Soon after Greg began working in ministry, he became the singles pastor at our church. That was a lot of fun for us because they loved to go on trips!
We were asked to help lead a team from our group to Argentina where we were going to be helping a local church construct a building and do some personal evangelism visits in the community. This was going to be our first time out of the country and I remember all the preparation that went into getting ready for that trip.
- meeting weekly for training
- getting a passport
- wishing I had taken Spanish in college instead of French
- fretting about getting my period while we were gone
- begging my prayer partners to pray with me about getting my period
- worrying about the foreign food
- buying lots of pop tarts, applesauce, and peanut butter crackers to pack in my suitcase
- NOT worrying about who was going to be watching our children while we were gone
(After all, our two moms lived nearby. Both of them were mission-supporting deacon’s wives who I knew would LOVE to keep our kids while we were off doing important ministry work!)
I also vividly remember the frank conversation my mother had with me about my priorities. This season of raising young children, she said, was NOT the season for me to be running off to foreign countries. Although she agreed to help watch them for that Argentina trip, she warned that she would not keep them again for me to go globe trotting on foreign mission trips every year with my husband.
And I also remember NOT liking her attitude about that whole situation!
But God used that wisdom from my mother to help me learn some powerful principles about WHAT I should be doing as a ministry wife and WHEN I should be doing it.
So what about you?
Are you frazzled and stressed out because there are too many expectations and not enough You to go around?
Many of us feel pulled in lots of directions from
All. the. Needs.
On. Top. of.
our family and work responsibilities.
It can be very tempting for us to want to support our husbands and serve our church families by trying to fill as many holes as we can. We…
play the piano teach Sunday school visit the homebound sing in the choir
direct Awana chaperone youth trips mentor younger women have jobs lead the praise team
plan fellowship events clean the church manage housework and carpool schedules homeschool
Oh my! This frantic lifestyle is a recipe for disaster, NOT for delight!
Help! How do we get off this crazy train?
Look to the truth of scripture, specifically Proverbs 31:30-31, at Mrs. P31—the housewife that we love to hate! But she is the pattern that God gives us for our roles as excellent, virtuous wives. What are her priorities?
1. Her hubby
Mrs. P31 pays serious attention to her husband. The Bible says she can be trusted with his heart, with his children, with his household. She’s doing him good all the days of her life.
Is your husband your top priority?
Not his ministry or his job, but your man. If you’re too busy or frazzled or exhausted from taking care of all the things besides him, you may need to shift your priorities.
2. Her household
This busy lady makes sure things around the house run smoothly. She prepares … plans ahead … delegates household responsibilities … contributes to the family’s well-being with her business ventures. Mrs. P31 is productive and she’s proud of her work.
Is your household a delightful, well-oiled machine or is it just a hot mess?
It’s hard to do our husbands good if there’s no food in the fridge, if all his clothes are dirty, and the bills are piled on the kitchen table.
3. Her ministry
After she’s met her family’s needs, Mrs. P31 ministers to others. Extending her hand to the poor. Stretching her hands to the needy. But isn’t it interesting that only one verse is dedicated to her service and ministry to others? Scripture mentions it, so it is an important part of who she is. But then the chapter goes right back into more discussion on her investment in her family.
4. Her attitude
Obviously, this lady is a woman of of high character, but she chooses her attitude pictured here in scripture: chooses to work with delight … wears strength and dignity … walks nobly … looks to the future with confidence … smiles … teaches with kindness.
5. Her foundation
Her vibrant relationship with the Lord is evident throughout this whole chapter. How else can she love her husband and do him good and not evil all the days of her life? How else can she teach her children with kindness, manage her home, run a business, and minister to others—all with a delightful heart? The living power of God within her.
Take-aways from Mrs P31:
Evaluate your situation
Do you let church expectations wear you out? Are all your “responsibilities” causing your personal time with the Lord to suffer? Does your husband suffer from a lack of your attention? Are your kids or your house out of control? If so, it’s time to let some things go. It’s impossible for you to do it all, so stop killing yourself trying to do it all. It’s okay to say no and leave some things for another season.
Remember Jesus did not heal everyone. Jesus did not fix everything that was broken in the world. Sometimes Jesus walked away.
Talk with your husband
Be honest with him: “I understand that I am not putting you first” or “I want to get control of the house” or “What can we set aside for now so I can focus on our main priorities for a while?” I’ve learned to depend on my husband’s wisdom in what I take on because he knows that I can get overwhelmed really easily—even if I’m doing things that I’m good at doing. When things unexpected real life happens, we can get overwhelmed. We are more delightful when there is some margin and some cushion built into our schedules. Discuss with him what your family’s priorities are at this season of your life. Agree to let some things slide so you can focus on the priorities y’all establish together.
Incorporate these priorities into your daily schedule
Use some type of type management form or system to establish certain times to execute tasks that support your family priorities. Several years ago Greg helped me develop a form where I marked off blocks of time for certain projects. Click HERE to download this free weekly schedule. I still use this tool to stay on track even now in the empty nest stage because managing my time is not my superpower! Some people use a timer throughout the day. There are lots of tricks for managing your to-do lists and your time so find a system that works for you. Your goal is to relieve stress by getting done what you need to get done instead of wasting time on what you don’t need to be doing.
Turn to an older godly woman, NOT Google
Find a godly woman farther along in life than you, share some of your struggles with her, and ask her for advice. How can I make your husband a priority in this stage of life? How do I get my kids to help out around the house? How can I gracefully bow out of some of these church commitments that I have going on? These are NOT questions for Google. The internet won’t solve this problem for you, it will only exacerbate the problem! (Two hours and 72 TikTok videos later, you’re still not going to have dinner on the table and nobody in the house is going to be delighted.)
Stay in the Word
Even if you just write a Bible verse on an index card to keep in your pocket all day and pull out occasionally to read and meditate on. Psalm 1:1-3 reminds us we are blessed when our delight is in the law of the Lord and we meditate on it day and night. Like a tree planted by streams of water, we will yield fruit in its season, our leaves will not wither, and we will prosper in whatever we do. Who doesn’t want a life that looks like that? To be firmly planted by streams of water. Yielding fruit in the appropriate season. Prospering and not withering. What a delightful picture of life in the Word of God!
Thanks for hanging out with me today. You are in my prayers and on my heart as I learn from the Lord how to encourage you. Hopefully what we’ve about today blesses you and really helps you to find delight in being married to the ministry!