Last week, some girls from church and I gathered around a table. We gathered because real conversation happens around good food and long planks and forks and knives. For some reason, a table melts us a bit and friendship seems to sink into the cracks.
At some point it came up in the conversation, that I am the pastor’s wife, and all that entails. It was cute – all these women – and how they handled it. Some flat out said, “No way do I give favor to the pastor’s wife,” and other women sweetly mentioned “what an honor it is to know one.”
Do you know how much I love this honesty? I could devour it all. Quite simply eat it all up.
Our conversations got me thinking more and more about this pastor’s wife gig and I wanted to put it into words. Not because PW’s are special or because we are more worthy than others – heavens, no – simply because it is a unique place and I do believe sometimes people wonder how to handle us.
So, I thought up my big four and I am sure each pastor’s wife could add to the list. Please take each note with a grain of salt. I am, after all, a girl after God’s own heart, before I am a pastor’s wife sitting in a pew.
Let her mess up. She’s going to.
When Michael and I came to our church we literally thought if we are really nice to people and do all the things, the church will grow. How naïve. How prideful. How very immature.
But I feel like being honest, so I’m laying out all my cards on the table.
We messed up. We dipped our hands in too many pots when we really needed to be spending more time on our knees. Stuff like this is going to happen in ministry. We are all humans who love an Almighty God. For the most part, we are going to do things with the best intentions. Sometimes it will flourish and sometimes God will use those best intentions to prune us. Sometimes the flowers bloom real bright and other times, He cuts all of our little flower buds right back down to the branch.
Pruning hurts and its already enough to walk through it in conversation with God. If your pastor’s wife has messed up/is messing up/will mess up would you possibly be there for a hug? Come alongside her or pass her a note? Go to lunch together? Learn more about her? Maybe she needs you more than you think.
Let her have friends. She needs them.
I can’t even begin to tell you the number of people who have told me that I can’t have friends at my church. People in the ministry have whispered warnings to me along the way. For several years, I sat in loneliness. I had shallow relationships, but I never let people in fully. Do you know what that does to someone – anyone? It leaves a big ol’ ache in our community-driven heart. Including your pastor’s wife’s heart.
People put fear in me that friendships meant vulnerability and vulnerability meant being real and being real could lead to being found out. What if all of a sudden people saw me (and gasp – my husband) for who we really are?
I have decided to let you know all of our things right now so there is not a whole lot more to find out:
We love Jesus like crazy and we will do anything – ANYTHING – for Him. We would give up our lives, our home, our earthly things and even our families to be closer to Him. Living out His call keeps us up at night and makes us get up to meet with Him early in the morning. We also watch The Voice, drink glass of wine occasionally, dance in our kitchen and get angry. This is real life. We are real people.
Within the year, I have started letting myself go there and reach out to people so they can see all my insides. If people want to throw stones, I guess I will have to let them. Until then, I will keep dancing in my kitchen because 1. It is fun 2. I’d rather be a fool for Christ than an empty shell for everyone.
Let her find her groove. Not someone else’s.
I do not play the piano and I don’t sing well, but I will worship the Lord my God with my whole heart while dancing in the pew. Unfortunately, there are pre-conceived, pre-packaged pastor’s wives manuals we have all believed. I don’t know many things for sure outside of Jesus and the cross, but I do KNOW that not one woman is ever going to fit in a box. She shouldn’t ever have to. Including your pastor’s wife.
Your pastor’s wife jam might be to decorate. Or it might be to teach. Or maybe she is as quiet as can be and only wants to be behind the scenes. Let’s let her. And while she is in her sweet spot, let’s cheer her on rather than behind tempted to talk about all she is/isn’t doing at our dinner tables. We will all feel so much better if we encourage rather than measure her up to some imaginary standard created by earthly humans.
Let her have her own voice. It might be different than you think.
THIS. This one thousand times. I can’t tell you how many times Michael and I have sat around our dinner table and discussed (passionately) different passages he is preaching about that week. Just because it comes from my husband’s mouth doesn’t mean I put it there. I will forever stand behind my man if He is preaching truth, but I might say it differently or even have an opinion further or lesser on one side of the issue.
It’s okay. Do you agree with everything your man does? Are you on the same page always when it comes to discipline? The Bible? The way you spend your money? Healthy relationships talk these things out. They figure out where they need to land and sometimes landing is not necessarily on the same sentence, but on the same paragraph.
One of my favorite examples of this is Ruth Bell Graham. She loved Billy. We know it, we saw it, we witnessed the family live wholly for the Kingdom. Do you know she remained a Presbyterian while Billy remained Baptist? They kept the majors the majors and she didn’t get her hair in a tizzy about it. I love this. She had a mind of her own +++ a relationship with her Savior +++ all while loving her husband +++ and his ministry.
Can you add to the list? Have you ever felt like one of the above? How can you cheer your PW or even a fellow woman in your congregation this week? She would love it if you did. I just know it.
Note: I do understand that some of you have been really hurt by your pastor’s wife. If you have reached out to her and there is still no peace, keep praying. In the meantime, seek wise counsel and find a safe community.