PW Connect (www.pastorswives.com) is the sister blog of Pastors' Wives Thriving in the Fishbowl's website & message board. We support, encourage, and nurture ministry wives. Our contributors have experienced the fishbowl of ministry life firsthand, and we're here to come alongside you in all the joys and tears.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Call for Submissions

Are you a ministry wife who wants to encourage other ministry wives? We may be looking for you!

We are looking for additional monthly contributors to join our team at PastorsWives.com. Contributors are asked to write one 500 word post a month and share their posts on their own blogs and social media channels. Our desire is to nurture and champion ministry wives and provide a safe place for encouragement and support.

If you are interested in joining our team, please check out our writer's guidelines. Submit sample posts to Leigh at contact [at] leighpowers [dot] com, or contact us through the contact form.

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Celebrating Mother's Day With Sensitivity

As Mother's Day draws near, churches are preparing for one of the highest attendance days of the year. Many are planning to honor mothers with flowers or other special gifts. And I'll admit--I look forward to it. Mother's Day is one day I can usually get all my family dressed nicely for church and corralled long enough to take a decent picture. A nap is usually as elaborate as my gift wishlist gets, but it's nice to feel appreciated and honored.

But I also know Mother's Day is not a day of celebration for everyone. I have friends who have lost their mothers this year. Others have lost children. There are women in our congregation in the midst of a painful struggle with infertility, and there are both mothers and children who mourn the broken or difficult relationships within their families.

It is good to honor mothers and those who have been like mothers to us. It is also good to be sensitive that for many, Mother's Day is a difficult, even painful day. How can we as church strike that balance? Here are a few principles that may help:

  • Let Scripture speak. There are a few passages that are perennial Mother's Day favorites, but the Bible is filled with stories of women whose lives were not the Hallmark ideal. Sarah, Rebecca, and Rachel struggled with infertility. Leah was unloved. Jochabed saved her son from Pharoah's genocide, and Jehosheba saved her nephew from being executed by a murderous queen. The widow of Zarephath and the widow of Nain both received their sons back from the dead. Naomi mourned hers. These women all coped with difficulties, but they experienced God in the middle of their struggles and found their place in God's great story of salvation. As we honor mothers, perhaps we can benefit by listening to and learning from biblical women whose stories are less frequently told.

  • Listen and acknowledge. There are those in your congregation for whom Mother's Day is a difficult day. Let them know that they are heard. This might simply be an acknowledgment from the pulpit and a mention that your prayer team is available for those who need comfort on this day. It might be included in a congregational prayer, responsive reading, or as part of the welcome address. Honor mothers, but find a way to publicly acknowledge that Mother's Day can be a bittersweet celebration.

  • Honor those who have loved us well. It is interesting that the only direct command in Proverbs 31 is not addressed to the Proverbs 31 woman but to her family and community: "Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring praise at the city gate" (Proverbs 31:31, NIV). It is good to honor those who have physically and spiritually mothered us. Even when relationships are difficult, there are often things there that are worth honoring. Give thanks for those who have nurtured and mentored us. Recognize those who have given us life, and honor those who have given so much to us. We become what we honor.
Q: How does your church honor mothers on Mother's Day? How do you honor mothers while still being sensitive to those for whom Mother's Day is a difficult day?

About the author:
Leigh Powers is a pastor's wife, Bible study and devotional author, freelance editor, and mother of three from Houston, Texas. She is passionate about helping women find hope and healing by meeting God in his word. You can connect with Leigh on Facebook or Twitter, or follow her at her blog, My Life. His Story (www.leighpowers.com).

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Be Who You Are

When I was growing up in the South, there was a stereotype for “pastor’s wife.” She was quiet, long-suffering, always serving but never in charge, always appropriately (and maybe slightly over) dressed, smiling, and just slightly holier than everyone else. My own pastor’s wife once told me she couldn’t tell some parents at our church about their children’s misbehavior because she was the pastor’s wife.

I used to pray, “Oh Lord, I will be and do anything you want, but please don’t make me a pastor’s wife. I can’t live like that!” So of course, I became a pastor’s wife! It’s one of those great ironies of the Christian life, isn’t it?

As I’ve said before, we walked into a first ministerial position with other wives who were diverse and fun. The church body expected us to be involved but in our own ways and in line with our different personalities. The pressures were minimal, except for those I put on myself.

We hadn’t been at this church for long when I went to a certain conference where they offered one class especially for new ministers’ wives. Of course, I signed up. I was so uncomfortable for the entire session! The instructor’s list of “should”s and “shouldn’t”s sucked me back into that mindset from my childhood, where the pastor’s wife could never go to the grocery store in sweatpants or skip a meeting at church. I sat there while my identity in Christ wrestled internally with archaic expectations of tradition. I was too young and inexperienced to say anything, but I escaped as quickly as possible.

I wish I had humbly but firmly spoken up that day, but even more, I wish I could lead a session like that now. Here’s what I would say:

1.      Be authentic. You are a work-in-progress, with areas where God has already given you victory and areas where you’re weak. Don’t celebrate your weaknesses, but don’t hide them either.
2.      Represent well. Whether you like it or not, you represent your husband and your church to the public. Before you walk out the door, take a moment to evaluate what others see. Your local culture will determine what’s acceptable.
3.      Take care of yourself. Spend time in the Word and foster a healthy lifestyle. Your current circumstances will determine what “healthy” means for you, and that’s okay!
4.      Prioritize. Take a look at the different elements of your life. Then prayerfully, intentionally choose where you will invest your energy. Knowing you’re following God’s will gives you confidence to continue down the path He has for you.

We’re not all destined to be demure, soft-spoken paradigms of modesty and humility. We are, however, all being conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29), growing in the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), and learning how to navigate the world He’s given us. God knew who you were and who you would become before He called you to this role. He wants you—the real you, not the fake, idealized model-pastor’s-wife version of you—to flourish in this calling! So be who you are.

About the author:

Carole Sparks is passionate about God’s Word—about how it can change our everyday lives! After years of globetrotting, she now lives, learns, and loves (plus a good bit of writing) in the hills of East Tennessee. Connect with Carole through her website, http://carolesparks.com or her blog, http://notaboutme1151.wordpress.com.

You can also find Carole on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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