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Book Jacket

Trade Paperback
320 pages
Jan 2006
Kress Christian Publications

One with a Shepherd: The Tears and Triumphs of a Ministry Marriage

by Mary Somerville

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


If you are considering a life of ministry, or if you are married to a pastor and would like to have ready access to the wisdom of a woman who has spent many years in ministry, Mary Somerville's book, One with a Shepherd: The Tears and Triumphs of a Ministry Wife, is a very helpful and encouraging work. The 304 pages that make it up are worth their weight in gold. She has served as a pastor's wife for over three decades. Her and her husband, Bob, have led two churches, one in New Jersey, the other in California.

Covering just about every major aspect of ministry, One with a Shepherd is broken up into sixteen chapters, along with four appendices. Toward the end the author provides a valuable reading list on "Spiritual Growth," "Marriage," "Childrearing," "Home Management," "Discipling/Counseling," and every list is filled with very trustworthy authors. Mary writes on such subjects as the importance for pastors' wives to understand their role in ministry (Chapter 1), coping with loneliness (Chapter 6), how to deal with rebellious children (Chapter 10), and the importance of discipling other women (Chapter 14).

One of the topics that grabbed my attention most was what she wrote about pastors' wives defining their role in the church, so as not to fall into the trap of having to live up to the unbiblical expectations of others (a notorious problem in churches). For example, she writes, "If you want to be free from the burden of false guilt, you should first determine if you have yielded to non-biblical expectations." And further, "Realize too that we do not answer to everyone else; we answer to God alone for our actions…This means turning a deaf ear to the complaints and criticisms that are ungrounded" (p. 3). Another area Mary deals with that caught my attention is an issue that is seldom treated in books on ministry: the pain inflicted by members of the church. She says: "We suffer from people deserting us by changing churches. At other times they hurt us by staying in the church and attacking us with criticism, complaints, and gossip. Finally they may completely reject our ministry and us. We are tempted to give up in despair, but God actually wants to use these hurts that people inflict to strengthen us" (p. 64).

The wisdom, insight, and experience of the author make this a valuable resource for any pastor's wife, and any woman whose husband is preparing for ministry. Discussing the trials and tribulations of leading a church while in seminary would have better prepared me for ministry. And my wife would have been better prepared for our work if she’d had a book like this early on. This really is a tremendous work. Every pastor's wife—and every woman who is planning on becoming a pastor's wife—should read it. While many people may want to write a book, there are some that can only be written through experience. This is that type of book. Mary Somerville has so much to offer that any reader can quickly tell she is not simply passing on information, but passing on her life experiences, those that are common to the wife of any pastor. I wish there was a similar work for pastors. – Ray Hammond, Christian Book

Book Jacket:

"It's with great confidence and joy that I recommend this book.  I'm so thankful for all the women who support all the men who minister to God's church, and I know that this book will be a source of enlightenment and encouragement for them."
- ELYSE FITZPATRICK, author, speaker, counselor

"It is always a joy to recommend sound advice and biblical teaching written by someone who lives it. In this helpful volume you will find both! As a former teacher of both seminary and pastors' wives, I wholeheartedly recommend this book. It will help you to glorify our Lord and improve and better understand your ministry marriage."
- ELIZABETH GEORGE, author and women's conference speaker

"This book is a treasure of God's glory, grace, and hope for the pastor's wife. Mary Somerville has written with biblical and practical clarity all-the-while weaving in personal glimpses of her own life and what the Lord has taught her. I loved reading this exceptional book and believe it will be beloved by pastor's wives for many years to come."
- MARTHA PEACE, biblical counselor and author of The Excellent Wife