YOUR PASTOR’S WIFE AND HER CHILDREN..
BY PENNY WATKINS
The chubby 11 year-old pastor’s daughter fell into her mother’s arms crying. The child was again the recipient of an adult’s careless remark about her weight. Not all of the church members were teasing her, but it only takes a few rude comments from two or three adults to damage a youngster’s fragile. In most cases, a child can receive teasing from his friends without harm, but children instinctively know that adults are supposed to be their protectors. When an adult teases an adolescent, the youngster begins to believe that he or she has a problem that sets them apart from other children.
The mother was alarmed when the same child put herself on a strict diet at age 12 and lost all of her excess weight in a matter of
weeks. Although she maintained her slim weight in a matter of weeks. Although she maintained her slim weight through high school, the young lady still felt overweight. The pastor’s wife repeatedly reassured her daughter that she looked wonderful, but the girl’s mind would not allow her to believe it. The insensitive remarks made to her as a youngster were as fresh as if they were spoken yesterday.
At age 18, she moved to another state to attend college. As many students do, she gained a few pounds. Upon realizing that the scale showed a ten-pound weight gain, she began to suffer from assorted disorders connected to bulimia. She was rapidly becoming an emotionally and physically sick young woman.
The teenager discerned that she was stepping across an invisible line. Not only did she fear for her life, but she worried that bulimia would destroy her soul. She loved God and wanted to please Him, but she also knew that He could not possibly be happy with such self-abuse.
A pastor’s wife is like any mother who loves her children. She grieves when she knows that her child is suffering psychologically at
the hands of others, especially adults. She may tell her son that people are teasing, they do not mean it, or to pay no attention to
them, but in her heart, she is disturbed and hurt by their insensitivity to her child.
Yet, the pastor’s wife is different in other respects. First, she has to be very careful that she does not develop a wrong spirit toward
the offending party. Her actions must be weighed when she is around them because if coolness is evident, the offender may not understand what they have done to upset her. As the mother of the church, if she responds inappropriately, souls could be at stake.
Next, she has to make sure that there is no permanent ill-will in the child’s heart. He must be saved, and she desperately wants him to love the church members. Every child is different. Some children are born tough. They laugh at frivolous comments while the more sensitive ones are devastated.
As with all youngsters, some pastors’ children have more loveable personalities than others. A few kids seem to come into this world indifferent. But one thing is sure – all children want to be loved. If your pastor has a son or daughter who is indifferent, stand by the youth in good times and bad, and you will eventually become a trusted and influential friend.
The pastor’s children live life in a fish bowl. They require a little extra reassurance that they are appreciated as an individual
rather than being the pastor’s son or daughter. Many churches give the pastors children a card and money for Christmas and/or birthdays. This is an excellent idea. It does not have to be much. It is truly the thought that counts. The church has no idea how special this extra kindness makes a child feel. The pastor and his wife are especially thankful that God has given them a wonderful church family who is mindful of their children.
No matter how hard they try to fit in, pastors’ kids know that they are being watched and compared to others. When a pastor’s child willfully sins, church members sometimes see it as an opportunity to justify their own iniquities. If your pastor’s son or daughter rebels, forgive them and support the pastor’s family in their time of embarrassment and grief. It will mean so much. Alexander Pope is often quited as saying, “to err is human; to forgive is divine”.
A teenager often hides his friends’ sinful deeds from his parents even when it is against his better judgement, because he has been told many times, ” You will probably go home and tell your dad on me. ” Therefore, out of a desire to be accepted, and from fear of being labeled a traitor, he rarely reveals the transgressions of those in his youth group.
Sometimes a pastor’s offspring overhears hurtful comments made about his parents. A major sin of the end time church is lack of respect for the ministry. Remarks are made aloud today that would have once brought shame to the person thinking about it.
The Bible has not changed. Bears devoured children because they made fun of a baldheaded prophet, and Miriam was struck with leprosy because she had spoken against Moses for marrying an Ethiopian woman. Those were not even false accusations. They were true! Nevertheless, God strongly disapproves of people belittling His servants, and curses are still falling on unsuspecting criticizers of the ministry.
God forbid that the pastor’s child should overhear a church member criticize his father or mother. When a young person hears
someone criticizing his parents, he must wonder what they have to complain about. After all, he is the one sharing his parents with the entire church family.
The pastor’s kids sometimes feel left out. It is common practice among us to encourage, hug, and shower attention on those young people who are “in and out” of church. Service after service, the saints pray for spiritually anemic young people. And they do need our attention. Yet, the pastor’s child, who may be solid in his walk with God rarely receives encouragement.
One Sunday evening, while watching people pray for a spiritually erratic teenage girl seemingly for the hundredth time that year, one pastor’s daughter turned to me and said tearfully, “I wish they would come and pray for me sometime. It isn’t that the pastor’s children are not appreciated for their faithfulness. It is just so easy to take them for granted.
Anything you do to help ease the burden that a pastor’s child carries, God will reward you. If your pastor’s children love God and
are faithful, let them know on a regular basis that you sincerely appreciate their dedication to God. Send them a card once in a while. Look them directly in the eye when you tell them you love them. They may be shy, and a little embarrassed, but their heart will be encouraged, and they will know that you mean it.
The pastor’s family has little time together without interruption. It is important for parents to stay in touch with their
children’s lives, and the minister s family is no exception. As with most families, the supper table is the gathering place of choice.
Unless it is an emergency, please avoid calling or visiting the pastor’s home during supper hours. You will not be met with resentment if you do happen to call or drop in. Yet, if at all possible, please leave the hours between 5:00 and 7:00 PM free for your pastor’s family to enjoy each other s company.
Though there are tears, many joys come with being a pastor’s wife. Most ministers’ wives love what they do, and would not trade
their rewarding role for any amount of money or prestige. God proves himself to be a faithful friend to those whom He calls into the ministry.
Even the pastor’s daughter with bulimia welcomed a happy ending to her tragic circumstances. Her health had digressed to the degree that her hair was breaking off end falling out, and her stomach automatically regurgitated everything she swallowed. The girl’s mother had threatened to call her home from college for a doctor’s appointment. She had no idea mat her beautiful daughter suffered from bulimia.
The young woman returned home for a weekend, and during a Sunday night service went up for prayer. Desperate for an end to her vicious cycle of self-destruction, she poured her heart out to God. He, in His infinite love for humanity and understanding of human weakness, extended a healing hand from Heaven and healed her body. That was seven years ago. Although she is still concerned about keeping her weight down, she has had no desire to experiment with bulimia since her deliverance.
The treasure of a pastor’s wife is her children, and you honor her every time you encourage and pray for them. “Who can find a
virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies…Her children arise up, and call her blessed.”
Penny Watkins is the wife of Reverend Carlton Watkins, pastor of the First United Pentecostal Church in Daingerfield, Texas.
She is the author of That I May Know Him and A Hair Short of Glory.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY THE MISSISSIPPI TORCH, MARCH 2000, PAGE FOUR.
THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.