This post is part of a series celebrating our pastors’ wives — godly women who play the role of shepherdesses in our lives, taking care of our shepherds and becoming like second mothers to so many of us. Today we’re talking to Sis. Robin Parker, pastor’s wife at Lighthouse Pentecostal Church in La Grande, Oregon.
Sis. Parker, thank you for taking the time to talk with us today! Where are you a pastor’s wife, and how long have you been there?
I’ve been a pastor’s wife at La Grande, Oregon, since 1984 — so, 35 years!
What are some things you love about being a pastor’s wife?
I love working with people and helping people. I love seeing people grow and be the best that they can be. I love watching them change from having misery to having peace and joy and righteousness. I just love that!
Growing up, what did you imagine yourself doing with your life? Would you ever have imagined yourself being a pastor’s wife?
I would have imagined myself being a horse trainer and running a big ranch! And no, I would have never thought I’d be where I am today! But God moved, and He did some things just specifically to save me. I had to move way away from where I lived to be able to find a church. There were no churches where I was from, and my parents were atheists.
If you could go back and give your teenaged self a piece of wisdom, what would it be?
For those who are dating age, I would suggest to not even flirt with a guy that you wouldn’t consider marriage material. I know that’s hard. And sometimes, how do you even know he’s marriage material?
First, be friends. Get to know the guy as a friend first. There’s always time for romance later. And don’t worry — if you’re afraid that someone else is going to get him, then he’s not the right one. And if you get the wrong one, you’ll be forever sorry. But definitely, if you want to be a pastor’s wife, don’t even think twice about dating a guy who doesn’t also have that interest or who doesn’t show signs of wanting to be a pastor.
Honestly, if I were a young girl in that position, knowing what I know now, I would do a lot of fasting and praying about any guy. I would get counsel from people who know him. Unfortunately, people are often not what they seem.
What are some nuggets of wisdom you’d love to share with Apostolic young women?
Don’t take your Christian walk lightly. Don’t ride the fence and do it halfway. You might call your Christian walk a lifestyle — and it is a lifestyle — but if that’s all it is to you, then you’ll be miserable. The more you give to God, the better, the more peaceful, the more joyful, and the more fulfilled you’re going to actually feel.
If you’re feeling any kind of emptiness, it’s because you’re not totally connected to God and His will. The more you give to God, the more you’ll get back. It’s easy to live for God hard; it’s hard to live for God easy.
When it comes to being connected to God, the sky’s the limit. There’s no ceiling on your walk with Him — no ceiling on what He can do through you and with you.
When it comes to taking your Christian walk seriously, I feel the Bible is one of the most important things. Emotional experience is great, but without the solidity of the Word, when the wind comes, you’re going to be tossed to and fro. You won’t have anything to stand on! But when troubles and trials come, and you know the Word, and you have faith in the Word, and it’s in you, then you’re going to be tough. You’re going to stand and not fall apart.
People who built their house on the sand heard the Word, but they didn’t do the Word. People who built their house on the rock both heard and obeyed the Word. The Word is super important. Studying the Word, to me, is important. You have to have a plan and a focus.
If you’re struggling with something — say, you want to pray more — it’s just like if you’re going to go on a diet. You read diet stuff. It gets it in your mind so you can focus. If you wanna pray more, study the Word about praying — about what God thinks about praying. The rewards of praying. And then it’s okay to read a good Christian book about prayer. But make sure it’s Apostolic.
Of course, there’s also prayer. To me, if you get up and start talking to God like you would your family, then you’re praying. You’re connected. There will be times when you’re just chatting with God, and there will be times when you have a serious conversation.
Develop a relationship with God — and then prayer will be fun. It’s not a drudgery where you feel like you have to keep your appointment. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to have an appointment with God. But if that’s all you’re doing, that’s not good. Letting God absorb you — and you absorbing God — is a really important part of prayer.
Of course, there’s also fasting. There’s so much power in fasting. My husband’s aunt told me when we first got in church, “There’s nothing a three-day fast won’t cure.” And I can say that I probably haven’t done enough of those no-food, no-water fasts, but I’ve done my share of fasting, and I’ve seen powerful results.
The Scripture says, “This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” If you’ve got a big stump, you gotta get the bulldozer out: that is prayer and fasting.
The Word, prayer, and fasting go hand in hand. If you do those, everything else is easy. You also have to be repentant. You have to be repentant to pray. You have to be repentant to read the Bible because it shows you when you’ve got sin in your life. Faithfulness and submission also go hand in hand with the Word, prayer, and fasting.
And these are three things everyone can do. You may not be able to sing or do other things, but everyone can study the Word, pray, and fast. These bring everyone to a level playing field of the reality of what true living for God is all about. Being able to be used of God stems from these three things.
Also, don’t forget the power in the name of Jesus. Don’t hesitate to use the name of Jesus. Make it a verbal, out-loud thing you use whenever you need help. I’ve been faced with some scary situations, and of course, I would say, “In Jesus’ name” under my breath, and I’ve seen God back down evil spirits right in front of me by just the name of Jesus. I’ve seen devils cast out of people in the name of Jesus. It’s in that name that the power lies, but if you don’t have the Word, prayer, and fasting behind, you, you don’t have the power. Couple those things with the name of Jesus, and the sky’s the limit.
What is your favorite Bible scripture?
I Timothy 3:16: “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
That’s my favorite verse because it’s where I got a revelation of God in the flesh. I always believed Jesus was God, but when I saw that God was made clear in the flesh, that excited me — and it still does!
Are there any successes, struggles, or defeats you’ve faced as a pastor’s wife that you feel our readers could learn from?
I’d only been in church three-and-a-half years, and I’d been raised in an atheistic family. I didn’t even know there was an Old and New Testament when I got in church. I knew nothing. But I did have a belief that there was a God, and I knew Jesus was God.
I started teaching Bible studies the first month I was in church. Once I found this, I wanted everybody to get it. Then we became pastor, and I started a school. I had three children already, and I was pregnant with my fourth. I wanted my family to be saved. I was especially concerned about my dad. He’d actually acknowledged that if he was going to be a Christian, he was going to be one like we were — because he didn’t think we were hypocrites.
But he ended up dying.
I was teaching a lot of Bible studies, was pregnant, had three kids, ran the school, was a pastor’s wife, I played the organ and did most of the music, and I kind of got a little burned out. I got so discouraged from my dad dying without God that it really knocked a hole in my faith. I remember going to the prayer room and going through the motions, but I just couldn’t pray. I would think to myself, What’s the use for me praying? If I get my hopes up for someone praying for them and then they end up lost, I’ll go through this all over again.
I knew that thinking wasn’t right, but I couldn’t get out of it. One time I even told my husband to leave me alone and let me deal with this, to give me space. One day I decided I wasn’t going to church. I played the organ, the only instrument we had, really. I was mad at my husband — negative, negative, negative — and he got up and got the kids ready for church without me.
I was mad, yelling, saying how I hated church, I didn’t like my husband, I was never going to church again, and on and on. I was yelling — and all the while I was getting dressed for church! And I ended up at the church. I remember getting out of the car and hearing that church was starting. I went and grabbed the door of the church, and I said, “Okay, take that, devil!” I walked in, went straight to the front row, threw my hands up in the air and just started worshipping God.
And that was the end of it!
All through that time, it was like I just kept doing what I knew I should be doing — going through the motions, but being faithful. I never missed a complete service. I still would try to pray. I would still teach my Bible studies and run the school. I just kept going. And then all of a sudden, I realized, “Oh! It’s gone!”
Sometimes we just have to be tough and keep on keeping on. A lot of people get discouraged, and that’s when they flake away. They quit doing what they know they should do.
You can’t rely just on emotions and feelings. If you do, you’ll be miserable. Your marriage won’t last. Your relationship with God won’t last. Your relationship with your children won’t last if you rely on your feelings and emotions.
So do what’s right no matter what you feel like. Push through. You can’t go wrong by just doing what you know is right to do.
Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us today! Before we go, a few fun questions: If you had a day free where you could do anything you wanted, what would that be?
Honestly, I do what I want to do every day. A free day? Sometimes I’d like to just take about ten naps! But not very often do I want to that — unless I’ve been doing a lot of stressful work.
I like to spend time with my grandkids and church people. I do what I love!
Last but not least, tell us a few of your favorite things!
When I was young, I never held babies. I didn’t like to babysit. I thought I would never have kids. Then when I got married, something got on me, and I was obsessed with it! I got pregnant, had a baby, and really enjoyed being a mom. It was different when they were mine!
We’ve done foster care, working with people in the church, and we ended up adopting three siblings, so we actually have nine kids altogether. Now I also have ten grandkids and one great-grandson.
I like spending time with my kids — any kids! I love the school for that reason. I like hanging out with my grandkids. That’s really important to me. I also enjoy my horses. That’s a lot of fun for me.
As for food and drink, I’ve always liked pop, but I stopped drinking anything with sugar. I really like my coffee — just black coffee. And steak is my favorite. I could eat ribeye steak and broccoli every meal for the rest of my life.