By Carolyn Dwyer

When I was young, I played a game called Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar? I would choose a partner and begin the recitation while clapping alternately one of my friend’s hands. Other girls waited to jump in when their names were called. It went like this…

Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?

You stole the cookies from the cookie jar.

Who, Me? Yes, you! Couldn’t be! Then who?

Susie stole the cookies from the cookie jar!

Who, Me? Yes, you! And on and on it would go.

Little did I know that I would later ask the Lord a similar question. “Who, me?” He would say, “Yes, you!”  And in shock I would reply, “Couldn’t be!”

Reality of the Call

My husband and I were saved early and later rededicated our lives. We were growing in the Lord spending hours with our pastor and his wife who poured their lives into us as we studied the Word of God together. Danny and I were excited about living the Christian life, but I knew nothing of what was happening in my husband’s heart.

One afternoon he came home from work and announced that God had called him to preach. “You have got to be kidding! I can’t be a preacher’s wife!” I said. I ran to the bedroom in tears.

I am glad God was not finished with me because I was unprepared to receive the news. I had preconceived ideas about what a preacher’s wife should be and didn’t feel that I could measure up. After my initial crying and questioning, I concluded that since God called my husband, He certainly knew I came with the package and would be my strength and help (Phil. 4:13).

Joys of Ministry

Those frightful first days turned into years of joy. One of those joys has been the friendships made. In every church where we ministered, great Christians crossed my path enriching my life. What a treat to have missionaries, evangelists, preachers and Christian college students in our home as positive influences for our children.

The adventure of moving to different states has been challenging. I learned to adapt with plenty of opportunity to develop my decorating skills. From Tennessee to Mississippi to West Virginia to Virginia Beach to North Carolina to Alabama, I found that “the earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof.”

The greatest joy has been seeing people get saved (my children included), mature in Christ, raise families of their own and observe them rear their children to honor Christ.

Stabilizing Factor

The stabilizing factor bringing contentment to me as a pastor’s wife has been the never-changing truth of God’s Word. I found that truth comforts, encourages, corrects and instructs when taken to heart. Perhaps you can identify with me in these encounters.

I needed reassurance when we first left our home area following the Lord’s will. I missed my parents and other family members. Our children eventually married and started their own families. Now they are in Christian ministry living hundreds of miles away (Matt.19:29). I still remind myself of God’s truth to take the edge off the “missing family syndrome.”

I will never forget the first time I was asked to speak at a district Woman’s Auxiliary meeting. I had only taught children’s Sunday School classes and given the program at auxiliary meetings with about five people present. I was struggling trying to be friendly to people I didn’t know (Prov. 18:24). But God has a way of stretching us, challenging our faith. I made it through even though my legs were like spaghetti.

Parenting can try the best of saints. That’s why I took Deuteronomy 6:6–7 to heart. I wanted my children to grow up and follow Christ. Our supper table was not only for eating, but for devotional and instructional time as well.

When hurt by words spoken in haste, I remember that “A soft answer turneth away wrath…” (Prov. 15:1a ) and honestly try to “overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21).

If I am called to identify with Christ through physical or emotional suffering, Jesus whispers, “My grace is sufficient for thee…” (2 Cor.12:2a).

“Who, me? A pastor’s wife?” “Yes, me!”

About the Writer: Carolyn Dwyer is a member of Cramerton Free Will Baptist Church in Cramerton, North Carolina, where her husband, Dr. Danny Dwyer, pastors. Article adapted from Contact Magazine, March 2004.