Not too long ago, I was talking with a group of pastors’ wives. We were all feeling a bit wrung out, tired of the hardships in our churches, tired of watching our husbands suffer the aftershocks of Covid, tired of such strange times in pulpit and pew, where every pattern seemed to have shifted, topsy-turvy and unprecedented.
The only place to go for rest?
Below is a small excerpt from my 45-minute talk, entitled: Through Hot Fires & Deep Waters. I hope my words will serve to encourage you, my kind readers.
This morning I want you to walk away soul satisfied by the understanding that the Lord your God sees you, walks with you, and as you are singed and nearly drowning in trials, yet moving forward in faith, please remember this: he is shaping you, molding you, fashioning you into the image of his most precious Son, Jesus.
I watched a magnificent video recently, of a potter at her wheel. She had a bucket of broken pieces of clay–a mess really. She ground the pieces, and dipped them in water, mixing the mess into a formed heap. And then, once the clay was ready for use, and just the right consistency, she spun her wheel and began to shape the clay into her artistic design. It took time and vision and a whole lot of patience, and the clay was formed by her hands. The clay did not gripe and fuss, but obeyed the master potter, malleable, relaxed in her grip. The pieces she formed were lovely–beauty from the ruins.
And when the initial lump was designed and completed, fashioned to her liking, she placed it in the hottest of fires. The kiln. The blazing heat strengthened the piece, making it durable and fit for use. That fire, which seems too cruel, and too hot, actually perfected the bowl, and the vase, and the pitcher. After the fire, the pieces were dipped in glaze.
Back into the fire they went. For a carefully measured time. In fact, differently shaped pieces required different cooking times.
The pottery was perfected in the fire. It was ready to serve others.
The potter? She knew precisely what she was doing.
Ladies, we too are being molded, dipped in water, formed, and placed in the hottest fires to serve Christ Jesus, by laying down our lives for others, and serving sacrificially, as Jesus did.
My advice and encouragement for each of you, as you face all of those trials unique to a pastor’s family, might be different from what you are accustomed to. Many books and articles are centered situationally–beginning with the outward, the extraneous.
Articles such as:
Can I have friends at church?
Do I need to be present at every event?
How do we survive when people leave our church?
How do I handle people using me to get to my husband?
How do I swim authentically in this fishbowl?
While there is certainly a time and a place and biblical answers to these questions, I would like to skip the microscope in favor of the broader, the deeper, the eternal view.
The way I see it, tending only to those specific questions is like focusing on snuffing out a burning candle, while your entire house is on fire. Burning down.
Let’s step back and inhale the grand view. The huge fire of life, lived in fidelity to God, wherever he places us, rather than the tiny, situational candle.
If we view our situations with a long, eternal perspective, we will quickly ascertain that the words of Charles Spurgeon are indeed true:
Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, Divine Love would have put you there.
God is not only present during our hot fires and deep waters.
But more importantly?
He has plunged us deeply into them for his glory and for our good. He is completely Sovereign. God is the Omniscient Potter and we are the lowly clay.
The answer to remaining upright and strong and joyful during our trials is to be spiritually well. There are disciplines of our faith, practices of obedience that will fortify our souls, come what may. No one can do these things for you. These choices are between you and God.
(I then spoke in detail about specific spiritual disciplines that God has created to sustain his children.)
Pastor’s wife. Your main work is not within those church walls. You are not called to pastor–that is your husband’s job. There is no biblical office called pastor’s wife. Biblically, your chief work is to first be well with God, and then to love and honor and serve your husband.
Bend your knees and pray for him. Love him. Keep your hearth and home a calm, ordered, and peaceful place which is pleasing to God. All of this is done from a heart bent on love for Christ. You have a unique calling–no one else is married to your pastor, and may I suggest a word of caution? Do not become so overly involved in the church happenings that you no longer have time for your family.
God has called you to this exact place of hot fires and deep waters and will give you his strength. He who promised is faithful.
I close with a quote from Elisabeth Elliot:
If you could see with your eyes the nail-pierced hand of Jesus stretched forth toward you with a cup of suffering, would you drink it or would you refuse it? Think about what God may be offering you now. Do you have any hunger for God, any longing to understand his Cross?
6 thoughts on “Your House is on Fire”
Your pastor wives’ questions aren’t limited to pastor wives. As the wife of a head coach, those are the same ones that my daughter-in-law and I have had to face. I can’t speak for other positions of leadership, but your applications probably go far beyond pastors’ wives.
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Thank you Donna.💚There are many similarities between pastoring & coaching.🙏🏻
How encouraging for those who heard you, and how good for those of us who aren’t pastor’s wives to eavesdrop on this and learn how to help. Thanks for sharing.
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Thank you, Carmen!
Thank you Kristen – your words grabbed me by the collar and pulled me back from going over the cliff! Just in time! Yes Lord! I see your loving hands offering the cup prepared for me and I receive it with awe and gratitude. Your words redirected my focus – away from feeling sorry for myself – to look full in His Wonderful face!
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