As Mother’s Day in 2023 approaches, a pastor’s wife from South China, who has served churches for nearly 30 years, shares her story.
With three daughters, Xu Rongxin (pseudonym) serves the church together with her husband, a pastor, and now she hosts marriage retreats in a church in South China. After two years of counseling and serving family groups, Xu and her husband began pastoring a church after he knew his calling as a pastor.
Xu and her husband were previously non-believers. After they converted to Christianity in the workplace, the Lord called them to be His full-time servants. Before she believed in the Lord, Xu was a strongly opinionated person, often leaving childcare and housework to her husband. As a new believer, she was unwilling to be broken by the Lord and submit to her husband. After she saw the Lord's good will for her family, her life was completely changed. Relationships with her husband and their children developed, and the mission entrusted to her by the Lord was revived.
The following is a summary of the exchanges between Xu and the Christ Times, an online Chinese Christian newspaper.
Christian Times: How did you go from an elite professional to the wife of a pastor who serves the church full-time?
Xu Rongxin: At first, I was very resistant to becoming a pastor's wife. After becoming Christians, my husband and I participated in a marriage retreat. At that time, I saw the real situation of many pastors’ wives struggling with housework and their children's education as their husbands were too busy working for God to come back home. Apart from these, they also faced a lack of financial resources and supplies. I was so sad about it that I was reluctant to become a pastor's wife.
God has a way to discipline His disobedient children. In the end, I surrendered to the Lord's will, and I willingly served as the wife of a pastor.
My husband and I both took a class on couples walking together, realizing that the unity of the family was crucial for church unity. While her husband possesses gifts in church governance, God called me to specialize in family counseling. Stable families contribute to stable churches.
Christian Times: What were your struggles and efforts to be a person after God's heart?
Xu Rongxin: I learned to be submissive to my husband after seven years. I struggled with obeying him as I believed I was smarter, though we have the same academic qualifications and experience. However, with guidance from a senior female believer who encouraged me to observe my husband's wisdom and abilities, I learned to appreciate his strength and seek advice on everything.
Christian Times: Can you tell me about your feelings toward parenting?
Xu Rongxin: I have three daughters, and the eldest one just got married this year. She is about ten years older than my second and third children. During the process of raising her, I went from an unbeliever to a believer and changed much. As my husband and I left the workplace to serve in the church, my eldest daughter had to adjust from a luxurious life to a frugal one. She had many misunderstandings about switching from learning at a selective school to a comprehensive school. Later, she chose to study abroad and completed her studies through a work-study program. During one of my visits to her, we revealed our hearts and apologized to each other. All kinds of misunderstandings were resolved, and the hurts in her heart were healed by God. After going through the challenges of raising my eldest daughter, I tried to lead my second and third daughters with God’s wisdom and will. These two younger ones are also well-behaved, playing the piano and attending services in different churches.
Later, I paid great attention to the education of children, and I developed my own courses by studying all kinds of teaching materials, indirectly helping believers teach their children Christ’s values.
Christian Times: How do you help families have a successful marriage and encourage them to serve the Lord?
Xu Rongxin: It is difficult for wives of pastors to do well in serving God and taking care of the children at the same time. But when they make time for themselves and God, they can overcome these difficulties. I also urge families to establish family altars, pray, read the Bible together, and communicate with each other regularly. In addition, it is important for them to speak with gentle hearts to bless others.
I often encourage pastors’ wives to prepare hot tea and hug their husbands when they come back. When going out, couples should also hug and kiss. And they should pray every time they go out or return home. So that family members can feel loved and accepted.
- Translated by Abigail Wu