Book Review: “The Privilege” by Kay Smith

I was gifted this book by another pastor’s wife and I am so thankful! Written by Chuck Smith’s wife, Kay, The Privilege is an eye-opening journey through Kay’s years of ministry and marriage. Reading this book was an incredible reminder that while times and culture change, the Gospel does not. I was a little worried about this book being old fashioned or written in a different time. I was pleasantly surprised. Kay walks through important truths, difficult situations, and Christianity basics which are sure to guide the pastor’s wife in any city.

Reading this book was an incredible reminder that while times and culture change, the Gospel does not.

Kay begins with the basics – our relationship with God and intimacy with Him. While I have heard this over and over again and been hounded on the importance of it, Kay addresses it in a fresh way. She presents the urgency of being near to God – reminding me that I “simply can’t survive in the ministry without a consistent devotional life.” She explores the dangers of counseling “out of your flesh” versus through the Spirit and reminds us that “devotion always comes before service.”My favorite chapter by far was chapter two: Watchman on the Wall. Kay presents prayer in a whole new way which truly changed my prayer life forever. She says if she could inspire one thing in me it would be to inspire me to pray. She says the church “deserves a pastor’s wife who prays for them.” Wow. Deserves! It’s easy to focus on self when church planting – it can be a little crazy. You may be in a new city trying to make friends or you may be pregnant with your first child and sick every day (like I was). You may be worried about finances and figuring out this new season. You may be overwhelmed with meeting the needs of others and don’t have any extra time. However even in that, Kay would say it is my responsibility to pray. I realized how important it was for me to pray for our church and how I was definitely failing in this area. God used this chapter to revolutionize my prayer life.

I “simply can’t survive in the ministry without a consistent devotional life.”

In other chapters, Kay talks about the reality of being a pastor’s wife: phones ringing off the hook, house calls at all hours, real spiritual warfare, lack of closeness with others, the need to have a forgiving heart toward the critics. She shares real stories which are personal and influential. Hearing her share so many real conflicts and how she handled them has well prepared me for what may come.

The Gift of Brokenness chapter was also one of my favorites. She talks of the importance of being broken before the Lord in order to be used by Him. She makes things quite simple when she says “either you control your life or the Holy Spirit controls your life.” I love the way she addresses repentance – that we are to repent the instant we know we are wrong. Instead of waiting or thinking things through, if we know we have sinned, we must repent – to the person and to God. What a simple truth!

This is definitely a book I will re-read for years to come when I need some encouragement or wisdom about a certain situation or even a refreshing of my mind and how I view the church and my role. Kay’s words are simple yet revolutionary, sweet yet convicting, real yet encouraging. She gives great wisdom on how to serve and love our husbands and how to love the church. I’m grateful for Kay sharing her heart and her life – it has made a huge difference in my life and ministry.

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Book review by Julianne Gavin

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