5 Misconceptions of the Pastor’s Wife

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.


Misconception #1

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.

Misconception #2

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.

Misconception #3

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.

Misconception #4

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.

Misconception #5

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.

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March – Pastor’s Wife Appreciation Month!

Pastor's Wife Appreciation Month
This just in!  Pastor’s Wife Appreciation Month is a 31-day online campaign to encourage the wives of men in ministry. Show your pastor’s wife how much you appreciate her by sharing the images below on social media with the hashtag  #PastorsWifeAppreciation, and by telling your own stories about how God has used your pastor’s wife in your life and in the lives of those around you.

 

 

Click below each image to share it with your friends!
#PastorsWifeAppreciation

 

 

 

 

 

Not Bilbo, Not Frodo, but My Babe :)

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Today may be the fictional birthday of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, but that’s not why today is one of the most special days of the year in our family.

Today, 7 years ago, is the day my wife became my wife, and I am eternally thankful and grateful for her. I love you Holly, I’m humbled that God would give you to me, you are the best thing besides Himself He’s ever given me. I’m thankful for these past 7 years, and I’m looking forward to the next 77×7 🙂

All Marriage Begins in Joy and Ends in Tragedy

Insightful piece from Carl Trueman:

When I married a young couple in my congregation a few years ago, I commented in the sermon that all human marriages begin with joy but end in tragedy. Whether it is divorce or death, the human bond of love is eventually torn apart. The marriage of Christ and his church, however, begins with tragedy and ends with a joyful and loving union which will never be rent asunder. There is joy to which we point in our worship, the joy of the Lamb’s wedding feast. But our people need to know that in this world there will be mourning. Not worldly mourning with no hope. But real mourning nonetheless, and we must make them ready for that.

To read the rest, which I recommend you do, click here.

Happy Birthday My Love!

1511175_10100701969355043_1700252073_nToday is a wonderful day!  Today my wife Holly, turns 30.

I have trouble finding words to express what I feel toward you Holly.  The best I can say is you are “home” to me, and I love you dearly.  So much grace, such sturdy truth, such marvelous motherhood, and such a wondrous wife.  You have taught me much just by watching you do life in close proximity to me.  You say what no one else dares say to me, comfort me when I’m hurting, encourage me when I am riddled with doubt, call courage out of me when I can’t seem to find it, and have shown me what it means to trust God, living humbly and joyfully under the shadow of His wings.

For these things I am eternally grateful Holly, I love you, always and forever.  Praise God I get you, and praise Him that we get to dance in minefields together all our days.

Why I Married a White Girl

I need a break from blogging for a bit.  Thus, for the rest of the week I’m going to be posting up some of my favorite blogs I’ve read over the past week.  Enjoy, see you next Monday!

Good post from one of my favorite gospel hip-hop artists Trip Lee over on the Gospel Coalition Blog

Whenever I post pictures of my family on social media, the responses are fun. Most common are “Your son is so handsome!” or “What a beautiful family!” But one of the other frequent responses is “Is your wife white?” People ask me at concerts sometimes too. The answer is yes. My wife is a mix of Hungarian, Italian, and Polish—which to most people just means she’s white. This is irrelevant to some, but shocking or even disappointing to others. I don’t think anyone should be shocked or disappointed by interracial marriages, but I still wanted to address why I married outside my race.

The decision to marry someone from a different ethnic background wasn’t tough for me. I never sat down and wrote out a pro-con list. (Though, if I did, the fact my wife has never seen an episode of Martin would be in the con category.) I didn’t agonize over it or seek counsel about whether it was okay. I was convinced she was the woman for me to marry, even though she wasn’t black.

Some would never consider marrying someone who didn’t share their ethnicity, so let me tell you why I did.

Expectations

I always expected to marry a black woman. I found women of all backgrounds beautiful, but black girls were my “preference.” When I arrived on my college campus in 2006, though, I wasn’t looking for a wife at all. I just wanted to grow in my faith and get a good education. My first album had just come out, so I had plenty of other things to focus on. But as I met people at the school, a sophomore named Jessica really caught my attention, and we became friends.

We ran in the same circles and ended up joining the same church, so we saw each other a lot. And the more I got to know her, the more I was drawn to her. She really loved Jesus, and she had this childlike willingness to do whatever he asked. Her compassion for needy people challenged me, and she had a humble heart that responded to the Word. Over that first year I watched her sacrifice countless hours of her time serving at our church. On top of all of that, I loved being around her. Our conversation, whether serious or silly, always flowed with ease. So I eventually started to ask myself, Should I marry this girl?

Preferences

Jessica didn’t look like I expected my future wife to look, but that didn’t matter to me. Don’t get me wrong, I thought she was beautiful from the first time I met her. And I was never opposed to marrying a white girl. I just didn’t think I would. But as I grew in my faith and my heart began to change, my preferences started changing too. My main preference was that my wife be godly, and Jessica was. So I wifed her.

Never for a moment did I feel like I was settling. It feels more like settling to overlook a godly woman merely because of her ethnicity. I never wanted to value my preferences for a wife over what I needed in a wife.

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with having preferences, but we have to hold them with an open hand. I know certain people who overlook a potential godly spouse because they don’t fit some random preference. Some of our preferences really don’t matter that much. Some may even be foolish. Needless to say, we have to submit all of them to Scripture.

When you and your spouse are in the middle of conflict, skin tone doesn’t matter. Body type and social status seem insignificant. You want your spouse to be godly and humble. And as my wife and I begin to raise our first child, I couldn’t be more grateful for her. She’s an amazing mom and godly influence on my son—neither of which has anything to do with her ethnic background. It’s okay to prefer certain things in a spouse, but we have to submit our desires to what God wants for us in a spouse. What I wanted and needed most was a godly partner, and that’s exactly what he provided.

Trip Lee is a hip-hop artist with Reach Records and a pastoral assistant at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. He is the author of The Good Life and blogs at Can I Brag On My Lord?. You can follow Trip on Twitter.

Confessions of a Nagging Wife

Marci Turner, over at the Resurgence Blog has written an interesting and timely piece on womanhood.  I’ve put it all here for you below.

I was—and even now can be—a nagging wife.

“A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike; to restrain her is to restrain the wind or to grasp oil in one’s right hand” (Proverbs 27:15–16).

Solomon laments about the nagging wife and counsels each of us that our behavior can be torturous to our husbands. Like the infrequent and unexpected rain that used to leak through the concrete roof of my house in the Arabian Gulf, the way I would approach my husband overwhelmed him and tested his patience.

See, I was that “quarrelsome” (ESV), “contentious” (NKJV), and “nagging” (MSG) wife. When my husband failed to lead our family in the early years of our marriage, I nagged him to death, thinking that would change his heart. I forgot that only Jesus could. My constant reproach further damaged our relationship. Of course, I never took the Bible’s admonition to correct my own behavior; my husband was the one sinning, and I needed to tell him about it.

This verse makes us bristle because of its truth. And we are tempted to sin in defense by pointing our quarrelsome finger at our husbands and our God. “My husband is not X. He is not doing Y. If I don’t remind him, correct him, challenge him, how will he ever grow?”

What our nagging means

My contentious ways revealed my heart. I doubted a sovereign God and my place in his redemption story. I doubted that my husband even on his best days could lead me or our family better than I could. And although I would never admit it, my nagging revealed my deep-seated and sinful belief that somehow I could change my husband. I had given up on the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. I falsely believed my words had that kind of power.

I nagged my husband to death, thinking that would change his heart. I forgot that only Jesus could.

My quarreling also covered up my weaknesses. Could I be that vulnerable with another human being? Could I trust my husband that completely? I was young and quite full of myself, and my quarreling served as a way to be heard. Not that my husband never asked my opinion, but I was terrified of the possibility that he wouldn’t. So, I was quick to dish out my thoughts and drown him in my opinions.

I was that unrestrained woman. When pushed, we unrestrained women can respond in sin with fight or flight. In those early years, every challenge, obstacle, or question of me was a push, and I fought back with everything I had. Although Jesus had saved me from eternal hell, I was stiff-necked and hard-hearted to relinquish all to him. The fierce independence I so valued damaged my relationships with the two most important men in my life—my husband and my Jesus.

Are you a quarrelsome wife? Do you fight and contend more than you seek peace and consensus? Do you bristle at this verse in Proverbs?

The fierce independence I so valued damaged my relationships with the two most important men in my life—my husband and my Jesus.

Many dislike Solomon’s comparison of women to dripping water. Some think it too demeaning, too sexist. In fact, one translation even changes the wording for wife to spouse to soften the blow. The wording once offended me, and here’s why: when you’re unrepentant, the truth stings.

God redeems our independence

But God saves through Jesus. He changes hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit. Those days of my quarrelsome ways are, for the most part, behind me. God is changing me. God is changing my husband. And my God, who never changes, redeemed and is redeeming my fierce independence and my quick tongue.

Oddly, there is great freedom in what the world calls limiting. In my redeemed, submitted-to-Christ marriage, I am free—free of the fear of failing at roles God never intended for me to play, free from burdens God never intended me to bear. And when I stopped demanding my voice be heard and my opinions considered, my husband turned to hear my counsel even more. Because my words were now void of self and filled with the Spirit.

God, who never changes, redeemed and is redeeming my fierce independence and my quick tongue.

I still have moments of relapse. For some of us who are mothers, our nagging is an unconscious failure to turn off our mom switch. Most of my days, I’m reminding someone to do something. “Brush your teeth.” “Clean your room.” “Get ready.” “Finish the science project.” “Put your dirty dishes up.” And on and on and on. When my husband reenters our environment at day’s end, my “mommyness” can overpower.

So here are five effective habits I’ve learned along the way. Keep in mind that this list may be equally challenging for men, as these are not just women’s issues, but human issues:

1. Watch what you say and how you say it

In sin, I say words I shouldn’t. I choose harsh words, destructive words. I speak before I think, and my mouth reveals my heart. Other times, my words lack provocation, but my tone gives me away. At our house, we joke that while we all may not speak in tongues we can, unfortunately, speak in tones. If you struggle with word choice, tone, or both, when speaking to your husband, ask Jesus to sanctify your mouth and take every thought captive (2 Cor. 10:5). If your mindset leans toward critique, think on the good things about your husband and your life in Christ (Phil. 4:8).

2. Remember “two stars and a wish”

We are our spouse’s helpmate (Gen. 2:18). Immediately following his description of the contentious wife, Solomon says, “Iron sharpens iron and so one man sharpens another” (Prov. 27:16). We know our husbands in ways no other person ever will, and we have great influence over them. My husband and I each want to make the other better. One of my daughter’s teachers coached her kids during a writers’ workshop to give “two stars and a wish” in response to another’s work—two things they liked and one suggestion for improvement. When my husband asks me to evaluate his decisions or even edit his writing, I give two stars for every wish.

3. Ask a question

When I need to remind him of an appointment or commitment, I ask my husband a question. “Will you be able to pick up from soccer tonight?” comes across better than “Don’t forget to . . .”

4. Say it with a smile

My dear friend often offers opinions contrary to her husband’s with a smile and a chipper tone. Of course, I rarely see her in public without a smile and a chipper tone, but I’ve realized that even if I have to force a smile and upbeat attitude, it helps. And my husband sees right through it because he knows that’s not my way. “You’re sounding like her,” he’ll laughingly say. And he appreciates my awkward effort.

5. Bide your time

There’s a time for every purpose under heaven (Eccles. 3:1). There’s a time to offer advice and a time to wait. In the early years of our marriage, I didn’t know this, and I would say the right things at the wrong time with either no effect or disastrous ones. How do you know when is the right time? What is work like for him right now? What pressures does he face? Look in his eyes and read his mental and emotional state. You will know if it’s not the right time.

This much I know is true: the right time to offer advice or critique is never during the heat of the battle. Your role at that moment is to stand by him in unity. Your husband needs to know that in the thick of the fight you are fighting with him, not against him. The time for analysis and constructive comments will come days, weeks, or months later when the crisis is behind him.

“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down” (Proverbs 14:1, NIV).

For My Holly – I Love You Babe :)

Today is Valentines day, but all of you know that. What most of you don’t know about is that it was this day back in 2007 that I asked Holly Harrell to marry me, and she said yes!

In these five and half years we’ve been married we’ve had astonishing highs and horrendous lows. The highs were better than we’d ever imagined, and the lows have been lower than we’d ever dreamed possible. Through both these highs and lows God has smiled upon me by giving me Holly, and I can honestly say that because of our marriage I know God better, I know Holly better, and I know myself better, three things for which I am eternally thankful.

In honor of my beautiful wife on this valentines day I want to dedicate a poem to her. I love you Holly.

Although the fig tree blossom not,
And all the vines of our small plot
Be barren, and the olive fail,
The sheep grow weak and heifers frail,
We will rejoice in God, my love,
And take our pleasures from above:
The Lord, our God, shall be our strength
And give us life, whatever length
On earth he please, and make our feet
Like mountain deer, to rise and cleat
The narrow path for man and wife
That rises steep and leads to life.

Thank you for everything babe! I love you always and forever….

Adam