One can no more define the typical pastor’s wife than they can describe the typical American movie or song – there is just too much variety. However, to give you a clearer picture of these fine, godly women I will give it a try. Remember I am describing all of them, yet not any one of them.
The typical village pastor’s wife in India comes from a Dalit background, one of the outcasts. She may have grown up in a Christian home, or she may have been raised in their animist religion and come to Jesus later. Her husband was chosen for her, probably before he became a pastor. She has been raised to willingly follow whatever direction her husband goes. She trusts him, serves him and submits to his wishes. She has developed her own strong faith in Jesus and spends meaningful time with Him each day. She reads her Bible regularly, prays often and intensely, and takes her complaints to God instead of others.
She is responsible for the running of her home, usually with insufficient resources and income. What she does have she shares with others less fortunate. She cares for her children, usually two, sometimes three. She walks everywhere she goes, starting with the closest water pump to bring home water for household use. Every drop is carried home by her. She shops daily for she has no refrigeration and food spoils quickly in this hot climate. Most of her time is spent in washing clothes and making meals, which is a slow process as various grains and spices have to be ground by hand then blended and simmered together in diverse combinations to get the desired taste. Clothes are washed by hand, spread out on a bush to dry, then ironed with an iron heated in her fire. She cares for any animals or garden plots the family may have as well.
In addition to this full set of duties she actively and tirelessly serves the church. She works with the other women, individually and as a group. The typical Indian church is made of up 90 to 95% women. In addition, she uses her spiritual gifts when possible but usually finds herself doing the work no one else wants to do. She teaches the children before the main worship service and leads the singing. She graciously feeds or provides chai for every visitor to the church or her home. She probably lives far from her family and has few close friends because of her position in the church.
She comes to the pastor’s conference because her husband tells her to. She quietly sits with the other women and listens patiently. When she hears that she is her husband’s number one sheep her head snaps up. She smile and steals a glance toward her husband to make sure he was listening and heard. She doesn’t understand what it means for her husband to meet her needs for she comes from a long line of women who never thought in terms of personal needs. But she thinks that perhaps now he will be kinder to her, spend more time helping at home, and maybe even listen when she wants to talk to him. What more could she possibly hope for?
She is a faithful, loyal, good, solid, godly woman who is the backbone of her family and church and she will be greatly rewarded when she gets to heaven.
Proverbs 31: 28Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 31 Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
These unrecognized women, who often aren’t sure their only means of support will return when they leave the house to tell others about Jesus, need you. Anyuwayu,r regular and faithful prayers.