This is guest post by Lauren Chandler and is part of Pastor’s Wife Appreciation Month. Lauren’s husband, Matt, is the author of The Explicit Gospel and serves as lead teaching pastor at The Village Church in Dallas, Texas.
You have it all together. You’ve worked through all your issues. Sure, you may struggle, but not with anything major (whatever that may be).
Oh, sister, may I encourage you? On this side of heaven, we will always have battle to do with our flesh. Will he give relief at times? Yes! But “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). We are off the hook—not to sin so that grace may abound—but to freely live a life pleasing to God that was bought by the perfect blood of Christ, not our own blood, sweat, and tears to “get it right.”
Three years into Matt’s position as pastor of The Village Church, I entered a twelve-step program. Let me quell the questions: it wasn’t because he became a pastor that I “worked the steps.” I needed to recover from the addiction of being a good girl, of performing my way into God’s good graces. I would have said with my lips that salvation is by grace through faith alone. I even thought I believed this at my core. But in my heart of hearts, I functioned as if it all depended on me. With my life I said, “God, thanks for saving me but I’ve got it from here.”
On a Thursday night, in front of people who only knew me as their pastor’s wife, I stood up with others to say, “There’s something the Lord is asking me to surrender.” The weight of what people would think of me nearly glued me to my seat, preventing me from standing.
But guess what I felt the moment I rose to my feet? Weightlessness. Relief. And tears. Lots and lots of tears. In all my worry about what the people of The Village would think of me—the gasps I imagined, the whispers—what I found instead was fellowship. I wasn’t the untouchable and unrelatable. I became real to them.
Really in need of a real Savior.
Your gifting should match your husband’s.
Although you and your husband are one flesh, you are not the same person. The way God made you is different than how he made your husband. God knew what he was doing in putting the two of you together. he doesn’t make mistakes.
By God’s grace, be the best “you” you can be. Do you enjoy hosting people in your home? Do you love to teach? Do you come alive when you just get to sit across from another woman pouring out her heart?
Matt is an exceptional preacher and teacher. I have received and accepted multiple invitations to speak and teach but it is not a burning desire within me. I find myself saying “no” more often than “yes.” To lead worship, on the other hand, is something I eagerly desire to do. It excites me to lead five-hundred people in song. Matt loves to sing but, trust me, you don’t want him leading worship in song.
I am not him and he is not me, praise Jesus.
You can kiss having close friends goodbye.
There is wisdom in carefully choosing to whom you disclose your hopes, desires, and struggles, especially when doing so sheds light on your husband’s flaws. Not everyone can handle such information with grace and maturity. Don’t buy the lie, though, that you can have no close friends. This will only isolate you and your husband from good fellowship with other believers. Everyone in your church should know that you and your husband are sinners, not because you blatantly participate in sinful acts but because of 1 John 1:8.
My closest friends for the past twelve years have all either been married to staff, on staff, or covenant members of our church. I have dear friends who are also in ministry in other cities, states, and even countries, but there is something special to having day-in, day-out friends. They see the inconsistencies in my life and are able to speak into it.
Have there been awkward seasons and disagreements? Yes! But God’s steadfast love has shone the most brilliantly when we addressed the awkward and generously forgave and loved one another in the middle of the mess.
You must be friends with everyone.
How is this working for you? Even if you’re not a pastor’s or minister’s wife, how deeply are you able to know everyone with whom you come into contact? It’s impossible to be the same kind of friend to everyone. You can try it but most—if not all—of your relationships will be an inch deep. We are limited! It’s a practice in humility to acknowledge that we can’t be everyone’s close friend and must trust the Lord to meet that need in us and them.
That being said, if your friend circle is so tight that it hasn’t changed in years, do some examination. Is your group of friends hospitable or alienating? You can’t control what others think but you can be warm, amiable, and willing to be flexible, guarding against trading depth for width.
Your kids are the most sanctified in your church.
Our faith is not an inheritable trait. Although our homes should model what Scripture outlines for a family, our children are individuals with their own faiths. As my husband often says, we can gather all the kindling we can find around their hearts: family devotions, talking of Scripture as we go, modeling forgiveness by asking for it and giving it freely, expressing our own need for the Savior, and praying for their salvation. But, it takes a movement of the Holy Spirit to ignite the flame of faith.
Our kids are like anyone else’s. They are going to fail. They will choose poorly. My kids are at church a lot. They know all the nooks and crannies, all the stashes of mints and crackers. The staff knows them and they know the staff. This comfort factor can often get them in trouble. Unlike most of the non-staff kids at church, they let their guards down. They don’t feel the need to be on their best behavior. Although we train them to be respectful, they have their moments—as we all do. They’re in need of Jesus as much as the next kid.
Lauren Chandler is the wife of Matt Chandler, lead teaching pastor at The Village Church in Dallas, Texas and president of Acts 29, a global church-planting network. They have three lovely (and lively) children. Whether writing stories, singing songs, or making her home a place to linger, Lauren enjoys creating beautiful and meaningful spaces where people may encounter the Lord of steadfast love imaged perfectly through Jesus. When she’s not singing, writing, or spending time with her family, she can be found on the back of a horse.