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← Encouragement for Pastors' Wives - Ruby Conway

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Showing Revision 3 created 05/13/2018 by Carrie Spradlin.

  1. Well, this is a huge privilege
  2. and I really don't know why I'm up here
  3. other than God has plans and purposes,
  4. but I feel real inadequate,
  5. especially as I look around this room.
  6. We're all in the same boat.
  7. Mandy, what is it that you just told me?
  8. (from the room)
  9. Women in need of grace
    helping women in need of grace.
  10. Ruby: So that's basically
    what's happening here.
  11. I'm in desperate need of
    grace and we all are.
  12. We're all in the same boat.
  13. I just wanted to share
  14. after considering lots of different things
  15. I would like to say and share
  16. in hopes of encouraging;
  17. I just thought I would share three things
  18. that have been very
    critically helpful for me
  19. that I've learned over the years
  20. and I'm still learning and growing.
  21. Bethany and Michelle, these are things
  22. that you have heard repeatedly from me.
  23. They're very basic fundamental,
  24. can be perhaps like Peter,
  25. just reminders,
  26. and hopefully it will encourage you
  27. to press on in what you already know
  28. and just to excel and abound
  29. in these good things.
  30. So, they these things
    happen to all start with "H's."
  31. It just worked out that way.
    I didn't plan it.
  32. But it's three things
    that I narrowed down.
  33. And I left one out,
  34. but if I have time, I'll include that.
  35. I only have twenty minutes,
    so I'm going to speak really quickly
  36. and make things very
    brief, hopefully concise.
  37. Hopefully, they'll be some help.
  38. It's humility, helper, and heaven.
  39. And those three things
  40. kept in right perspective in our lives
  41. and kept in the forefront of our lives
  42. as pastor's wives -
  43. really it's just as a wife,
  44. it's really as a woman
    if you're married.
  45. We happen to be married to pastors.
  46. So we're called pastor's wives,
  47. but we're all in need again
  48. of the same grace,
  49. whether you're a pastor's wife
  50. or what not, but these three things
  51. apply to any woman across the board.
  52. I think we just have as pastor's wives,
  53. we have unique challenges
  54. and unique blessings as well.
  55. So I considered all these things
  56. in light of what we go through.
  57. And there's a number of things
  58. Dale and I were talking
    about the other night.
  59. I actually looked online for a list
  60. of what pastor's wives struggle with.
  61. I had to look for a list.
  62. I cheated.
  63. (incomplete thought)
  64. You know, we go through
    really difficult things
  65. in different seasons in a church body.
  66. There's division.
  67. There can be slander.
  68. We have to endure sometimes things -
  69. maybe members that are discontent;
  70. they don't like the way the leadership
  71. is making their decisions;
  72. coming to their conclusions;
  73. the way the sermon went;
  74. the color of the carpet.
  75. Whatever people can come up with.
  76. In light of all those things
  77. and also I thought too,
  78. I guess, depending on
    everybody's relationship -
  79. your relationship with your husband -
  80. we know more than anybody else
  81. in the church pretty much.
  82. If you have a plurality of elders,
  83. well, the elders will
    equally know everything,
  84. but I know my husband
    and I are extremely close,
  85. and he shares and we share
  86. and we work very, very closely together.
  87. And so that takes a lot of grace.
  88. And that takes humility.
  89. And to be a good helper,
  90. we have to respond well
  91. in light of all that we know.
  92. And then ultimately,
  93. the last stage being heaven,
  94. we have to keep an eternal perspective
  95. at all times, or else, we can just
  96. be crushed under the burdens that we know
  97. and that we experience and we endure.
  98. Two verses that are very real to me,

  99. and I remember them because they both have
  100. the word "apart" in them.
  101. I'm sure they're very
    familiar to you as well.
  102. John 15:5, "Apart from Me,
    you can do nothing."
  103. And Psalm 16:2, it starts,
  104. "You are my Lord..." the second part,
  105. "I have no good apart from You."
  106. And so, that should be
  107. our disposition,
  108. that we have a real sense of our ability
  109. to do absolutely nothing
  110. apart from Christ.
  111. And that needs to go in really deep
  112. and the Lord is very faithful to cause us
  113. to experience certain things,
  114. big things, daily little trials,
  115. whatever it might be.
  116. In His love as our Father to His children,
  117. He's faithful to bring things
  118. so that this goes deeper and deeper,
  119. that we're nothing and we can do nothing
  120. apart from Him.
  121. So it's very, very, very important
  122. that we live in light of this reality
  123. that Christ is everything.
  124. And in His power,
  125. through the power of the
    Holy Spirit within us,
  126. we can do all things.
  127. All things through Christ
    who strengthens us
  128. I think we heard this morning.
  129. So, another thing in regards to humility

  130. in Romans 15:1, it says,
  131. "We who are strong have an obligation
  132. to bear with the failings of the weak
  133. and not to please ourselves,
  134. and let each of us please his neighbor
  135. for his good to build him up.
  136. For Christ didn't please Himself..."
  137. So, another thing is Christ
  138. being our example to follow.
  139. He was humility personified.
  140. We know we walked perfectly.
  141. Perfectly humble
  142. every moment of His existence.
  143. So, He is our example to imitate.
  144. He was patient. He was longsuffering.
  145. And as pastor's wives, this is the way
  146. we need to deal with all that we know
  147. and all the different situations
  148. that come about in the church life.
  149. And it takes a lot of grace
  150. and it takes a lot of humility
  151. because there can be sometimes
  152. maybe a temptation to be frustrated
  153. when brother or sister
    so-and-so did that again?
  154. Or how could they have said that?
  155. Or how could this have happened?
  156. But we're all in different places,
  157. and we need to really, really be sensitive
  158. to God's dealings with His children,
  159. and never think that we're beyond
  160. doing anything that that person is doing
  161. that you feel perturbed
    or frustrated with.
  162. There's no place in the heart
  163. of a pastor's wife or anybody -
  164. I'm going to say pastor's wives
    because this is who I'm addressing -
  165. but there's no place
    in a Christian's heart
  166. for frustration, impatience, disgust,
  167. when we understand who we are.
  168. It's only by God's grace if
    we're doing anything right
  169. in a moment.
  170. He gives us the strength and the power
  171. to obey and walk obediently in the Spirit.
  172. And that way in our lives,
  173. He gets all the glory.
  174. So we are to live a supernatural life
  175. in the Spirit - not a natural life.
  176. And the natural responses
  177. to the difficulties we encounter
  178. in the ministry would be
  179. frustration - all these sinful responses.
  180. But God is glorified in us
  181. when we respond in a not natural way -
  182. a supernatural way.
  183. And so then He gets all the glory.
  184. And that, again, maybe I'll just go
  185. right into that is how we
    can help our husbands.
  186. The number one ministry that we have

  187. as pastor's wives
  188. is to be our husband's help.
  189. His helper.
  190. And that started way back
    in Genesis, we know.
  191. With Adam, God was very gracious
  192. to bring Adam a helper,
  193. and that is our number one ministry.
  194. Don't let any other women's ministries -
  195. things that are very, very good,
  196. and there's nothing
    wrong with those things.
  197. It's fine to lead a Bible study,
  198. lead a book study,
  199. get together for coffee -
  200. all those things can be in their place
  201. with your husband's approval
  202. after you've prayed about it.
  203. It can be very profitable.
  204. But always filter these types of decisions
  205. with: is this going to take me away
  206. or hinder my ministry
  207. in helping my husband?
  208. Because if you don't have that in order
  209. and you're ministering outside your home
  210. or with other women doing good things,
  211. but your husband is
    left to fend for himself
  212. or he's having to bear more work himself
  213. because you're neglecting the home,
  214. then that's wrong.
  215. Because the number one ministry
  216. is to help your husband.
  217. We're helpers.
  218. And again, we have gifts
  219. and God gives opportunities
  220. and so there's nothing
    wrong in serving and doing.
  221. Women are very useful in the kingdom.
  222. They have gifts just like men do.
  223. But we have to, as wives -
  224. and particularly, I am going to say
  225. particularly pastor's wives,
  226. have to be careful
  227. because our husbands
  228. bear an enormous load,
  229. an enormous amount of weight.
  230. Mack said it last night
  231. and I had that in my notes.
  232. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11:28,
  233. the second part,
    "...the daily pressure on me
  234. of my anxiety for all the churches."
  235. And I see that firsthand in my husband.
  236. It's not just his family -
    the Conway family,
  237. but then, it's the Grace Community Church,
  238. and then the church plants,
  239. and then out-of-the-country works.
  240. These things weigh real heavy.
  241. And even when we have set
  242. a church plant to have their independence
  243. and have a pastor,
  244. it's typically a very young man
  245. that's over that work,
  246. and so he's still very much in need
  247. and very much in contact.
  248. And that's not always the case,
  249. even older, new in the ministry,
  250. whatever it might be,
  251. he gets phone calls almost daily
  252. of things pertaining to what's going on
  253. in all the different church plants.
  254. So I see the weight that my husband bears
  255. on a daily basis.
  256. So I try to keep my life
  257. as simple as possible for his sake
  258. because he is my number one priority.
  259. And I want to maintain that.
  260. There's so much need,
  261. and I do try to reach out to the women
  262. as much as I can
  263. without violating this priority,
  264. or just keeping my husband the priority.
  265. So he's the number one ministry.

  266. And the number one way of helping him
  267. is abiding in Christ,
  268. because it doesn't matter what we're doing
  269. or not doing,
  270. if we're not cultivating a close,
  271. intimate walk with the Lord,
  272. self-controlled, disciplined
    time with the Lord
  273. on a daily basis;
  274. time set aside for
    communing with the Lord;
  275. time set aside for prayer,
  276. for meditation.
  277. You're cultivating a real relationship.
  278. And then you're just walking with the Lord
  279. through the rest of the day,
  280. but it's something very real.
  281. And you're praying all day
  282. as you're thinking of the needs
  283. of your husband, your children,
  284. the church body.
  285. You're just walking, praying,
  286. it's very real.
  287. As Tim and I were talking
  288. with a younger couple yesterday,
  289. they're wondering how
    do you make this real
  290. like through the day?
  291. Well, it takes effort,
  292. like any relationship we know.
  293. I know this is not new to this group here,
  294. but I just want to encourage that
  295. in the busyness of life and ministry
  296. and little ones,
  297. that you maintain and cultivate and grow
  298. in your relationship with the Lord.
  299. And that you enter in to the power
  300. there is to be had
  301. by walking close to the Lord,
  302. and removing unnecessary things
  303. in your life that can hinder you
  304. from this close intimacy with the Lord.
  305. And that really is helping
    your husband tremendously
  306. because in the course of your life
  307. as a pastor's wife, like I said earlier,
  308. there's going to be things that will come
  309. on a daily basis,
  310. and you will respond very differently
  311. to the very challenging things
  312. depending on your walk with the Lord.
  313. And if your husband brings home news
  314. that's difficult to receive -
  315. something that took place in the church -
  316. if you're not walking with the Lord
  317. and it's very fresh in your mind
  318. that God is sovereign,
  319. this is the body of Christ,
  320. this is not our thing,
  321. this is not our doing.
  322. We did not build this church.
  323. We're just observing what God is doing
  324. as He's building and removing
  325. and purging.
  326. As women, we can be very emotional
  327. and we can respond if our thinking
  328. is not right and we
    haven't been in the Word.
  329. And there is something very supernatural
  330. we all know about times in the Word
  331. when you're communing
    with the Lord in prayer
  332. and you leave that time, like I said,
  333. and you have the fragrance
    of Christ following you.
  334. You have this sense that He's with you.
  335. And so when you're faced with things
  336. maybe later in the day,
  337. instead of freaking out,
  338. getting all emotional,
  339. responding in a panic,
  340. you can be a help by staying calm
  341. and thinking biblically
  342. and being an encouragement,
  343. and just that your confidence is in God
  344. and His Word and His promises.
  345. You have to have these things
    very fresh in your mind
  346. in order to be the help
  347. that your husband needs.
  348. And then in Proverbs,

  349. I just thought of Proverbs 31:23.
  350. "Her husband is known in the gates
  351. when he sits among
    the elders of the land."
  352. And I think that's really special
  353. because the wife has a lot to do
  354. with the husband's reputation
  355. and who he is.
  356. He had a reputation in the gates
  357. among the elders because of her.
  358. And so we want to be that type of help
  359. to our husband.
  360. We have a lot of influence
  361. in our husband's life
  362. and we have the power
    if I can use that word
  363. to really build him up
  364. to be a better leader
  365. that he could not be without us.
  366. And so if he has somebody
  367. that's submitting, encouraging, following,
  368. walking close with the Lord,
  369. helping in that way,
  370. he can be a better leader than he could be
  371. like I said without us.
  372. And conversely, we can also
  373. crush our husbands.
  374. We have to be very, very careful
  375. how we communicate,
  376. what we communicate with our husbands.
  377. If, again, like what we say
  378. should be filtered though:
  379. what does God's Word say?
  380. What does God's Word say?
  381. If you're going to be a help,
  382. you're going to need to
    be a woman of wisdom
  383. and wisdom comes from God.
  384. So, we want to have our thinking
  385. aligned with God's Word and His will.
  386. And that will truly, truly help him.
  387. And the final H was heaven.

  388. Again, as we go through the different -
  389. I'm speaking a lot on the challenges
  390. and the difficulties, but we all know here
  391. that there are unspeakable joys
  392. being part of the ministry as helpers
  393. to our husbands.
  394. I feel spoiled - the blessings
  395. that we get to be involved in,
  396. while you do know a lot
  397. of every single person in the church
  398. and their struggles,
  399. you also know of all the joys
  400. and the victories
  401. and the counseling sessions
  402. that turn out with a happy ending
  403. that nobody else knows about.
  404. And so we bear the weight,
  405. but we also enjoy the
    time of rejoicing as well.
  406. These are again very familiar Scriptures.
  407. Colossians 3:2 that we're to set our minds
  408. on things above, not on earthly things.
  409. Philippians 3:20 - our
    citizenship is in heaven.
  410. And we're eagerly awaiting
    our Savior from there -
  411. the Lord Jesus Christ.
  412. And that is where we have to, again,
  413. very intentionally set our mind
  414. on things above.
  415. We are living in the realm of sight here
  416. and the "seen," but we know that
  417. that which is seen is transient.
  418. It's passing.
  419. And so we have to keep our minds
  420. on things above.
  421. So no matter how difficult things can be;
  422. how challenging,
  423. whatever we endure,
  424. there is an end.
  425. Tim spoke on Wednesday here
  426. the verse that says from Romans,
  427. "...rejoicing in hope."
  428. Like we of all people,
  429. out of the mass of humanity,
  430. this little remnant
  431. that Christ shed His blood for,
  432. we truly have reason and cause
  433. to rejoice - to rejoice in the Lord.
  434. And to have a hope, like Tim was saying.
  435. Everybody has a hope.
  436. They're hoping in this,
    that, and the other
  437. that is guaranteed to lead them
  438. to disappointment
  439. until they find Christ.
  440. And then that's when we're truly satisfied
  441. like we heard about today.
  442. Satisfaction can only be found in Christ
  443. and that's what we should be experiencing
  444. in a very real way every day.
  445. Our mind, our heart, and affections
  446. set on things above where Christ is,
  447. where our inheritance is.
  448. And when we do have that mindset,
  449. again, life is much easier to deal with.
  450. When you think, we're
    just passing through,
  451. there is a reward at the end.
  452. Don't feel like the way
    you're living right now
  453. making the sacrifices
    that you are making
  454. and suffering to whatever
    degree you're suffering -
  455. we all go through different things
  456. to different degrees, different seasons.
  457. But it's not for naught.
  458. There is a reward at the end.
  459. In fact, I was just reading this morning
  460. (incomplete thought).
  461. I'm going to just pass because it will
  462. take time to remember where I read it.
  463. But anyway, it's basically,

  464. we're heading towards a judgment day.
  465. And we will receive what is due.
  466. Because of Christ, we can really
  467. look forward to that day
  468. and live in light of that day.
  469. And we know that God has told us
  470. this life is just a vapor.
  471. It's here and then gone.
  472. So, we need to live in light of that.
  473. Not to waste time.
  474. We live in a day and age
  475. with all this technology
  476. and electronics and social media
  477. where it is such an enormous temptation
  478. to waste time.
  479. And we all really need
    to be really careful
  480. to redeem our time
  481. and be good stewards of our time.
  482. The time we have has been given to us.
  483. Like, we all have an appointment.
  484. We came in and we're going out.
  485. So we want to be faithful
  486. with the time that we have.
  487. I don't know what time I started.
  488. Is it time? Has it been 20?
  489. Real quick, the last H,

  490. in light of time.
  491. Real quick, other Scriptures,
  492. 2 Peter 3:11 in light of what we know
  493. that everything's burning up.
  494. We're heading towards
    everything burning up.
  495. What sort of people ought we to be
  496. to live lives of holiness and godliness?
  497. And 2 Corinthians 4:17 -
  498. we're familiar with this.
  499. Light, momentary affliction -
  500. whatever we're going through,
  501. it's preparing for us an eternal
  502. weight of glory beyond all comparison.
  503. So there's those contrasts
  504. of light vs. weight
  505. and momentary vs. eternal.
  506. So we have to live in light of that
  507. and not get caught up in
    the moment of difficulties.
  508. Like, this is so hard.
  509. No, actually, it feels that way,
  510. but compared to what we're heading to
  511. it's light and momentary.
  512. And we have to have this perspective
  513. very clear in our minds.
  514. And 1 Peter 1:4
  515. We're heading towards an inheritance
  516. that is imperishable, undefiled,
  517. and unfading, kept in heaven for us.
  518. And then lastly, Hebrews 6:10,
  519. "For God is not unrighteous
  520. to forget your work and labor of love
  521. which you have shown
  522. toward His name and that you have
  523. ministered to the saints and do minister."
  524. So, that's very encouraging
  525. that God remembers everything.
  526. Our deeds follow us.
  527. Everything that we do,
  528. there is coming a day
  529. when there will be a reward
  530. and it's okay to be reward motivated
  531. for what you're doing right now
  532. because in the end, the reward is Christ.
  533. And so, do everything you can now
  534. to get the most then.
  535. There is a reality to that.
  536. Real quickly, the last H was holiness.

  537. And I think we as pastor's wives -
  538. sometimes, a pastor's wife can
  539. maybe not really appreciate the position
  540. of being an example
  541. as a wife, as a mother, as a family,
  542. as a husband and wife.
  543. And sometimes it can even be something
  544. that a woman can resent.
  545. Like, why do they look at us all the time?
  546. Why are they always observing us?
  547. Eagle eyes always on us.
  548. But I think that's good.
  549. I think that our husbands are leaders
  550. and they should be examples,
  551. and there should be, obviously,
  552. a level of maturity where
    they are examples,
  553. not perfect, but exemplary,
  554. worthy of imitating.
  555. And I think in like manner
  556. that pastor's wife
    should also be striving.
  557. Every woman, like I said
    in the very beginning,
  558. should be striving for this.
  559. But because we're in
    a leadership position,
  560. I think that it's a loving thing to do,
  561. to live in such a way -
  562. and we have a very young church,
  563. 20's, 30's, young single, young married,
  564. young mothers, young everything.
  565. And so I count it a privilege
  566. to strive for that life that I can say
  567. follow me or imitate me
  568. because I know it's all of grace.
  569. And I know that I've made
    countless mistakes to this point.
  570. And God has been very faithful.
  571. So, I think that it's like I said
  572. a very loving thing for us
    to live in such a way.
  573. And even in the mistakes that we make,
  574. we can be examples in how we respond
  575. in the mistakes that we make.
  576. So it's not like we have this pressure
  577. to live these perfect lives,
  578. because everybody's watching us.
  579. It's not like that at all.
  580. We love the Lord Jesus.
  581. And so we want to please and obey Him
  582. and in so doing, our lives
    should be examples
  583. and an encouragement
  584. that wow, you can go through a trial
  585. and actually have peace.
  586. You can go through a trial
  587. and remain unwavering in your faith
  588. and have confidence in the Lord.
  589. And you can lose a loved one
  590. and grieve well and glorify God
  591. in doing all these things.
  592. So, those are the four things
  593. that have been extremely helpful for me
  594. that God's taught me
  595. and continues to teach me.