Glory Ogugua never nursed the ambition of settling down in marriage with a pastor.
For someone whose father was an orthodox church Bishop, the many burdens that her mother and the entire family had to put up with, even when it was not convenient, was always playing back in her head. But as fate would have it, today,
Glory is married to a pastor. Her challenge now is how to cope with the many expectations of the pastor’s wife.
The struggle to guard family’s time, the loneliness; her kids, insecurities; the criticism (of husband and church members), counseling- seeking women flocking around her husband, the demands of the church members and financial struggles… the list goes on.
To understand her role and how to cope with it, Glory attended a ‘Wives of Pastors Forum’ in Lagos, recently. Organised by Pastor Nike Lamai Ministries, with the theme ‘The glory and the fire’, the women gathered to fellowship with one another, talk, unburden, and heal.
The atmosphere presented attendees with the opportunity to share their bittersweet lives, experiences, their weaknesses and strengths and the dos and don’ts of the highly exalted office.
On why they were gathered, Pastor Nike, co-pastor and wife of Pastor CMD Lamai of The Maker’s Church, Lagos, stated that it was to appreciate them for a job well done and for them to know that she cares, adding that their role is highly sacrificial.
Highlighting their many struggles, she said: “The pastor’s wife has to expand the breadth and depth of her own support, love and honour to all the members of the congregation.
Expectations from people are sometimes far reaching, and unfortunately, she is often misunderstood and misjudged. “She is also the most vulnerable person in the building, as she is likely the person to become the victim of malicious gossip, sneaky insinuations, impossible expectations and pastoral frustrations.
“Beyond all these, the pastor’s wife also constantly has to fight for her husband’s attention because he’s also married to the church.
These women also engage in fervent prayers to strengthen their husbands not to fall for ‘daughters of eve’ and evil attacks.” To excel as a pastor’s wife, she admonished them to see their roles as a journey as “there may be heartache deeper than you could ever imagine.
And joy more abundant than you ever knew was possible.” Also speaking at the forum, Pastor Mrs Taiwo Raji-Rich, who spoke through a live video from The Philippines, affirmed that God is not a user, but a rewarder.
And whatever these women go through, they should rest assured of their rewards from Him, and they are handmaidens created for good works. She opined that being a pastor’s wife comes with joy and sorrow.
Raji-Rich identified four key functioning areas for the pastor’s wife to include: “domestic, spiritual/church, social/ community and professional career”.
To effectively manage their roles, she urged them to amongst other things: “Value who you are in Christ, value what you have, things won’t always be the way they are right now. God will take you to where you should be.”
She also advised them thus: “Protect your heart from pains, hurt, trauma and troubles in the church. Purify your heart daily. If you are bitter, you can’t pray, “Identify your place in your husband’s ministry. “Don’t look to your husband for everything. Look unto God. Your husband can’t be all to you. “Enjoy yourself as a pastor’s wife.
Have me-time. Learn to practice selfcare. Understand the limits of your body. Prioritise silence and rest,” she said. Above all, she emphasized that prayer is the core of their victorious living, a source of strength and resolve. She likened a non-praying pastor’s wife to be alive without breathing.
The women were later broken into groups to share, discuss and offer solutions to real-life issues that affect them in the area of domestic violence, verbal and emotional abuse; sex and finance, dishonesty and lies, external influences/ church/family/friends and infidelity, in the lives of the pastor and pastor Mrs.
Another highlight of the event was the health talk by Ebere Allison from the Optical Cancer Care Foundation, who spoke on the need for these women to pay adequate attention and care to themselves to be able to take care of their husbands, children and church members effectively.
She admonished the women to be selfaware of their bodies by checking for lumps in the breasts, going for a mammogram screening, pap tests, and cervical screening every month after their period Participants left the Radisson Blu, Ikeja venue of the event, full of gratitude for the organisers, as it was an eye-opening, soul-lifting and refreshing time for them, with many looking forward to a repeat of such gathering in the nearest future