DEAR AUNT HANNAH:
THE conference has given Bob a circuit. I am thrilled at the thought of being a minister's wife, but it also leaves me cold with fright! I have no training for life in a parsonage. Please tell me, out of your many years of experience, how to become a real help-meet to Bob. Write soon to your loving,
MARY-ANN. DEAR MARY-ANN:
Since your urgent plea came this morning, I have been praying for wisdom to tell you a little of what you must do and be.
You already have three counts in your favor, charming personality, good education, and a sincere, devoted love for God and your husband. See to it that your love for both of them grows with the years, for "our characters are shaped by the love that masters us." Yet, little things are often allowed to mar and sometimes ,destroy the influence of one who is really good. So we will think of some of these "little" things.
You will live in a glass house and your husband's influence will be enhanced or hindered by your words, actions, personal appearance and the atmosphere of your home.
Your Bob, a prophet of God, must always hold first place in all your thoughts and plans and never yourself, children or home. When there is no study in the church you must see that he has a study no matter how much it .crowds. The family must learn that when father is in the study he must not be disturbed, for the success of his ministry depends largely on the hours spent there.
Christianity is a religion of purity and beauty, so be careful that this inner beauty is not clouded by careless personal habits. Keep yourself, family and home always neat and clean.
Do not be a talebearer! (Psalms 19:12-14.) The best and safest way is never to repeat one thing that is told you in private, no matter how trivial it may seem. Your people will soon learn that they can trust you and will come to you with their sorrows and troubles, thus gaining the relief that is felt when they can pour out their hearts to a sympathetic listener. This knowledge of the deep needs of your members increases your ability to help them. You will, in time, become a veritable "Mother Confessor," but woe to you if you ever betray one little confidence.
Your position is not that of a dictator, so don't think you must head every committee or be president of every group. Your women will work with you and will follow you, but most people will not be driven.
Never correct or criticize your husband before others, nor should you ever argue with each other in public or before the family. Keep your differences between you two. Present a united front to the world!
There are many more things we could talk about but not now. Come and see me when you can and be sure I will always be happy to hear from you.
Here is the Scripture God gave me when my young husband went into the ministry and I was just as frightened and bewildered as you are: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, . . and it shall be given you . . ." (James 1:5, 6). Hundreds of times down through the long years I have pled this promise at the Throne and He has always fulfilled it, often in a way that amazed me.
Good-by and God bless you,