Words For Courageous Living


The Pastor's Wife


I know many, many pastors could/would say as I will, "I was given the best pastor's wife in the whole wide world." Well, for me that IS true.

Nancy Jane (DuBois) Carlson is her name and taking care of me is her game. The problem with being a pastor's wife is that she is not only the silent partner, but also the sounding board and pastor's shield for so many in the church.


We often hear of Hero's
on the news at night
how someone went into a fire
to save someone else's life

BUT, there's another Hero
that we never hear about
thou her love and dedication
are never in a doubt

Often took for granted
never glorified
still she keeps on going
for the person by her side

She stands beside him everyday
no matter what is thrown their way
for he was called from above
to spread the message of GODS' LOVE

And just as he was called
she was hand picked too
for it takes someone special
to do what she must do

And though he may get the glory
and he may get the fame
she will stand beside him with love
and help him just the same

she is the person he turns to
when he needs a friend
she will always be there
to the glorious end

I would like to take this moment to introduce to you
a Lovely unsung hero for whom
GOD handpicked to spend her life
as the pastor's WIFE

Donna Golden

(In this case, Nancy Carlson)


+ + + +


I like the words from a pen of someone else.

If the wives of Pastors had a Patron Saint, it should be John the Baptist – "He must increase while I decrease," (John 3:30). A pastor's wife is always there, the silent partner. She shares her husband's disappointments and joys - knows the apparent failures - feels the barbs and feels the happiness too; and steps quietly into the background as men applaud him.

It is not an easy role. In today's society she would be called a 2nd class citizen! If she has talent and uses it, she is too "smart"; if she hides it, she is pretty "dumb". Her husband is often regarded as a "necessary evil". She is expected to be the perfect example. Her clothes may not be "expensive", but must be stylish and in good taste.

She is expected to smile and be cheerful even though her head may be aching and everyone else is complaining. She must accept criticism gracefully, and bite back any response. Her home is not her own, and ghosts of former Pastor's wives are brought up at every meeting there. She is expected to cook, clean house, raise model children, be prepared to entertain at a moment's notice and remain cool, calm and collected through it all. And though the phone rings constantly, she must answer each time pleasantly and courteously. She is the "unpaid servant" of the church and expected to fill every vacancy no one else wants. She cannot join a card club or plan an evening at the theatre, because it might cause "discord" in the parish. If she has babies at home, she is still expected to fulfill her "duty", though others may relinquish theirs for the same reason.

She is the keeper of the light and though the keepers of lighthouses do not launch many ships, they keep many a good ship from going to ruin. The light shines further than the keeper can see, and brightest when they cannot see it at all. Their main purpose is to keep the light burning and never to get between the light and the darkness it is supposed to lighten.

+ + + +

My wife has developed these aspects in her ministry:

I would pass them on to all young pastor's wives.....

Deepen your relationship with our Lord; it is especially vital during trying times.

Guard your marriage and family.
If you do not build in some protection, your congregation will consume nearly every moment of your day. Your husband will lose himself in his assignment if you do not intentionally carve out time to be together.

Use your best gifts most often.
Find an area of ministry that brings you purpose and joy.

Find a friend.
I know doing so takes time and energy, but make a friend who can share your journey in confidence and sincerity. You will find she is a gift from God.

One last...



The Pastor's Wife

(in my case....Nancy)

In the shadow of the parsonage

Stands a figure oft obscure.

Just behind the faithful pastor

Is his wife, devout and pure.

She is with him every moment

Helping make his work progress

And you can't discount her portion

In the measure of success.

Oft behind the scene of action,

Often never seen or heard,

Yet she stands forever ready

Just to give a helping word.

It is not in active service

That her worth is really shown,

But in bearing heavy burdens

That to others are unknown.

With encouragement and vision

She must urge God's servant on,

When the shadows are the darkest

And his courage almost gone.

With her home forever open

And her work quite never done,

She is ever his lieutenant

In the battles fought and won.

+ + + +

Thank you, Nancy, for being my wife, partner and friend


Newly discovered
Written some 45 years ago



To play so many parts in the home life and the church life has made the divorce rate rise in the last years. I remember telling a pulpit committee once, "If the Lord leads me to your church (through your voting) I want you to know right away that you will not "Get two for the price of one". While it lightened the atmosphere it spoke heavy words.

In going through her papers after Nancy gradated to Heaven, - you recall, she fell asleep next to me in bed here and woke up "there" Oh, how beautiful was that. - August 20, 2013 A few days later, I was going though a lot of memories, letters, etc. and I ran across this letter. We were at a particular church and it will remain anonymous Her candid remarks are so spirit filled. It is so needed to be read by every wife of a pastor. The role is not easy. Nor is it easy living in a "fish bowl": That is why so many pastors, wives, and children burn out.

Pastor's wives do take the blunt of many things. Let me share the words of my dear wife.

Nancy was sharing about the impossible job of juggling attendance at the Diaconal Board, the Board of Christian Education,children's ministry, etc. She was always expected to be the first one there and the last one to leave. If she missed a meeting because of Children's illness which there were many. No one seemed to care or understand. Things were getting really bad. Many just did not want to follow my leadership. I recall telling the Area Minister that I did not mind water getting into the boat, but the boat is sinkinghelp!

Nancy wrote:

I don't know why, I'm writing this unless it is lest a written statement by me. to remind me what decisions I've come to when I am incline to become blue.

I honestly feel, honey, I can stay here – (city named) indefinitely if need be (I'm not saying that that's what we are to do) I do know, however that I'll not be bothered by anyone. I don't know if I'll not ever be hurt by anyone – perhaps if I become that "hard" I couldn't be sensitive to the needs of others.

This morning I read from Romans 8 and 3. So many thoughts have gone through my mind since then. We don't know what we "ask for" when we pray do we?

If we did, we wouldn't complain when snubbed or cursed or whatever for by so doing – if we let the LORD. He can teach us to be more loving – tenderhearted, meek and patient.

You know what, Neal, I am thankful for all the Mrs. _________ and _______ and ______for if I would let them – they can teach me something. "All things work together for good" God can make "good" out of their hatefulness if I'll let Him. By so doing He can mold me into the being He wants me to be.

I know I have not learned everything there is to learn I'll probably have to be shook many times before I'll see.

You yourself, have said how stubborn so and so ______was.

I believe I can walk up to these individuals mentioned without any hesitation at all. I can love them with the love of Jesus.

I really feel I won't be "Pretending" cause that is the way I'm suppose to be, but because I can do it. I have the love of Jesus in my heart.

You will probably have to show this to me or remind me of my thoughts for I am weak. At least I know what is right. Now to do it.

And my wife, Nancy, did and I was proud of her. She could go up to Mrs.____ and hug her and honestly say, I love you.

In another letter she writes:

I know you understand, I want to do so much more.

I don't know if this next statement is true – it's probably based on my frame of mind now but, while I'm raising "wee ones" I'm not going to be able to keep up with all the meetings – associational and our own. This I know you understand. I'm suppose I'm not like other pastor's wives, I wish I were. Perhaps it's because when I do things or rather take on a job, l have to do it right. When there are associations meetings, pertaining to my particular job (children's director) I must for example attend. That's the way I am. It hurts that I can't with the responsibilities of the children.

and, of course, that led to criticism.

My word to the church at large – honor your pastor's wife. She has more on her plate than you can imagine..and pray for the many wives who have fallen ill do to the constant unrealistic pressure. Remember her pulpit is the kitchen sink and her congregation are the children. That, when realized, makes for a very healthy Church of the Living Savior.

Jesus put it quite well when He said, "You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy but I tell you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you that you may be sons of your father in heaven (Matt. 5:45 ff) My girl, Mrs. Nancy Carlson, with God's help, lived that scripture – oh, did she so live those words.

Pastor Neal and Nancy

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