What I’ve Learnt in my First Year as a Senior Pastor’s Wife

25 July, 2016

She had a perm, bleached hair, high-heels and a frilly dress. And when she walked down the isle of the church she floated. Her children handsomely dressed, her husband the very definition of anointed. She was the pastor’s wife and from my nine year-old view, almost an angel.

I never saw myself as a pastor’s wife. Yet here I am. A pastor’s wife. Sans the big hair, frilly dresses, flawless makeup, home-cooked hospitality, pristine home, manicured lawn and everything else that screams pastor’s wife.  
A non-traditional, flat-haired, non-casserole-making pastor’s wife.

I am not like other pastor’s wives.

And I’m okay with that.

I am a pastor’s wife because I am married to a pastor, but I was a pastor before he married me. I am just as much a pastor as he is. We are Senior Pastors together. We lead together. We cast and outwork vision together. Our calling is to minister together.

Pastor’s wives in the new millennium are not the same because God has unique gifts and callings for us all.

Pastors wives are just like you.

Yes, I just said pastor’s wives are unique, but I would like to debunk a common myth: pastor’s wives are not perfect. Let me reassure you, your pastor’s wife is just like you.

She has good days, she has bad days. She folds the washing. She stands on Lego pieces down the hall. She doesn’t pray 24/7. Her kids talk back to her. She feels inadequate at times. She struggles with loneliness. She feels misunderstood.

Yet she shows up and sits on the front row every Sunday looking like that wasn’t her week.

Your pastor’s wife is more like you than you know. If she ignores you in the shopping centre she didn’t mean to. She doesn’t deserve to be criticised or gossiped about, because she has never done that to you. She has understood your life and your private struggles, and she’s prayed. Because she’s a good woman.

Just like you.

I can handle it.

“Okay, Sarah, this is the big leagues. You can’t flesh out anymore. Put your big girl pants on – you are the Senior Pastor.”

That was the conversation I had with myself while doing my make up, the morning my husband and I became Senior Pastors of our church.

How could I feel so ready yet so overwhelmed at the same time?

But that morning I made a choice. I decided I would handle it – whatever “it” may be. There were no more excuses. No more games. No more tantrums. The buck stopped with me. I would not burn out or blow up.

Being a pastor’s wife has certainly not been easy, and I know in this journey there will be greater challenges still, but I have decided this is my calling and I can handle it. Senior Pastor. Pastor’s wife. Mother of Princes. Daughter of the King. In all things and in all situations, I can handle it.

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10 Scriptures That Prove You Can Handle It

18 July, 2016

You are battle ready.

Psalm 18:34 He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. 

You will arise.

Micah 7:8 Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me. 

You can handle snakes.

Mark 16:17-18 These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.” 

You will still be standing.

Ephesians 6:13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 

You will not be tempted more than you can handle.

1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 

You have the grace you need.

2 Corinthians 12:9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 

You are blessed.

Genesis 49:25 May the God of your father help you; may the Almighty bless you with the blessings of the heavens above, and blessings of the watery depths below, and blessings of the breasts and womb. 

You are developing character.

Romans 5:3-4 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 

You have strength.

Judges 6:14 Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” 

And last but not least, you can handle everything.

Philippians 4:13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. 


You Can Handle It

11 July, 2016

I started running in November 2014. The first morning I ran up a hill near our house and I thought I was I labour again. I ran 1.5km and walked another 1.5km. It was all I could handle. 

But a few days later I went running again. And I could handle a little more. 

The other day I ran 15 kilometres (don’t ask me what that is in miles). That’s running for an hour and a half. Non-stop. And it was tough. Especially the last few kilometres. 

But I handled it.

Perhaps David said something like this in 1 Samuel 17, “A bear came and attacked my sheep and it freaked me out, but I handled it. Another day a lion came at me, and I handled it, too. Now, I’ve never faced a giant before, but King Saul, I think I can handle it. I think I can handle it.”

God doesn’t expect you to handle everything at once. But as you handle small things, He will ask you to handle something a little bigger. Then a little more. One step at a time. He knows you can handle it (see the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25).

I know it’s daunting. I know you’ve got your reasons, or rather, your excuses. Believe in yourself. Jesus knows you can handle it.

There’s a famous story where the disciples are in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. A huge storm came upon the boat and they were tossed by the waves. In the midst of the storm Jesus came walking on the water. The disciples were terrified but Peter called out to Jesus and said, 

“If you think I can handle it, tell me to come.”

You know what He said.

In the midst of your storm God is asking you to step out on the waters (Hillsong United wrote a song all about it). He is telling you to come because He knows you can handle it. 

What are you waiting for? Step out of the boat. You can handle it. Just keep your eyes on Jesus. Take it one step at a time. You’ve so got this.

You can handle it.


Can You Handle It?

4 July, 2016

I held it in my trembling hands after three payment instalments and four months of waiting – four months of unruly hair. Now my tresses would be forever straight, or with a perfectly styled curl depending on my mood. 

I was the proud owner of a GHD straightening iron and treated it like gold. 

I was on the final layer of hair while trying to juggle the brush, the iron and a strand of hair (can I get an, “Amen,” anyone?) when disaster struck. Mere days after bring it home from the salon, my precious GHD slipped from my hands. 

Everything happened in slow motion. I had visions of my three hundred dollar investment shattering against porcelain tiles. In desperation my reflexes grasped at the iron to catch it any way I could. My index finger caught the hot iron millimetres from the floor. 

But I mishandled it. And the 350 degree plates used to create perfect hair seared my skin. 

I was left with a third degree burn all because I mishandled it.

I wonder if there are situations in your life you didn’t handle very well? Perhaps the way you raised your children? Perhaps an argument with your spouse? A situation at your job? Conflict with your parents or a sibling?

I know I have. And the list of mishandled mistakes is far more illustrious than a straightening iron. More importantly the pain I seared on the hearts of those I mishandled – as an employee, teacher, pastor, mother, daughter, daughter-in-law, sister, wife – is crushing.

Unfortunately there are times when we don’t handle things well. Moses was no different. 

In Exodus 4 Moses was wandering in the dessert looking after his father-in-law’s sheep. Unlike David, Moses was not raised a shepherd. He was raised a prince.

He was in the desert because he didn’t handle things. 

Outraged by the slavery of his people, the Hebrews, Moses attempted an intervention. In the process he got angry and killed a man. Moses did the right thing the wrong way – he didn’t handle it – and that’s why he was in the desert, not the palace. 

When we handle things the wrong way it makes us reluctant to handle things again. But God came calling on Moses. He asked Moses to lead His people out of bondage. Moses was reluctant to handle things because of the mess he made last time. So God set about to teach Moses a lesson in how to handle it. You see, when we handle things God’s way, it works.

What’s in your hand? 
What are you reluctant to handle? For Moses it was a shepherd’s staff – broken dreams, mishandled opportunities. For you it may be a broken marriage, revolting kids, bad health, past hurt. 

Learn how to handle it. 

Don’t run from fear.
God commanded Moses to throw the staff to the ground and it turned into a snake. Moses jumped back, too afraid to handle it. How often are you and I afraid of the very thing God wants us to handle?

Exodus 4:4 Then the Lord told him, “Reach out and grab its tail.” So Moses reached out and grabbed it, and it turned back into a shepherd’s staff in his hand. 

Relinquish control.
I am no snake handler, but that’s not how Dr Chris handles snakes. He grabs it by the head so he is in control. If you handle a snake by the tail it might bite you. 

God wants to be in control, not you. Trust Him and let go of fear. Stop running from fear and handle it. He won’t let it bite you. He’s already crushed the head. He has dealt with it. He has dealt with sin, guilt, rejection and unforgiveness. 

You can handle it because He has handled it. You can handle your kids. You can handle your marriage. You can handle your job. You can handle being in ministry. 

If Moses kept running, he never would have seen what the staff could do. He never would have seen it turn the Nile into blood. He wouldn’t have seen it infest the same river with frogs. He never would have seen it part the sea. He never would have seen it defeat the Amalekites. He wouldn’t have seen it bring water out of a rock.

Whatever you have mishandled or refused to handle, God has other ideas. He knows you can handle it, you just have to trust Him. Trust Him with fear. Trust Him to turn past mistakes into glorious freedom. 

Today, step up and handle it.

Faith, Lifestyle

Is There Oil In Your Lamp?

16 June, 2016

I rummaged through my black leather handbag, desperate in my search. How did I get myself in this predicament? Would I find anything that could suffice?

Typically I carried a small packet of Kleenex wherever I went, however my children used them all on our last icecream outing. Perhaps I’d luck upon a tissue scrunched up in the bottom of a zip pocket in my jacket.

Alas, nothing.

I scrutinised the dispenser one last time, hoping, praying I was mistaken. I strained my neck inside to get a better look and practically shook the thing off the wall. To no avail. I had run out. And there was no reserve.

With pants around my ankles, there was only one option.

“Hello. Is anyone there? Can you manage to spare a square?”

Have you experienced the frustration and slight embarrassment of running out of something? Milk? Fuel? Patience? Energy? The will to go on?

In Matthew 24 Jesus told a story of ten bridesmaids ready for a wedding. Like any bridesmaid, they were excited, dressed to the nines and ready to party with the happy couple. The problem was they waited a long time. Their lipstick wore off. They had a headache from all the bobby pins. The oil in their lamp was low.

Five bridesmaids were prepared for this. They had extra oil. Spare lipstick. A spritz of perfume. A pick me up.

Five did not.

They didn’t have anything in reserve. So when they went to buy more lipstick, have a hair re-do, get more oil for their lamp, the bridegroom arrived. 

And they missed it. They missed the wedding. They was no oil in their lamp.

We can all relate to the bridesmaids. We have started something in life – a new relationship, career change, fresh vision, life dream and the passion, enthusiasm and work ethic are high. However days turn into weeks, months turn into years and things aren’t like they used to be. Challenges and set backs erode zeal and fulfilment away.

But in the parable, the difference between wisdom and foolishness was in the reserve. Wise bridesmaids were prepared for the long haul – prepared for the wait, setbacks and discouragement. The foolish ones were not. 

Hear this: the bridegroom is coming. Your miracle. Your promotion. Your wedding. Your breakthrough.

Will you have oil in your lamp? Too often we miss the blessing coming our way because we give up. We aren’t equipped for a drawn out process, but that’s what it takes.

I’d hate for that to be you. I’d hate for you to miss the new opportunity coming your way because you ran out of fervour, patience, strength, purpose, or whatever is vital to your success. 

So I want you to take a good hard look at yourself and honestly determine which bridesmaid are you? Have you got stuff in reserve? If not, can you get your enthusiasm (or whatever you need) back so when your big chance arrives, you are ready? 

Take time to oil your lamp. The season is about to change. Singleness is over and a wedding is upon us. Be ready. The oil for the last season is not sufficient for the next. Oil your lamp. Reignite first love; reinvigorate your spirit; regain your drive. Prepare yourself. Prepare your heart for increase, for growth, for a celebration.

You’ve waited too long, you’ve worked too hard, you’ve sacrificed too much to give up now. The bridegroom’s arrival is imminent. Your breakthrough, your miracle is at hand. Don’t get caught out – make sure the is plenty of oil in your lamp.