LESSONS OF LIFE TO THE YOUNGER WOMEN
“The older women likewise, should be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things… They should teach the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed” (Tit 2:3-5)
At 65, I am what the Bible calls ‘an older woman’. I am a wife, a mother or three and a grandmother of seven. I am a woman of God, a pastor. My husband is also a man of God and a pastor. We are married for 45 years. To be a pastor’s wife is not just a title, but my privilege, my ministry, the gift of God! According to the Word of God, I am my husband’s ‘helpmeet’ (Gen 2:18). A helper must be close to the one he helps. I have tried to keep close to my husband, spiritually in particular. It pains me when he quotes a Bible verse or teaches me something new, and I am totally ignorant of that subject. I challenge myself to study the Word of God so that when my husband needs somebody to talk to about the Bible, I am ‘current’ with it.
I have learned many things about subjects that I do not like in particular. Because my husband is a Nigerian, I know much about the current affairs in Nigeria. I am not a politician, but I need to know these things, if they are good or bad. Ignorance has never helped anybody. To listen when my husband talks I need to be informed about the subject.
I need to know my husband’s plans, his vision for the ministry, his dreams and God’s purpose for his life. I need to pray for those. I need to grow as he grows. We are not competing one against each other. But we must complement each other. To complement my husband I need to grow too. As the vision for our lives and ministry increases with time, so we must grow with it. To be left behind spiritually, to be a passive wife, it is sin. If I am lazy or careless with our relationship, and I walk too slowly behind him with nothing new to add to our marriage, that sin is almost like spiritual adultery. My husband will be tempted to be worried, angry, disappointed and bitter against me, his wife, helper and friend. As a wife, I should not be found to be too fast and lead my husband. I should also not be found to be too slow and leave him alone.
Marriage is two people learning to be one. Each one of us must grow in grace towards God and towards one another. I should not take his love for granted. I should be watchful for any virus of disappointment towards me that I sense in my husband. I must be filled with the Holy Spirit so that I will help him be the man God wants him to be. I should cherish his choice of me to be his wife. Like King Solomon, he could have married a thousand other women who are better than me, but he decided to marry me, for better and for worst. I stand in awe of God for the privilege to be called his only wife. In Nigeria with ask: ‘Na small thin be this?’ Of course the answer is no! ‘Na big thin!”
We both work hard at making our marriage a success. It is not easy to be successfully married. Success does not come with time. You need to pray and study the Bible. We both are very serious in applying the Word of God daily to our lives. No one is perfect but as people and as a couple, we aim for perfection in Christ! Many people look up to us. Our victory is theirs too! We plant good seeds of love, caring, forgiveness and we harvest hundredfold of the same! The hard work is bringing a greater than expected harvest of peace, joy, wisdom and ministry to those who call us parents in Christ. The Bible says so and I conform it: Love is stronger than failure! Love has won the battle!
Dear daughters. may these words challenge and inspire you! God loves you! God loves your marriages! God loves your children! Glory be to God!
(In the picture, my husband, Pastor Richmond Leigh, and I. I wrote this letter in 2019. Since then, my husband has gone to heaven. By God’s grace, I continue with our ministry, as the senior pastor of Father’s House Bible Church, Warri/ Effurun/Nigeria. People come and people go, but the principles of marriage found in the Bible are eternal. To God be all the glory!)