If you have been a Christian for any length of time you have probably been a part of a church body, whether it is for a long or short period of time. If this is the case, you have probably been blessed by the presence of a pastor’s wife, even if you haven’t been directly impacted. Their behind the scenes sacrifices have touched your lives in more ways than you realize.
But many time pastor’s wives don’t take time for themselves because they can’t afford it or have bought into the lie that they shouldn’t take time out for themselves. Yet a pastor’s wife is often the backbone of the church, the glue that holds everything together. That means she needs to be healthy in all areas of her life so she can be well enough to care for everyone else that needs her attention. This Valentine’s Day take a moment to shoe her you love in her in a special way. Here are ten unique ways to demonstrate that love in a tangible way:
Pamper her- In today’s duel income society, most pastors’ wives have to work to help out with the household finances in addition to serving within the body. Because of this, they have to serves as though they are a paid employee of the church, stepping in to every and all programs that have a deficit in workers. She could use a day off. Give her a gift certificate to a local spa for a day of pampering. This is a way to give her some guilt free time to focus on recharging her batteries so she is not too burned out to help others within your congregation.
Volunteer for her- Pastors wives rarely get time off. With the exception if illness or a child’s activity, most pastor’s wives are expected to be present at every church service. They don’t get to pick and choose whether they attend that week’s service like every other church member. I addition, they often get to church early, as well as leave late. This can be a heavy burden, especially if they work on top of it. Give her some much needed time off by offering to fill in for her in one of her ministries. Offer to get there early, setting up snack, tuning on lights and heat as well as any other early morning responsibility. Sometimes the best gifts don’t come wrapped in packages; sometimes they come in the form of a morning to sleep in late.
Give her a vacation-most pastors and their families can’t afford vacations. Some don’t get paid commensurate with their education and experience like other vocations. They are sometimes asked to make sacrifices so the church can survive, sometimes at the expense of their own wallets. If you have been blessed with a vacation home, offer it to the pastor and his wife at little or no cost. What a weight to be lifted off of them when they can get away for the weekend to bond as a family or even work on their marriage.
Offer her friendship-Some of the best ways to express love is the gift of a listening ear or friendship. It is not always possible for pastor’s wives to make intimate friends with those within their fellowship. When tensions arise, she cannot divulge private information to church members. Find her a friend where she can feel comfortable venting or sharing her personal issues with an element of confidentiality. Having someone to go to with whom she can confide can do wonders for her physical, mental and social health.
Give her a gift basket- Gift baskets are a unique gift because it is an opportunity to demonstrate how well you know your pastor’s wife. Fill a basket full of goodies she enjoys. If you are not sure what she likes, fill it with items that show you care about her physically and mentally. Fill it with bath and shower gels, bubble baths to help her relax, popcorn kernels and free movie tickets if she likes the movies or books and snacks if she likes to escape through the pages of a good book. If all else fails, fill a basket full of chocolate. It gives her an excuse to indulge in something just for her (and give her permission not to share if she doesn’t want to.)
Write her a note-A month or so ago, I had a former church member interested in one of my books. When she sent payment, she enclosed it in a card. Inside the cards she had written: “10 ways I miss you in our church.” She then highlighted all the things she missed about my presence in church. As someone who hardly misses church, it is easy for me to feel what I do to serve is not noticed or appreciated. That note was one of the most thoughtful notes I have ever received. I pinned that note onto a bulletin board in my office for me to peruse when I am feeling down or having an off day.
A handwritten note goes a long way in this email and image driven world in which we live. Highlight the ways you appreciate her and the ways she serves behind the scenes within the church. Your thought to identify these subtle ways in which she blesses the church will mean more to her than she can articulate.
Make a scrapbook- take the above suggestion one step further and enlist the help of other church members to create a scrapbook full of pictures and notes of her along with church members. Chronicle all the places she has served. Include pictures of you hugging her and putting your arms around her. A picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes showing her she is loved provides more value than merely telling her.
Having said this, in one of my first church retreats, we had a free time where we were to write notes of encouragement to each other. As I went through reading them, I was personally touched by how I impacted lives without even realizing it (as well as reminded about words I had said or actions I had taken that I didn’t even remember.)
Create a skit- Some churches still use the creative arts to get a point across. This may include skits or plays performed in front of the church. Instead of the usual Christmas play or Easter cantata, think outside the box and create a play demonstrating love for your pastor’s wives. Get other volunteers to help write the screen play as well as to perform each scene. Write a story making the pastor’s wife as the main character. Aloe the church to help her solve a need in her life, or creatively show they care. In the same way a handwritten note is valuable, this will also go a long way. The fact you took it upon yourselves to demonstrate your love for her will live on in her memories for years to come and bless her life in many of the same ways she has blessed yours.
Sing her a song- If your church has a choir that sings during the service on a regular basis, write a song (or find one on the Internet) that expresses how you feel about her. Invest some time teaching it to your choir or worship team and have them surprise her with it during one of the services (particularly one that she doesn’t miss due to serving in other areas of the church). She will love you took time to honor her publicly, and she will be blessed that other members volunteered to help you pull it off.
Have a surprise party- when all else fails, have a party! Churches don’t often take the time to honor their cherished staff, and when they do, they are at the expected times like Christmas or Pastor Appreciation Month. But wouldn’t it be nice to surprise your pastor’s wife with a party in her honor. Decorate the fellowship hall or sanctuary or have it at her home if she is more private.) Get a cake, give her gifts, pretend like it is a special occasion. When she asks the reason for the celebration say, “it is honor our pastor’s wife day!” Because, let’s be real, do we ever need an excuse to eat cake and have a good laugh?
Life is short. So many people live with regrets of not telling the treasured people in their lives how they really feel. Let 2019 be the year you change all that. Start with your pastor’s wife. If she has made a difference in your life, whether big or small, demonstrate how much you care by implementing one of the above suggestions. Blessing your pastors’ wife’s life may, in turn, bless yours.