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Ode To My Wife - And The Ministers' Wives Like Her

"Every man who is high up likes to think he has done it all himself; and the wife smiles, and lets it go at that.  It's our only joke.  Every woman knows that."  -  Sir James Matthew Barrie

A lot of times my wife goes undeservedly unnoticed. I'm the one in the pulpit. I'm the one preaching, teaching, so forth and so on. I'm the one who will have his name on the revival flyer. It becomes very easy for anyone in that position to begin to feel like their role is somehow less important.

For me, there's a reason I always try to honor my wife when I step into a pulpit or in my conversations with other Ministers. It's not that I couldn't preach without her. I've Pastored a Church as a single man, I've traveled alone and I've even managed to cook a few meals without either burning the meat or leaving it so raw as to give myself food poisoning.

Could a man survive with only one hand? Certainly. But what kind of a pianist would he make? Oh, yes it's possible...but it sure isn't the preferred method. In fact, that's part of the reason why God, in the beginning, said, "It's not good that man should be alone." Because of this, God created woman - a helpmeet; a wife - and said that each man was created to have one.

My wife prays for me daily. She prays for our life together, our ministry (yes, "our" ministry) and, quite frankly, all of the little things that I forget to pray about. She fills in the gaps of my personal deficiencies while bringing to the table her own wisdom, knowledge and experience in even the most complex situations. She acts as a ballast, a sounding board, a confidante, a father confessor.

Beyond that, she stands on her own two feet fully competent and capable of existing without me while maintaining an undeniable resolve to continue to the end of life with me. By her own choice she walks with me through life and, by her own merits, stands perfectly able to walk alone if she had wanted to. A helpmeet - not a vestigial appendage.

What is not seen in the ministry of my wife is her ministry to me. No, she doesn't preach or sing special songs. No, she doesn't walk about casting devils out of church kids (though she absolutely could and probably should). Yet God seldom gives me a message to deliver to His people without also speaking to me through her commentary on the thoughts I present to her. And, when the message is through, she's there to pick up the pieces of the broken Messenger who realizes his own frailty and fears it has gotten in the way of the Message.

Sometimes in public she comes across as very composed, very proper and, at times, starchy and stiff. That's because of a fear that she won't be liked and accepted or that she will do something that would make me look bad along with trying to compensate for self-consciousness. It's also a side effect of being a former public school teacher and an extremely intelligent person. And this is not unique to my wife. I've watched many Ministers' wives face the same thing.

As a result, making friends isn't easy and loneliness is a constant. And, again, I'm speaking about Minister's wives in general and my wife in particular. It's hard to understand unless you've been there. It's even harder to understand when you consider that, by in large, some of the most wonderful people in the Kingdom of God are the wives - both in laity and Ministry.

I honor my wife. I honor all our Ministers' wives. They have to put up with the Preacher they're married to all the time. Saints, count your blessings. You only have to deal with us part time. And don't be afraid to reach out to a Minister's wife and offer a hand of friendship. You might think she's too busy or wouldn't have time for you. You might be surprised.

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