Should First Ladies or Pastors’ Wives work?
Good question. Well, as long as I can remember, I have had a job. My very first gig was shoveling popcorn into AMC movie bags at the tender age of 14. I learned back then, work can give one a sense of accomplishment, affirm skills and bring independence. When I married my husband, I can’t tell you how many people asked me when I planned to quit my job (WHEN not if) and become a first lady of leisure. One of my friends actually went so far as to ask: “should pastors’ wives even work?” My answer was something along the lines of “I don’t know if they should, but I will”. My new husband was OK with it and so was I.
Me – In charge of NOTHING
God had another plan. Then again, He usually does, doesn’t He? The Bible says “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” That’s Proverbs 16:9.
Well, shortly after I got married, I was pregnant. The pregnancy brought some health complications. But, I kept working. The CEO of my company even said “Teri, slow down”.
I kept working.
After all, I had my plans.
Then, God really put His foot down. All of the sudden, the nonprofit where I worked began to have financial issues. Not long after, my job was eliminated. A few years after I left, the nonprofit dissolved entirely.
I wasn’t working any longer.
You probably figured it out sentences ago: God didn’t want me to work in that season of my life. I’m so slow sometimes. *chuckle*
Looking back, I’m thankful for God’s sovereignty and wisdom. Removing me from the workplace was a good idea. My marriage was fairly new, my son (from a failed marriage) was 13 and adjusting to our new lives and I had a brand new church family. God knew I needed that season to acclimate and settle in. During that time, I even stepped down from leading the ministers’ wives because the conflict within it wasn’t worth my energy. I needed to settle into my new life. It was high time I followed HIS plan and I knew it.
Losing my job was devastating, but it taught me denial is not always forever.
God said YES!
That season has been long over and I now enjoy the satisfaction of working outside my home.
You see, my husband is pretty well known throughout my community. If people don’t know him, they know the big church on that corner. His anointing is massive and so is his personality. Working my job adds to my own sense of contribution and identity. I find pleasure in that. Does that make sense?
For me, personally, I bring more glory to Him in the workforce. I love meeting new people. I love sharing life with them. For some, I love changing their perspectives of what a Christian is; how one looks and behaves. I also love the way the Holy Spirit tests me in the real world. Some tests I pass, others I fail – but I’m definitely growing because I’m in the “real” world.
My work (as a training manager for a national nonprofit) gives me so much satisfaction. It’s my life call (the training part) and fits perfectly into my lifestyle. I can even attend funerals and still make hospital visits.
I’m not you and you’re not me.
This is a good time to remind you I’m speaking about my specific life experience in this blog. I’m not comparing myself to you and you should not compare yourself to me. God has a very individual plan for each of us. You must find yours. Maybe, in this life season, He has called you to work at home. Trust me, if you’re home, you are working – HARD! So, please do not misunderstand my journey for yours.
What you do is not who you are.
Too many women rest their identity on the title “First Lady” or “Minister’s Wife”. I’ve met people who tell me they are a first lady before they even share their name. It’s usually minutes into the conversation before they know I am one too. In fact, sometimes, I don’t even tell them. I’m so glad the Holy Spirit taught me my sufficiency is in Him and not in some silly title that’s not even in the Bible. My confidence is in the Lord and the Lord alone. It’s in the strengths He gave me to bring glory to His Kingdom. Those strengths usually have very little to do with any title.
If God removes my husband from being a pastor tomorrow, I am still Teri. I will still be me and just as valuable to the Savior.
Whatever God has for you to do; don’t put confidence in that thing. Park it in the Lord Jesus Christ alone – not in a title. You’re so much more than that. Titles come and titles go: only who you are in Christ matters.
I’m so glad God enlarged my battlefield to the traditional workforce. I enjoy the sense of accomplishment and the sufficiency of earning my own salary. On some level, I think my husband loves my “go getter” attitude too.
This season may end for me one day. I’m preparing for it. Then, who knows what God has ahead. I’m sure He will use the experiences, talents and relationships I’m gleaning now to do something great for Him in the future- at least I hope so.
So, should first ladies or ministers’ wives work outside the home? For me, that’s a yes. What is the answer for you?