As I read Neva's article on unity with other leaders' wives, I was impressed that she began by pointing to the spiritual battle. Satan is a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8), and a lion chases his prey off alone, away from the herd. He then attacks and devours. Disunity among women makes it so easy for our enemy to isolate and lie to us. He wants us to be alone. Let's listen to this godly woman and learn to cling to each other, building up our sisters in Christ!
Unity Among Pastors Wives
by Neva Whitney, Great Commission Northwest
Over the last several months I have had a number of different conversations with pastors' wives - each needing words of encouragement in their relationship with fellow leader's wives. It is very important to be united with co-leaders, for the sake of the Lord, your husband's ministry, your church, and the gospel. Satan is the one who is overjoyed when we struggle in this area.
Psalm 133 shares God's thoughts on this area.
"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers (and sisters) to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, Coming down upon the beard, Even Aaron's beard, Coming down upon the edge of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon, Coming down upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing-- life forever."
The Psalm indicates that unity equals goodness, pleasantness, and God's blessing, none of which should be taken lightly.
I realize that unity does not come naturally and is not always easy, but you are neither the first nor the only woman to struggle in this area. Think of Paul's words to the gals in the church in Philippi. "I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord." The Scripture also indicates that they were fellow laborers with Paul. The next verse describes these two as "...women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel."
When we struggle in our relationship with other wives, it makes our husband's job, and their call for unity between themselves, more difficult. As much as possible, I feel that we need to keep our "relationship issues" with other wives just between the Lord and us. We can be stronger, more dignified, and self-controlled in this. Our culture has told us to "spill everything out," but that's not necessarily wise.
Unity takes making time together, even if you don't want to. You can't really be united with someone that you don't know. It takes believing the best. We need to make the effort to get together and visit and share our lives and the lessons that God is teaching us.
Oftentimes relationships don't just happen. You have to die to self. They take work, and the effort puts us out. And this is how we find out if we are willing to die to self. If you think you have trouble getting along because you are so different, or because you have different gifts and different ministries - be thankful! Celebrate the differences. Think how boring your church would be if you were all the same personality type. It is healthy for other women in our church to see a pastor's wife job description, carried out by different personality types.
Sometimes the most "fun" relationships are the intergenerational friendships. We have so much to learn from one another. The younger wife can help the older wife to be more relevant, timely, and a little more hip. The older wife, from her experience and years in the pastorate, can help the younger wife to get God's perspective more quickly. Titus 2 could possibly be paraphrased to say something like, "Older pastors wives can train the younger pastors wives to love their husbands, their children, love their church, and be content in their homes and in their lives."
Another pastor's wife and I had lunch together recently. During the course of the meal we both had the opportunity to affirm one another, and agree that we would always believe the best of one another, always assume the best, and always talk if there was a question. We even "high-fived" each other.
I thought it was kind of neat of the Lord, that just a couple of days later, in working out some housing situations for a women's conference that we disagreed. But we deferred to one another and I walked away from our brief discussion thinking how much I like that woman and how much I want to continue getting to know her and work with her. I was smiling at God too, thinking how He so quickly put our "high-five" to the test.
Three Simple Steps to Help Build Unity
1. Speak well of each other. Speak well of each other when you are speaking to your husband or your children. Compliment the other sister in front of other women from your church. Let her hear you speak well of her.
2. Pray together. Find time. Make time. Take time to get together to pray for one another, but especially the ministry. Praying together unites. It bonds.
3. Finally, forgive each other. Then forget about it. I think of Paul, "Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead." (Phil. 3:12) Forget and press on. Christians who can lay it at God's feet and move on are demonstrating that their faith is real.