By Joy Lear-Bernard
I was recently invited to have a quick listen in the meeting with the designer creating our church website. I leave the kitchen and approach the meeting detecting names were being exchanged and introductions made. Arriving, I hear “And this is the Pastors wife.” I jovially added, “Formerly known as Joy,” at which the table all laughed.
I’ve countless times been known as the worship leader, Pastor T’s wife, the first lady, even the church mother! I have helped a little here and there giving support as needed to other lead ministries but am always referred to as the wife of the pastor. If a risqué comment is made, it is usually followed by “Oh the Pastor ‘s wife is here, settle down.” I am the smiling mother of the Pastor’s children who keeps the children fed and watered as the Pastor ministers, and the female presence when the Pastor or the person being ministered to needs one, the unofficial secretary for notes, reminder, diary dates, and meetings and so it continues. The pastor’s wife.
Let me say the privilege, insight, and weight of being his wife is one that has always been there. When I said “I do” to being his wife it was with sincerity. Now ‘he‘ is a Pastor. He has been many things and served in many ways. I have always been his helpmate, his support and help meet. His being Pastor has not made me any of those things. It has just ‘upped’ the game on the weight of responsibility for the man I continue to support.
But I believe it will resonate with many that during some seasons what has become acutely important is to not simply live in the cascade of roles I fill as wife of a Pastor, or even the mother, daughter, sister or friend, not as the worship leader, writer, washer upper, PA or any other labels and passions that make up who I am.
I am starkly and vulnerably saturated in the truth of who I am being completely rested in who God is. That the sum total of my existence is only given value in who He intended for me to be when I was a thought in His mind.
It seemed apt to leave a chunk of this writing to David who said it so well.
For You formed my innermost parts; You knit me [together] in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was being formed in secret, And intricately and skillfully formed [as if embroidered with many colors] in the depths of the earth. Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were appointed for me, When as yet there was not one of them [even taking shape]. Psalm 139:13-16 (AMP)
Before I took on the physical form by which I am now known, God saw the invisible me in His mind. I, being His idea, through the grasp of sin was rendered helpless to enjoy the embrace of my Father and so He himself came to rescue me, the idea of His mind, the souls caught by his salvation.
What an incredible thought beyond our reasoning and comprehension. It surpasses any impressive roles or burdens by which we are known. Our gaze towards who God is, causes the depiction of us by others to fall blissfully down the rank. And so, we serve others by first serving God.
David is blown away giddily at the revelation of himself in God. We were not hidden from God but hidden by and in God. And still are!
Our darkness and weakness are no different to our gloriously lit pastoral moments in ministry. He knows us completely he knew us before we got here and will know us still when we are presented into His eternal arms.
Before you are a wife of a Pastor, you are a daughter and thought of the sovereign God. In that order, do we live and serve our husbands as we serve the almighty God.
Always remember we are formally known as God’s child. Whoever may know us by any other name, let them see we belong to Jesus.