return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We should beg Him to come back for us. Today.

Tip #7: Train your tongue

Like everybody else, pastors’ wives struggle to control our tongues. Unlike everybody else, our position sometimes gives our words more power for good or ill in the church. James 3:8 makes it clear, “But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.” Yet if we want to help rather than hinder our husbands’ ministries, we have to work at training that tiny part that can do so much damage or so much good. We have to learn what to say and what not to say, when to speak and when not to speak, to whom we should speak and to whom we should not. It’s not easy, but we must try. canstock19039885

Here are some ideas on how we can better use our tongues for God’s glory and the building up of His church:

What not to say:

  1. Gossip. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of sharing that tasty tidbit we heard at the last women’s meeting, but we can’t do it. Gossip wreaks havoc in the church. It kills our husbands’ ministries, especially when we feed it, and it destroys our ability to minister to other women. We must not gossip.
  2. Confidences. Often church members share information with our husbands that aren’t meant for any other ears. In such cases, we should never press our husbands to tell us what they know. In those times when our husbands are able to share something with us, we must keep it to ourselves.
  3. Lies. We need to determine from the start that we’ll speak the truth, no matter the consequences to ourselves. Sometimes we might be tempted to hedge the truth to save face. It’s better just to be honest. Or, when asked a question about a matter we’re not free to discuss, it’s better to simply tell our questioner that we can’t talk about that topic.
  4. Empty words. Sometimes as pastors’ wives, we feel that we have to fill silence in women’s meetings or Bible studies. We don’t. Our empty chatter often wearies others and prevents meaningful conversation. If we don’t have anything worthwhile to say, we should remain silent.
  5. Unwanted advice. Just because we see something we think needs to be changed, that doesn’t mean we should say anything. If we establish ourselves as quiet, respectable women with opinions worth hearing, others will seek our advice.
  6. Too much information. We need to be careful not to say things about our husbands or children that they wouldn’t want shared with others. Being the pastor’s family leads to enough “fishbowl” time without us adding to that particular stress. 

What to say:

  1. Encouragement. We need to watch for ways to encourage other women in their walk of faith, being careful not to flatter, but to speak the truth.
  2. Good words. We should speak words to our husband that build him up and encourage him in his ministry. We should watch for opportunities to give positive feedback and constructive criticism about sermons and studies.
  3. Correction. It’s our job to train our children in righteousness. We must teach them the truth with our words and actions. When we tell our children that particular consequences will follow an action, we must make sure those consequences do follow that action.
  4. Admonishment. If we find that words of correction are necessary for a fellow Christian, we must proceed carefully. Only through prayerful, gentle words should we reprimand another.
  5. Praise. When we consciously use our mouths to sing and speak worship to God, we bring Him pleasure, build up the church, and encourage others in righteousness.