Simone's Butterfly

Pastors Wives in Ireland

Elisabeth Elliott wrote “The fact that I am a woman doesn’t make me a different kind of Christian, the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman."

Being the wife of a pastor doesn’t make me a different kind of Christian woman or more special. It does however make my life more public. People have numerous expectations of me. Some are realistic, but many are not.

The role of a pastor's wife is completely subjective. There are no exact responsibilities. Expectations are as diverse as the number of members in a church. There is little, if any, training for pastors' wives. All of this brings unique stresses that are often only understood by other pastors’ wives.

For this reason, I was extremely pleased to spend time with the other pastor’s wives in Ireland. On Sunday 1 March 2009 we participated in an inter-active seminar presented by Marci Neal. Marci Neal is the President’s Wife, and Women’s Ministries Director of Ireland. We discussed three stereotypical models of a Pastor’s wife. We examined the expectations and demands placed on us. We explored various ways to react to these and possible strategies of coping with them. We talked about the importance of knowing our gifts and using them in our ministry instead of trying to fit a mold.

The really fun part was discovering how each of us became involved with our husbands and their ministry. Marci also shared strategies with us that we could use to balance our family lives while coping with the unpredictable demands placed on our ministries. Our husbands do not work from 9 to 5, 5 days a week and leave their works at the office. Our lives and his work are intertwined. As much as sacrifices do need to be made, it is also important that we have healthy relationships within our families. We explored dealing with conflict as well as the importance of maintaining a prayer life and personal devotions. One of the messages I took away was that in ministering to others we must never forget that we also need to be ministered to.

The seminar did not only give us information. It also allowed us to share our experiences, challenges, success and advice. It also laid the foundation to building a more supportive network and deepening friendships amongst ourselves as pastors' wives.

Thank you to all the ladies for the wonderful dishes they brought and to Joy for inviting us into her home.

It is a privilege and honour to be part of the ministry team in the Irish Mission.

Simone Coester 

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