Tell us a little about yourself and your ministry.
I was raised in the little Texas Panhandle town of Farwell where my folks were members of a United Pentecostal church. My dad played the piano, led the singing, worked as church secretary and janitor, taught the youth class, etc. Suffice it to say, I was raised in the church. I married the finest young evangelist ever known from the Texico District (my opinion, of course). We have been privileged to serve as evangelists, youth pastor, outreach director, pastor, district secretary, and executive positions at World Evangelism Center for the United Pentecostal Church International. (She and her husband, Mark, now pastor First Church of Leesville in Leesville, Louisiana)
I have written six books: Perspectives from a “Smart” Christian, Are You a Joymaker? (inspirational and encouraging books), The Guidance Series (a historical Christian romance series) that includes Love’s Guiding Light, His Guiding Hand, and Guided Home, and my newest release Living The Moments Of Life.
Do you feel the role of a pastor’s wife to be a “calling?”
I do believe that being a pastor’s wife is a “calling.” I believe that God ordains individuals to serve in His Kingdom and places a burden on them to fulfill His purpose. Not everyone is willing to submit to His calling, but if we submit to His will, He leads and guides us to fulfill the role in His plan for our Iife. I have watched couples through the years whose talents seemed to be synchronized together, and in the light of this combined effort, operated as “one,” constantly complimenting the efforts of God’s purpose that had now jointly become the mission of both of their lives. Together, they were willing to “seek first” the Kingdom of God.
I have also seen situations where a wife has made it very difficult for her husband to minister. When the two are “not of one mind and one accord,” it is much more difficult for God’s purpose to be carried out. I believe it can be done, as God will always honor those who are willing, but not being in unity can create a disconnect that in time only further defines a divide that God never intended to be there.
What, in your opinion, are the important traits necessary to be a successful pastor’s wife?
The traits of a pastor’s wife have changed since I was a small girl. In my younger days, a pastor’s wife MUST know how to sing and play. How else could a young lady serve? Thankfully, we have now realized that women are capable of so much more. I strongly believe that a pastor’s wife must have compassion and be willing to share “another’s burdens” as if they were her own. I believe she should exude an approachable demeanor, not standoffish or appearing as if she exists on a level above all others. I believe she should try her best to portray the joy of the Lord in her everyday living — not being the type of person that you never know from one day to the next whether they will be negative or positive, happy or sad, etc. (better known as moody). A pastor’s wife should be the kind of person that others desire to be around, instead of people trying to scurry out of her way when she enters a room, trying to flee the scene because “Lady All About Me” has just arrived.
What are some of the more common mistakes that a pastor’s wife will make in learning her role?
Bro. J. T. Pugh, an incredible mentor of ours, once said that it is important for leaders to recognize they should not feel obligated to rise to every occasion. There are times a pastor’s wife does not “see” some things or “hear” some things. The goal, it seems, should be to point people to a higher level of living in life. If leaders constantly react to every exchange around them, their life may become mired in constant controversy. To borrow an additional set of words from our much-honored Pastor Pugh, “It is important that a leader (in this case, a pastor’s wife) does not become part of the problem.” In other words, be careful that by your actions you do not give someone “a club to beat you with.”
Can you share a personal experience that in some way defines what the life of a pastor’s wife is like?
I was recently at a district function for ministers’ wives and sat next to a lady I did not know. The speaker that day instructed us to get acquainted with our neighbors. I began talking to the sweetest lady. She said, “If you have any advice at all for me, I would so much appreciate it. Our church is small and we are the pastor, the youth leader, the Sunday school director, the counselors — we do it all! At times, I become so overwhelmed that I am not sure we are doing a good job.” My heart was so touched by this beautiful lady, as I had “dwelled” in the same place.
I had the privilege to know one of the greatest ladies in the world, Sis. Bessie Pugh. I watched her kindness on a daily basis. She always seemed to have the capability to remember even the smallest of details. Her generous spirit and kind voice were a strength to all. She told me once that she thought people should leave church feeling better than when they came. Sis. Pugh shared some advice with me that I have reiterated to myself through the years. “Karla,” she said with her beaming smile, “you cannot let the cares of people and the responsibility of being a pastor’s wife ever get control of you so that it takes away your joy and affects you so much that you change.”
It would be such a shame to “lose one’s self” because of the cares and burdens of life. The responsibilities of a pastor’s wife are many, and they vary according to the size of a church one may pastor. Personally, I try to take a break by doing something I enjoy — writing, talking, laughing. I also quote many scriptures such as, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you. . .” And I preach to myself: “This is not your church, this is God’s church. I cannot fix the situation, but God can.”
Pastors’ wives often talk about “life in a fishbowl.” What is meant by this and how do you protect against the negative aspects of this?
The key to providing balanced relationships in life is the all-important principle to treat others in the same way that we would like to be treated. None of us can guarantee that life will be fair. In fact, in large part, it is never fair. “Life in a fishbowl” is the concept that you are being watched all the time. I attempt to exude a joyful attitude, but honestly my tendency is to first see the negative side. I am working on that and hope I am becoming better. So, instead of looking at it as if someone is watching me, hoping I’ll do something wrong, I want to view it as if I have the chance to see everything around me. I have a clear vision of the beautiful world God placed me in. And if others are watching me, they perhaps admire me or like me and just want to see if they can help. If we can change our outlook on life to positivity, we can perhaps influence those around us to do the same thing.
Tell us about your recent book, Living The Moments Of Life. What is it about and how might this book help those learning the role of a pastor’s wife?
Living The Moments Of Life is a collection of various stories, humorous and inspirational, about myself, friends and family that I enjoy sharing (with their permission, of course), and endeavor to apply Biblical principles and aspects to help reiterate the importance of presenting Jesus Christ in the very best way possible. My hope is that those who read it, especially pastors’ wives, will be uplifted, encouraged and inspired. And if it brings laughter to the readers, I will feel like I have achieved success.
How to order, cost, and how may readers contact you if they have additional questions?
The cost of the book is $12.99. You can order Living The Moments Of Life, or any of my other books, from the Pentecostal Publishing House, 636-229-7900.
Also, you can order through me as well via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 636-448-9060.