Thoughts from me - a preacher's wife, farmer's daughter, mom, and nurse. Posts are mainly intended to help me journal the events of my life - topics will include kids, church, work, marriage, life in general,
and of course my dogs . . . and whatever else I feel compelled to write about.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Confessions of a Preacher's Wife

(Brian and I on a date last summer)

A friend of mine at work who is Catholic thinks it is fascinating that I am a preacher's wife. I guess because she is used to priests who obviously don't have wives, to her I am somewhat of an enigma.

When someone tells an off-color joke, she will cover my ears and say, "Don't you know she's married to a man of the cloth?" I know she is mostly just being silly, but it does make me stop and think. How do people view us preacher's wives?

Do people think we're perfect? Do people think we have no personal struggles/issues? Do people think we're aloof and unapproachable? Do people think we control our husbands and what they say? Do people think we look down on them? I have no idea. Maybe people think those things because nobody's told them to think differently.

Confessions of a Preacher's Wife

I never tell Brian what to preach.
I do make comments on his message after he preaches - both negative and positive.
I never wear a slip. I own one but I don't know where it is.
I always squeeze Brian's hand before he gets up to preach - my way of showing solidarity and support.
There are certain messages of his that I really don't like. I don't like it when he preaches through a list - he doesn't care that I don't like it; he preaches it anyway.
I accept Brian's authority over me - both as my husband and as my pastor.
I have no rhythm - clapping my hands is a challenge.
I want to be approachable.
I don't always feel like going to church. On the days I don't feel like going I go anyway because the Bible tells me I am to go.
I don't usually take notes when Brian preaches, but I always listen. Only if it is an emergency will I make out my grocery list during a message. Honestly, I haven't done that since he's been a pastor:)
I'm a good nurse but a rotten secretary.
My kids aren't perfect and I am aware of that. They occasionally get in trouble, don't always make straight A's, and I still love them and I am proud of them.
I am far from perfect - I would like to be perfect. I would especially like to have perfect hair.
I want everyone at church to like me, but I realize not everyone is going to.
My favorite books of the Bible are Hosea, Ruth, and the Song of Solomon - note the common theme.
Priests are celibate Preachers are not.
I am almost always the last one up on Sunday morning.
I occasionally use hand signals when Brian is preaching - slow down, move your mic, fix your hair . . .
I have loved Brian since I was 13 years old. I have talked to him every day for almost 25 years and he is my best friend.

I really do think most pastors' wives are misunderstood (maybe because they have never posted a confession list - lol). We are closely critiqued and judged even though most people only know one aspect of our lives - that of being the wife of their Pastor. Rarely, do people bother to get to know what we are really like - maybe they are afraid if they did they might like us.

Looking back on the pastors' wives that I have known, I'm sure I was quick to think I knew them and therefore quick to think that I could make assumptions and judgments about them.

She's so cold and unfriendly.
She's too silly and carefree - she needs to be more dignified.
She's eccentric - just plain strange.
She's perfect, absolutely perfect - she never has a bad day.
She doesn't care about the congregation - she's not really involved enough.

When Brian first accepted the position of Pastor, I had numerous offers from pastors' wives to "call any time." My first reaction was, "Okay, that's nice - but I think I'll be fine." I couldn't imagine what could be so hard about being a pastor's wife. Now, a little over a year later I see just how naive I had been.

Even though our ministry is still in its infancy, I think I have a better understanding of what most pastors' wives feel - and by being open and transparent with myself, I think I know how I feel as a pastor's wife.

It seems like just when an encouraging cool breeze blows my way (seeing spiritual growth in the Patch Club kids, hearing a positive comment about how the Lord used a message of Brian's to convict and change them, seeing Brian encouraged by conversations he has had) it is closely followed by a discouraging scorching heat (criticism of our ministry, negative comments on myself or my family, rumors that someone is thinking about leaving). It is these climate changes in the ministry that have been the hardest for me to get used to.

It is impossible to see my husband give of himself the way he does to a congregation and not in turn care for them myself. I can't count the late night hours Brian and I have spent concerned over and praying about church members.

It is impossible not to feel the sting when someone says "I'm just not being fed," after watching my husband deliver a message that the Lord laid on his heart and that he has spent many hours preparing. I have seen him with head bowed long into the night beseeching the Lord for just the right words He would have him say.

It is hard to turn the other cheek when I hear of whispered criticisms about myself and my kids. Like a mother hen I want to gather my chicks under my wings and protect them from this. Life under a microscope is guaranteed to reveal some "bacteria." I would just ask that those who whisper apply the same scrutiny to their lives.

It is hard to describe the compassion and concern I feel for church members even though I have only known them for a short period of time. So many times I see someone battling with an attitude or struggling with a sin that I have struggled with in the past - or maybe still battle. It is painful when my words of advice and concern to them are then unwelcome and resented.

It is a little difficult not to be jealous of the amount of time Brian spends thinking on church matters, future messages, and just church "stuff". Learning to share my husband taken some time but thankfully this jealousy can be kept at bay by keeping my heart right.

I am surprised that being a pastor's wife is harder than I thought it would be, more rewarding than I thought it would be, and more life changing than I thought it would be.

When I first started my blog I told Brian that I felt a little vulnerable sharing my personal thoughts and feelings. He told me it was natural to feel vulnerable anytime you were being transparent with people. He said he often feels vulnerable while preaching because it takes a certain amount of transparency. He also told me being transparent was sometimes necessary.

I know that the safest place to be is the center of God's will, and we truly feel it is God's will for us to be where we are. But the center of God's will isn't always the easiest place to be.

It would be easier to be opaque instead of transparent. It would be easier to be out from under the microscope. It would be easier not to be on the front lines. It would be easier to sit rather than stand. But that is not what we have been called to do.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just have to ask. Why do you own a slip if you never wear one?