(originally published as a blog post 1/14/14)
It is the sum total of our lives which make us who we are. It is our response to the good, the bad, the blessings, the curses, the nice, the ugly, the happy, the celebrations, and the grief that shape us and mold us and create the beings we become.
After having been in ministry for over 40 years and married to a minister for over 30 years, there are a few things I wish I would have known without having to learn it the hard way. I know we learn our lessons better by experience, but on the off chance that someone just might be able to learn by instruction, I am listing a few of the things of which someone walking this same ministry/minister's wife road might want to beware. These are not in any particular order and are not all things I had to personally experience. Hopefully, you won't have to experience all of them, either.
1. Anything that takes the place of your Morning Time with God. (See post, "The Filter of First").
2. Establishing your identity based on your husband's position.
3. Striving to achieve significance/acceptance/approval based on what you DO rather than on what you ARE.
4. Saying anything negative about your husband in public.
5. Being uber sensitive to criticism of your husband.
6. Women who would attempt to gain your husband's attention.
7. Driving your husband crazy with jealousy.
8. Constantly supplying your husband with details of what the church people are doing (Facebook/Twitter/IG).
9. Wanting to know details of your husband's counseling sessions/church business.
10. Trying to imitate someone else. Nobody has your history/talents/anointing/experience/husband/home/children/etc).
11. Playing your role without being your role.
12. Concentrating on your weaknesses. Build on your strengths and delegate your weaknesses. Nobody has it all.
13. Cheating on recharging your inner self. Introverts recharge alone, extroverts recharge with people. You cannot change what recharges and what drains you. Make sure you recharge on a regular basis. Don't wait until you are empty--radical things usually happen.
14. Being too quick to defend your children.
15. Being too slow to defend your children.
16. Presenting ministry to your kids as exhausting, frustrating, stressful, a bad life.
17. Resenting the ministry and your husband's involvement in it. (The key to this is making sure the communication between you and your husband is healthy, clear, and consistent.) Embrace the good and come to terms with the unpleasant. Every lifestyle has negatives.
18. Searching out spiritual answers from peers. They are in the same stage of life with the same questions and frustrations. The Bible specifically addresses this in Titus 2. Search out someone who has been there--not those who are trying to figure out where they are.
19. Feeling inferior to older/wiser/opinionated women. Love, kindness, and respect covers a lot. Never be ashamed of your stage of life.
20. Attempting to "instruct" without experience. Every stage can share the goodness and love of God. But attempting to instruct the widow stage when you are a young married is not wise. Instructing moms of teens while yours are in diapers can also create a problem. Never be afraid to talk about where you have been, but it is best to defer if asked to address where you have never been.
This list could continue on indefinitely; however, you are probably at your limit of reading a post.
As you ponder some things of which you should beware, also consider one of those cheesy quotes from Pinterest that just happens to ring quite true, "Forget what hurt you, but never forget what it taught you."
© 2009-2014 by Melani Brady Shock