You have been on my heart since God began birthing the vision for Married to the Ministry. When you’re a pastor’s wife, it really does feel like you’re married to the ministry and to the church family, too, doesn’t it? This weight of this life can seem way too “extra,” and we can be lonely even when we’re surrounded by other believers. As I prayed for direction on how to encourage you, the Lord reminded me of Elizabeth, and I realized God gave us a ministry wife mentor right here in Scripture!
Luke chapter 1 records a glimpse into Elizabeth’s life with her priest husband Zacharias, and verse 6 really caught my attention: “And they were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.” What a great theme verse for Married to the Ministry! Because isn’t that our goal—to walk blamelessly with the Lord and to support our husbands as they walk with Jesus too?
Then the more I read about Elizabeth—wow! Her story presents a strong model for us ministry wives to follow:
- This first example made me laugh. Luke 1:23 says, “When the days of his priestly service were concluded, he went back home.” Even righteous Zacharias spent a lot of time away from home doing church work! Goodness, I can certainly relate to that, can’t you? But Elizabeth didn’t huff and puff about how much old Zach was gone like I did in the early days of our marriage. This subject needs to be its own blog post, doesn’t it?
- Second, we see that Elizabeth learned she had a specific role in God’s plan, even though the official call came to her husband. Some of you might have felt called to be a pastor’s wife when you were still in high school and others may have dreamed of marrying a minister. Maybe that’s part of your story, but it wasn’t mine. After my second date with Greg, the Holy Spirit whispered, “There’s your husband!”(even though it took us four years to get to the altar). When Greg told me about his call to preach, I really struggled with his decision because I did NOT feel called to be a minister’s wife. But our pastor, Adrian Rogers, helped me realize that my role in Greg’s call was still to be a godly wife, and that advice was so freeing! Focusing on being Greg’s wife instead of trying to “become” a good pastor’s wife lowered my anxiety level so the Lord could gradually mold me into the ministry wife He wanted me to be for Greg.
- Third, it’s clear that Elizabeth had her own personal relationship with God. She believed the word of the Lord, even though she didn’t understand it. When she was pregnant, she withdrew from society for several months to prepare herself for what God was about to do in their family. The Bible tells us that Elizabeth herself was also filled with the Holy Spirit when her baby leapt in her womb at Mary’s arrival. Ladies, our own time with the Lord is so important as Christian women, but it’s vital if we’re married to the ministry. We need to spend time in God’s Word, and our husbands need us to spend time in the Word so we can be adequate helpers for them. Has God ever given you an insight from His Word to pass on to your husband? Many times I’ve been able to share verses from my own quiet time that encouraged Greg or helped him discern what God was leading him to do.
- Next, I realized Elizabeth didn’t ridicule her husband for his lack of faith. Can you picture how embarrassed Zacharias must have felt when he was unable to speak to his congregation when that was part of his job? He probably felt like a failure, especially when he couldn’t hide it from people. God put this detail in the Bible specifically for us wives—because our men won’t get everything right in their spiritual walk or in their pastoral roles. If Greg is struggling, the last thing he needs is a critical wife. Elizabeth teaches us to hold our tongues instead of pointing out their faults. We can bless our husbands through those times of weakness by showering them with unconditional love and support.
- Fifth, Elizabeth and Mary modeled a sweet mentor relationship for us. Mary rushed to visit Elizabeth when she found out her cousin was also miraculously pregnant, even though the distance between them was apparently significant. Elizabeth welcomed Mary into her home for an extended season of fellowship, where they rejoiced together over this unique bond they shared. Can’t you just imagine the things they talked about? What about you? Do you have a ministry mentor, someone who is showing you how to be a great pastor’s wife? Are you investing truth and encouragement in another pastor’s wife? It can be lonely not to have a friend who understands what you’re going through. For a long time I didn’t have anyone to talk to about hard issues we were dealing with, but during one season I was blessed to serve with a godly pastor’s wife who passionately mentored her staff wives and I am forever changed because of her love and example. She’ll be a guest on Married to the Ministry soon, and I can’t wait for you to meet her!
- And finally, even though she’d been a faithful priest’s wife for a long time, Elizabeth wasn’t jealous when young Mary landed a more significant role in the redemption story. Instead of feeling green with envy, Elizabeth showed gratitude for her own place in God’s plan, and she blessed Mary as the mother of “her” Lord. Have you ever felt insignificant or unseen in your place of ministry? Sometimes we might be tempted to compare our situation with other opportunities that seem bigger or newer or more well-known than where we’re serving. Elizabeth reminds us that God uses each of us in different times, in different places, and in different ways to fulfill His purposes.
Does Elizabeth’s story bring you comfort? I hope you feel appreciated instead of ignored, and validated rather than neglected. May you be blessed by the truth of her example. God’s Word always touches the details in our lives because He loves us. He sees you, ministry sister. God knows where you are, He hears the concerns of your heart, and He wants to accomplish a special part of His plan through you.
Thanks for stopping by today! Please join us again next time as we encourage one another and swap stories of what God is doing in our hearts, in our families, and in the world around us while we’re married to the ministry.