The down-side of all this advice is that some of the practical tips don't transfer across the Pacific or across generations. If she were ever to produce a second edition, I would highly recommended putting the first four chapters at the end, or as an appendix. As it is, it begins a little like a handbook for housewives and I almost didn't keep reading.
At some points I agree with her whole-heartedly;
The introductory phrase "This is the pastor's wife," used to make me cringe. That's because at one point I had allowed the role to envelope me. I, the "real" me, had somehow gotten lost in that description. As a result, I learned that I needed to redefine myself in terms of whom I am - a child of God. I needed to remember, first, last and always, who I am in Christ. An time I find that I have gotten lost along the way, I always go back to this: "Jesus Christ and him crucified." As I mediate on that phrase, I find that I am drawn back to the foundation, because my core reality and my spiritual foundation is Christ himself. I remember that the most important thing I can do for my soul's sake is to make time to bask in His presence- time spent with Jesus, the One who died for me. As I rest there, on the bosom of the resurrected Jesus, He restores my soul.And I really like the way she structures the chapter "ways that work" around scripture; Deuteronomy 10:12-13 (note the imperatives: Fear, Walk, Love, Serve, Keep) and Luke 10:38-42 (spending time with Jesus).
At other points, I don't agree. And the two are often so mixed up I can't work out why I don't like it. For instance;
I've found it's up to me to created the boundaries I need, and [my husband] sets his own boundaries as well. No one can or will do this for us; we need to learn to say no. I've learned I have a God-given right to privacy. I have a right to space. I have a right to time. I have a right to my own calling and ministry. I have realized it is not loving to allow someone to take advantage of me or to overstep their bounds into my space. When I model that I have genuine needs, and a legitimate God-given right to them, I am modeling behavior for others who have gotten themselves into the same unhealthy mode that I did in the past. I want to be the one who models how to say "no" firmly and lovingly.At another point she quotes from an article about Orthodox clergy wives about the wife's primary responsibility being to care for her husbands' well-being, and then goes on,
If this is even partly so, and I truly believe it is, then how much more important it is for the clergy wife to take care of herself. If she waits to find out who is going to minister to the minister's wife, she'll have a long wait. It would be nice were it otherwise, but it's not. So there you have it: it's up to you. Take care of yourself.Ah, the language of boundaries, self-care and personal space. I loathe it but have come to understand it's necessity. Still, it feels so un-christian. I don't think I should have to say to a young wife, "Take care of yourself because no-one else will" because I think there should be a multitude of people to take care of her. Her husband, for starters, should take care of her. And her sisters in Christ (older and younger) should be looking out for her as she for them. I'd rather we say Take Care of Each Other and let's be done with the language of self-care. Maybe I'm dreaming. What do you think?
Let me also recommend that you restrict your diet of "ministry-wife" books to as often as you would eat fruit-loops. There is a certain same-ness about them and lack of theological depth that really concerns me.