Ministry is hard. And every ministry wife needs—and deserves—encouragement.
A woman marries a man, not his ministry. But all too often her husband’s calling complicates their life together. What if ministry life isn’t what she bargained for? What happens when her children make mistakes? How does she deal with church gossip, or even slander?
As a pastor’s wife of almost fifty years, Jani Ortlund addresses these questions, along with many others, as she offers encouragement and guidance to ministry wives. Jani reminds readers that God works out his delightfully good purposes in and through their sacrifices.
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About the Author
Jani Ortlund is a well-known writer and conference speaker. She is the wife of Raymond Ortlund Jr., who is an author, a former seminary professor and pastor, and the president at Renewal Ministries. Jani, a former schoolteacher, holds a master’s degree in education and serves as executive vice president at Renewal Ministries (ortlund.net). The Ortlunds have four children and fifteen grandchildren.
Table of Contents
Foreword Ray Ortlund 11
1 Help! I Didn't Bargain for This 19
2 Help! It's Sunday Morning 25
3 Help! I Want to Fix Him 31
4 Help! My Husband Seems Depressed 39
5 Help! I Can't Remember Their Names 45
6 Help! My Children Aren't Perfect 49
7 Help! My Pastor Doesn't Understand Me 59
8 Help! I Haven't Seen Them for a While 67
9 Help! I Need More of God 71
10 Help! Our Romance Is Regressing 81
11 Help! They're Talking Again 87
12 Help! Remind Me Why We Do -This 99
Appendix: Scriptural Prayers for My Husband 107
General Index 113
Scripture Index 117
What People are Saying About This
“While being a pastor’s wife is not an office in the church, it comes with hidden expectations and undefined responsibilities. While knowing intimately the integrity of the man behind the pulpit holds enormous blessings, living in the constant, unyielding spotlight can weary the soul. A pastor’s wife must learn how to feed on the word of God, turn the other cheek, cling to Christ, embrace the means of grace, protect her children from criticism and callings that they did not choose, and support a husband whose calling demands he lay down his life again and again. And all of this is done in the public eye. A pastor’s wife needs a trustworthy friend, and she will find that friend in Jani Ortlund’s book. Jani’s wisdom has been refined by almost fifty years of being the wife of her pastor. Her writing style is simple, straightforward, and sane. Practical, poignant, and personal, this book is—like Jani—wise and tender and most of all, faithful to the call of Christ to join in the ‘fellowship of His sufferings’ (Phil. 3:10 NKJV). I love this book.”—Rosaria Butterfield, Former Professor of English, Syracuse University; author, The Gospel Comes with a House Key
“Ministry wives today face both joys and challenges as they navigate their calling. Would that we could sit down with Jani Ortlund and learn from her wealth of wisdom from nearly fifty years of experience as an excellent wife alongside her pastor husband, Ray Ortlund. This book is the next best thing! Each short chapter tackles a timely challenge and then answers it biblically and specifically. Jani is one of the Lord’s sweetest servants, and she embraces the high calling to be a pastor’s wife to the glory of God. Jani loves Jesus and draws others to him. Jani loves Ray and inspires all of us who are ministry wives to serve more enthusiastically as we swim against the tide. Her writings are a gift. I am particularly eager to share this encouraging book with student wives as they prepare to serve our Lord and his church.”—Mary K. Mohler, Director, Seminary Wives Institute, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; author, Growing in Gratitude
“I am thankful for this special and much-needed book—fresh, joyous, and written by someone who has been there and not found God to be wanting. What an encouragement to us ministry wives! It made me glad to be a pastor’s wife, strengthened my hands for the work, and made me want to share this with my husband.”—Carolyn Ash, wife of Christopher Ash, Writer-in-Residence, Tyndale House, Cambridge
“Oh, my goodness! I was hooked from the foreword to the very last prayer. I already knew I was going to love this book from my interaction with the gracious author, Jani Ortlund. However, I must say, this book exceeded my expectations! It is written with such warmth, humor, understanding, and grace. It is a must for every pastor’s wife. Jani offers sage advice comingled with gentleness, understanding, affirmation, and oodles of encouragement. I plan on buying numerous copies of this book for women I know whose husbands are in God’s service. Every chapter brought tears to my eyes, a smile to my face, and joy to my heart!”—Cheryl Brodersen, speaker; Bible teacher; Host, Living Grace; wife of Brian Brodersen, Pastor, Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, California
“If you’ve lived as a ministry wife for more than ten seconds, you’ll likely know how incredibly rewarding yet exceedingly difficult it can be. Jani Ortlund definitely does! This wonderful book is a treasure chest overflowing with refreshing, practical gems of wisdom, advice, and encouragement from a woman who has been there. Jani knows how to read the emotional dashboard of life as a ministry wife and then point us back to Jesus. Read this book slowly and soak up these truths; you’ll find fuel for your journey and joy along the way.”—Kristina Ramsey, pastor’s wife and church planter, Liberti Church, Gold Coast, Australia
“The church is often aware of the chaos that comes with being a pastor, but the struggles of a pastor’s wife are often overlooked. Jani Ortlund’s motherly affection for younger pastors’ wives shines through in Help! I’m Married to My Pastor. She disciples us at the turning of every page with her godly wisdom and love.”—Nikki Daniel, wife of Bert Daniel, Pastor, Crawford Avenue Baptist Church, Augusta, Georgia
“Jani Ortlund invites pastors’ wives and ministry leaders to drink from her deep well of biblical, practical wisdom. This book is a winsome reminder of why we must press on in our calling despite real hardships along the way. Jani is running with us, coaching us to press on toward the goal because Christ is worth it. Every married woman in ministry will be spurred to the finish line through her mentoring in Help! I’m Married to My Pastor. It’s been added to my list of must-read books to equip and encourage women. I joyfully recommend it!”—Leslie Bennett, Director of Women’s Ministry Initiatives, Revive Our Hearts