My heart of innocence knew nothing of the mountains and valleys that lay before us.

I was adorned in the most beautiful bridal gown I had ever seen. As I looked towards the front of the church, I saw that my beloved’s eyes were brimming with tears of joy. I was excited, and a little apprehensive about the future, as any bride would be. And yet my future would not exactly be like most newlywed couples. The moment I said “I do” to becoming this man’s wife, I would also say “I do” to becoming a pastor’s wife.

My groom had shepherded his flock without me for one year — now I was joining him. My mind filled with anticipation, but with no idea of what lay ahead. My rose-colored glasses were still on.

Today I can look back on 45 years of full-time Christian ministry. We have scaled amazing heights we never dared to dream about. We have also plunged to depths of sorrow, betrayal, and loss that we didn’t know were possible. We have had dreams realized and dreams shattered. We have pastored large churches and small ones. We have often cried out to God, “Why me?” when the blessings were flowing and we have also cried out to our God, “Why me, why now?” when we felt He had abandoned us and was silent to our prayers.

My story is one of God’s presence in our joys and in our pains. Let me share with you some of the things I have learned in my journey as a pastor’s wife.

The joys of ministry

The struggles of ministry

Being a pastor’s wife is a high calling but it is also a great responsibility and a great blessing. It is a gift from God. There are many demands, but the joys far outweigh the pressures. If you are a pastor’s wife, it is of utmost importance that you know who you are in Christ and be focused on pleasing him first and foremost. Herbert Bayard Swope, the first recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Reporting in 1917, has been quoted as saying, “I can’t give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.” When dealing with congregations, keep this in the front of your mind.

My rose-colored glasses are now off. I know more of what it means to walk by faith today than I had known — or ever expected to know — that day I strolled down the aisle to take my vows with my pastor-husband. Over our years in ministry together, God has taken our pain and loss, and turned these ashes into something beautiful. He has remained faithful to his character and his Word. Above all else, I now know that, apart from God, I can do nothing John 15:5, and I wouldn’t trade my calling as a pastor’s wife for anything else.

Photo Credit: Brooke Cagle