Recently, a pastor's wife in South China shared the subject of playing the pastor's wife and mother roles.
Huang Mengai (pseudonym) and her pastor husband have been serving in the church for more than 20 years and have a son and a daughter who are in middle and high school. The couple has served the church together as colleagues and has been recognized by the church congregation.
The following is an excerpt from an interview between Mrs. Huang and the Christian Times, an online Christian newspaper in China:
Christian Times: What insights have you gained over the years in fulfilling the roles of a wife and a mother?
Huang Meng'ai: My husband has dedicated himself to the work of the church, and I have had to undertake all the minor household tasks. I view the role of a wife or a mother as a full-time caregiver who is committed to supporting her children at home and looking after the family.
Christian Times: What challenges do you face as a pastor's wife and a mother in the church?
Huang Meng'ai: From a marital perspective, the primary duty of a pastor's wife in the church is to support her husband. This is because many ministries in the church are more convenient and fruitful when led by a woman, such as home visits and marriage counseling. If a male pastor were to perform these tasks alone, it would be considerably difficult, but with a pastor's wife, the visits and interactions are more effective.
My ministry is to assist the pastor, not to dominate him. Many people believe that one must possess numerous talents to be a mentor, but the most crucial talent required in the church is love. The closest role to that of a pastor's wife is that of a pastor, who understands the difficulties of many people and the needs of many families. Therefore, when the pastor is occupied with the ministry of the church, the pastor's wife provides care in other aspects.
So, instead of trying to please everyone, the pastor's wife is dedicated to loving and helping those in need. The ministry of love is the most important and practical in the church.
A mother's love is unconditional and allows you to take as much as you want without asking for anything in return. A woman cannot evade four identities in her life: being a daughter, a wife, a daughter-in-law, and a mother. I believe that playing the role of a daughter is the easiest, as she is under the care and indulgence of her parents. She can be capricious, pampered, and tolerated, and this love can be given by no one but her parents.
When a woman gets married, she creates a new family with her spouse, departing from her family of origin. This family must run in an orderly manner under the woman's compulsory management. She is responsible for the daily chores of the family, human interactions, and her husband's food, clothing, housing, and transportation.
I have observed some sisters in the church who do not get along well with their in-laws and daughters-in-law. It is not easy to leave one's family of origin, integrate into a new family with no blood ties, and give all one's heart and soul to it. Therefore, we need God's wisdom and reverence.
Christian Times: How have you raised your two children?
Huang Meng'ai: We have nurtured our children from an early age to be grounded in their faith and to develop good character traits.
There is a time for discipline and a time for pampering. However, we communicate clearly what is permissible and what is not. We praise them when they excel, but they are reprimanded for any errors. Regarding education, we do not judge their worth based on test scores. Similarly, in terms of spending, we discourage them from comparing themselves to their peers, and we provide them with adequate pocket money.
Both my children attend school from Monday to Friday, and on Sundays, they attend church services with either their father or me, as we do not attend the same church services. During our winter and summer breaks, we travel to new destinations with our children.
Christian Times: Just in time for Mother's Day, what kind of love and appreciation do you hope to receive from your husband and children?
Huang Meng'ai: I hope that they understand me; that would suffice. In the church, it is essential for believers to empathize, respect, and encourage one another.
Whenever there is a celebration, particularly Mother's Day, we prepare gifts for the female believers. Some of the sisters wish to commemorate the pastor's wife, so they purchase dresses and flowers for me. Although I find it challenging, I am also gratified.
- Translated by Nonye Nancy