Pastor’s wife. It’s such a unique role. As a mental health counselor, boundaries have proven to be essential. As a pastor’s wife, boundaries have been critically necessary.
After learning my husband would be in ministry, one phrase that stood out to me was, “you live in a glass house.” A house made of glass. I am seen. I am watched. I am…exposed?
This idea has always bothered me. It’s a significant imagery to try to understand and accept as pastors’ wives. It’s tempting to just laugh and shrug it off, but should we? At first, I did. I dismissed it offhand, like a lot of the terms, phrases, and ideologies put upon me as a pastor’s wife. But the more I sat with the idea of living in a glass house, the less I wanted to just shrug it off.
Yes, this role means we’re watched and looked to. A friend recently pointed out, “if your husband is an electrician, you’re not more likely to be approached and expected to be accessible for personal conversations and comments, but if you’re a pastor’s wife, this is the norm.” It’s a joy to be looked to and to be able to offer the hope of Christ with anyone who would seek me out (I’m a counselor—I love to make space to listen and love others!). It’s another thing to receive unsolicited commentary about my life and family from folks who see me or my husband and feel invited to offer thoughts and insights into our life but don’t really know us—and I don’t necessarily know them.
As I processed this phrase with my husband, wondering aloud where it even comes from, he lovingly reminded me that Scripture never says we live in “glass houses.” It says we are called to be a “city on a hill”—just like everyone else. He also pointed out that doesn’t mean that others are given license to scrutinize or speak freely about our homes and lives at their will. We are simply called to reflect Jesus’ light and love in this world just like any other believer.
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:14-16
Cities are fortified and protected. This is important to God throughout His Word. In Scripture, it saddens the Lord’s heart when His people are left without protection and strong walls. He sets up watchmen and security for cities. We have a refuge, a strong tower, and the same fortified armor as anyone else. Boundaries are beautiful in His Word, and He uses them for our good and His glory.
As a “city on a hill,” we are reflectors of the light and love of Jesus in this world. He gets the glory. Live full of His light and love, beloved sister. Your God is a strong tower and refuge! Live in His grace and walk confidently in His strength, sisters! Keep shining with the Gospel light for the glory of the Lord!