The Legacy of a Pastor’s Wife: Content to Die
weeks filled with difficulty and extreme emotions, Jeana was alerted
this past Wednesday night that her 97-year-old mother was admitted to
the hospital and concerns about her future on this earth were very real.
By Thursday morning, it was clear Jeana’s mom may be in her final days
and Jeana was able to arrive in Lubbock, Texas, that same evening.
Sunday morning, I was reminded how, Sunday-by-Sunday, Jeana’s mom, a
faithful pastor’s wife, would prepare to join her husband for worship
and ministry with the church. I was also reminded that Sunday morning is
a continual reminder of the resurrection of Jesus which we celebrate as
Christ-followers. Following the worship service, I phoned Jeana and
asked her to relay a message to her mom. She shared with her mom,
“Ronnie told me to tell you Sunday is Resurrection Day, and this would
be a good day to go see Jesus.” She nodded her head in agreement and at
3:24 p.m. CT on Sunday, holding Jeana’s hand, entered eternal life in
“And we are not afraid but are quite content to die, for then we will be at home with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8 TLB
We were convinced that Jeana’s mom would live to 100 years old. Oh, she
had wanted to leave this world for a while, but God gave her many years
A Glimpse at the Life of this Pastor’s Wife
Effie Thomas, Jeana’s mom, was married to her husband, Fred, for 56
years. Within days after she and Fred were married, she said goodbye to
him for two years as he served in the U.S. Navy in World War II. Her
patience and love even then personified the way she lived her entire
Following Fred’s service in the Navy, they served the Lord together for
decades. Effie joined him every Sunday and day-by-day as a pastor’s
wife, serving alongside her husband and serving the Lord together. While
their ministry began in east Texas, where Jeana was born, most of their
ministry was in west Texas. They also served a church in New Mexico for
a few years. Fred retired in 1987 in Bridgeport, Texas, where he died
in 1999 and is buried. This week, his wife’s body will be buried beside
Mrs. Thomas, Jeana’s mom and my mother-in-law, represents so many
pastor’s wives across the United States and the world. She was quiet, a
true servant, and a willing woman of God who was faithful to her
husband, family, and to Jesus and His Church through the end.
A Quiet, Willing, Faithful, and True Servant
Mrs. Thomas was never asked to speak in a conference, and she had no
desire to do so. That was not her. This quiet, faithful woman of God
will never have her name appear in a chronicle of Baptist history. Yet,
the Lord knows her and He will reward her for her genuine servant’s
heart and faithfulness.
“I would never want to stand in the Lord’s way…”
Approximately five years ago, after finally believing she needed to be
in an assisted living center, Mrs. Thomas agreed to let us move her to
Northwest Arkansas. We assured her we were not leaving, as we felt God
had assigned us to be there for our entire ministry life. Then,
twenty-eight months ago, surprising to us, our ministry calling changed
and we moved to Nashville, Tennessee.
Oh, how Jeana dreaded having that conversation with her mom. But Mrs.
Thomas said something similar to what she had many times before, “Jeana,
I would never want to stand in the Lord’s way—you and Ronnie have to go
and do what the Lord is calling you to do. I will move to be with
Freddy in Lubbock.” And again, she willingly moved to be near her son in
This woman of God, a pastor’s wife, represents so many others who are
out there serving thousands of churches across America and the world.
Perhaps one of her greatest legacies was raising her daughter, Jeana, my
beloved wife of forty-four years.
To all the pastor’s wives, be encouraged. The Lord knows your name. He
knows your servant heart. He knows your faithfulness to your husband and
your willingness to serve the church he serves, together by his side.
There is no one like a pastor’s wife. Today, I honor you as I honor my
mother-in-law who loved Jesus, served Him, gave to Him, walked with Him,
and now is present with Him. He knew her name, and in reality, that is
all that matters.
Mrs. Thomas was quite content to die daily as we are called upon to do,
but also she was more than ready to die physically, knowing her body
would be left behind and she would immediately be with the Lord. She was
not afraid and more than ready to see Jesus.
One more time: Thank God for every pastor’s wife across America and the entire world.