First Ladies' Diaries: An Interview with Ruth McKillop
April 05, 2023 · by Andrea Long
Years ago, the She's Intentional blog started a series called the First Ladies' Diaries. The intent is for pastors' wives to share wisdom with ladies of all ages - in ministry or not. When I met Sis. McKillop at a conference earlier this year, I felt that she had much to impart to our readers. She graciously agreed to be a part of the Dainty Jewells blog, and we are thrilled to have her join us today. Welcome, Sis. McKillop, and thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for us!
We'd like to introduce you to our readers today. At what church and city are you a pastor's wife and how long have you been there?
RM: Family Worship Center in Plaster Rock, New Brunswick, Canada. I have served as Pastor’s wife since 2010.
SI: What are some things you love about being a pastor's wife?
RM: I enjoy serving people, entertaining guests, and all things hospitality related. Due to our remote setting, we often host guests in our home. This is truly my happy place. Additionally, observing people grow in their faith, get established and commence becoming what God has purposed for them to be is so rewarding.
As a pastor’s wife, you experience a variety of roles. Rarely are two days alike. Yes, there can be difficult days, but the joys of the journey certainly surpass the trying moments.
SI: Growing up, what did you imagine yourself doing with your life? Would you ever have imagined yourself being a pastor's wife?
RM: Growing up, I always enjoyed working with people. I managed a pharmacy and taught music lessons for many years. My plan was to continue that full-time. So, no, I did not imagine myself in the role of Pastor’s wife.
I was blessed to be born and raised in the church where I now serve as Pastor’s wife. Through the years, I was actively involved in serving in many capacities — music ministry, choir, teaching in our church school, and planning and coordinating church events. The lessons learned from each of these experiences equipped me with valuable tools I now use in fulfilling my role as Pastor’s wife today.
SI: If you could go back and give your teenaged/young 20s self a piece of wisdom, what would that be?
RM: Be more intentional. Stay focused on each project and complete it. Don’t consume yourself with the tomorrows. What you accomplish and conquer today is vital for the success of your future.
Learn to Prioritize. Time really does quickly pass. The old saying is true: “Long are the days, but short are the years.” Make it a priority to carve time for the things that are most important. Treasure the moments that become precious memories.
SI: What is your favourite Bible scripture, and why do you love that particular scripture?
RM: Psalms 91 is my favourite chapter. God made this passage of Scripture so real to me when our church was going through a difficult season.
Psalms 91:1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
The secret to being safe and secure is discovering that place in God where you can abide. This is not a common place that you frequent intermittently. Rather, it is a secret place you dwell. Abiding in that secret place gives you a covering... a daily protection.
Verse 4 states that His faithfulness is a shield and wall. If you put your total confidence in God, He will be your protector and defender, and you can be confident that you are safe.
SI: What are some nuggets of wisdom you'd love to share with Apostolic young women (teenagers, young adults)?
RM: Strive to be the best ‘you’ possible. God has a unique role designed for you that only you can fulfill. Living for God is not a race where we compete with each other — it’s about finishing your course well. Remember, we each have our own lane. Don’t be inhibited by competing with contemporaries. Outrunning others does not guarantee that we will hear “well done.”
Pray about everything. If it’s worth worrying about, it’s worth praying about. Jesus cares about even the little details. Ask the sparrow.
Be thankful. The Apostle Paul said: “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you...” Being thankful keeps you in the will of God. You can always be grateful for something. Look for those opportunities every day. Your perspective will change when you choose gratitude.
SI: What one piece of advice would you pass on to a new pastor's wife?
RM: Your new label is not ‘Mrs. Fix-It.’ You alone are not able to solve every situation. Be compassionate; offer to listen and pray, but ultimately you cannot bear the weight of everyone’s burdens. The most effective, powerful thing you can do is spend time in prayer over situations that concern you. Prayer is not the least we can do; it’s the best we can do. Prayer is just as big as God is, and prayer changes things.
My husband has given me the following wise advice from time to time: “You cannot ride everyone’s emotional roller coaster; there are times you just have to get off.”
SI: Are there any successes, struggles, victories or defeats you've faced as a pastor's wife that you feel our readers could learn from?
RM: Each life is a beautiful tapestry woven together with the fine threads of success, struggles, victories and defeats. No life is comprised of all strands of success. It is crucial that we learn from each personal experience. Faith and trust in God are strengthened during the darkest moments of your life.
For years, my husband and I prayed that God would heal our barrenness. During that period of time, we saw God perform many miracles in our congregation. It can be confusing to see God heal people you pray for yet not answer the prayer you are praying for yourself. However, we trusted on. Oft times, it’s the prayers that God doesn’t answer that propels us to the position God has purposed for us to be in. Embracing unanswered prayers is just as critical as embracing answered prayers.
God has since blessed us with an adopted son (from the country of Belize) that we would not trade for any miracle. Subsequently, this has opened up the door for our church to be directly involved with a mission in the country of Belize... that is now being led by my husband’s brother and family.
Truly, I can say that all things work together for the good of them that love the Lord.
SI: Do you ever get tired or burned out from ministry? If so, how do you handle that?
RM: Yes, there are times when you do get tired and weary. In those overwhelmed moments, I try to slip away to that ‘secret place’ and talk to God.
Additionally, you need to know it is ok to rest. It is important to set aside time to recharge your battery — spiritually, emotionally and physically. Jesus did. Resting is part of ministry. Production will be halted, and no one will benefit when your battery is dead.
SI: Are there any books (besides the Bible) that you'd recommend that you've found helpful as a pastor's wife or in your walk with God?
RM: A few selections that I have enjoyed:
- - My Child
- - What if God Wrote Your To-Do List
- - The Best Yes
- - Forgiving What You Can’t Forget
- - Books by Nona Freeman
SI: If you had a day free where you could do anything you wanted, what would that be?
RM: - Spend time with my family
- Cook (try some new recipes)
- Go for a walk in summer or snowshoe in the winter
SI: Before we go, tell us a few of your favorite things!
RM: - HerbalTea
- Mint dark chocolate
- Anything lime flavoured
- Adventures with my family