I’m only one wife to one pastor. And since it’s safe to assume that every single pastor’s wife is different from the next, it is clear I cannot in any way write this for the whole lot of us out there.
I honestly believe there could be way more we pastor wives have in common than some might guess, but the goal in this post is for me to be as open and honest as I can be about myself, not any other woman.
So, here are my 15 “confessions” pertaining to my role as “pastor’s wife”…and feel free to comment below if you have some of your own confessions or feedback to share as well.
1. my husband and i are not gifted in the same way.
We are so different from one another. He’s the one on stage, not me…and that is on purpose. Yes, we are married. And, yes, two have become one. But we are in no way whatsoever the exact same person. The things he is good at are not things I am good at. And vice versa. I have different talents, different giftings, different preferences, different skills, different strengths, and different weaknesses.
2. i’m human.
I have fears, weaknesses, shortcomings, insecurities and struggles just like everyone else. At times I get sick, I get hungry, I get scared, I get tired, I get stressed out and I get overwhelmed. I don’t have it all together and I battle many of the same issues every other woman battles: marriage issues, extended family difficulties, finances, motherhood issues
3. i’m not unapproachable
I can’t speak for every pastor’s wife because we are certainly not cut from the same mold…but I am an introvert.
There I said it. Deep exhale.
I enjoy being in the background. I get a little nervous to talk to strangers and I have a very difficult time remembering names…which I feel just horrible about. I dislike small chit chat and would rather sit down to really get to know you instead of bouncing around from one person to the next.
But I’m not mean. I promise.
Don’t ever be afraid to come talk to me. And please let me ask for your name again without getting mad at me.
4. i guard family time like hidden treasure
Many pastor families speak often of having to cut vacations short or rearrange family evenings, or give up their days off for the various crises of church members, middle of the night emergencies and regular interruptions. My husband is essentially on call 24/7. So if there comes an evening or a day when he is unable to be reached, it is most likely because I have purposely left his phone in the car…or I have “accidentally” thrown it into the ocean. I’ll let him come back, I promise, but for his sake and mine sometimes I need to just shut it all off.
5. some seasons are harder than others.
You know that saying: when it rains, it pours? Yeah, well ministry is seemingly always like that. There are times when I have a lot to offer others. I am able to reach out and I have the capacity to pursue, to counsel, to be present and to make time.
But there are other times when I just don’t. Whether it be the needs of my own home, struggles I am going through, or the demands on my schedule there are most certainly seasons when I am spread far too thin. A longstanding prayer I have is that I could do a better job in the midst of those seasons to communicate that with others. I desire to do all I can to help the people I love so dearly not be confused, offended or hurt by these seasons.
6. i often struggle with trying to be all things to all people
I truly enjoy making people happy, but sometimes I take that too far and say “yes” way too often. I worry at times about offending others. But, at the end of the day, I cannot sacrifice my main priorities to always include the preferences of everyone else and am deeply convicted for the times I have done so.
I am learning more and more to say “no.” I must be content with those times, and even the consequences, when I have to kindly decline. Please know it’s not easy and it’s certainly not a personal offense toward any specific person.
My husband, my children and my sanity must come first.
7. my life isn’t perfect.
I’m not perfect, my husband isn’t perfect, and my kids aren’t perfect. I know this, but I really, really need others to know this. If there is a misconception that I have it all together, then others will likely either silently judge, quietly gossip or remain far off.
I’m so normal. Like really normal.
And my kids are too. They fight, disobey, and get messy just like normal kids do…because…drumroll please…they’re normal kids. We have to learn to walk by faith just like everyone else and we won’t turn away any encouragement, compassion and love to do so.
8. ministry is different than friendship
Ministry is a lot of listening and a lot of question asking. It’s a lot of pouring out, pouring into and praying for. Ministry is service and care, concern and empathy.
Ministry can also feel very lonely at times.
I absolutely love getting to know you, but I deeply long to be known too. I desire friendship just like the next gal. I promise I won’t be offended if you ask me things, in fact, I’ll love it. I give you permission to jump right in anytime.
9. no church is perfect
I believe this goes without saying but, just in case, I’ll say it again: NO church is perfect.
Sometimes I think through what a public apology on behalf of ALL churches could look like. (Maybe some day I’ll actually create one and post it on this blog.)
We have messed up people leading messed up people…and it’s bound to be messed up in some places. Yet if it’s a good church, then your pastor, your pastor’s wife and the people beside you will constantly be pointing you to the only One that isn’t messed up…and that is Jesus.
10. we do not share the same pair of ears
His ears aren’t mine. What I mean by this is there are many, many people who have shared a story, experience, or hardship with my husband and then are later surprised when I am not familiar with the same story. Again, I cannot speak for every pastor’s wife, but my husband does not come home and tell me every single thing about every single one of you. He guards your stories and protects your information…even from me. If you’re going through something you’d like for me to know about then please ask him to share with me or come talk to me as well.
My ears aren’t his. What you say to me doesn’t always make it to his ears either. If there are things that you dislike, preferences you have, or issues you feel need to be addressed, going through me is not the answer. I have seen this many, many times when an individual will speak to the pastor wife in hopes of being heard, and then the wife becomes a megaphone to get her husband to do something about it…and it’s almost always a huge, huge, huge mess.
My job is to keep my husband sane, alive, fed, ministered to and cared for…it is not to get in the middle of all the inner workings of the church.
11. not everything has to be about church
Gasp! Wait, what?!
Nothing beats a heartfelt, meaningful conversation about good doctrine, sound theology or the work Jesus is doing in someone’s life, but I also love to let my hair down sometimes and relate with people about not-so-spiritual things too.
Yes, I enjoy normal things, not just churchy things, and would love to talk about culture, fashion, art, music, fitness, politics (okay not really so much that one) or food every once in awhile.
I like to have fun and I really, really like to laugh.
12. i’m not your mom — this one’s for you D.O.!! 🙂
Look, I get it. I’m the pastor’s wife…but I’m not your mother. There’s a big difference here. Yes, I care deeply about what is going on in your life and whether or not you’re walking by faith, but you’re not going to get “in trouble” if I find out that you didn’t buckle your seatbelt, said a bad word when you stubbed your toe or discover you’ve not cleaned your room. I’m not the principal just waiting to find a reason to send you to after school detention. So please, oh please, don’t respond to me that way.
Be real with me. Be yourself.
I’d love to truly get to know you and I’d love for you to feel free enough to tell me how you’re really doing, and feel free to throw in a joke, a story, and please care enough to let me know if I have something stuck in my teeth for cryin’ out loud! 😉
13. sunday’s are so hard.
Like really hard. Although I may have showered and my kids clothes match, I have to be honest that some of my all time worst mom moments have been on Sunday mornings. Trying to get five little people with very different wills out the door on time is like trying to find the end of a rainbow blindfolded.
Sometimes I wish we could just skip Sundays (double gasp).
It’s hard work to juggle the needs of my husband, the cares of my children and balance that with being fully present and available to everyone that walks through the door. I often feel like my head is spinning to keep it all in check and it’s not uncommon for me to leave our gatherings entirely exhausted…and that’s only just the beginning of the week.
14. the “mama bear” in me is fierce
When it comes to my family there is nothing…let me repeat…NOTHING that can make me more fiery than when I hear of someone using my husband’s name in a negative way or speaking ill of him behind his back. If I hear of unnecessary gossip, slander, or someone raising undue suspicion about him, it’s all I can do to keep myself in check.
I literally cannot handle it. It makes me incredibly sad, and nauseous and oh so very angry.
I’ll refrain from writing what I really want to here because I think it would scare you. So please if you have an issue with my husband, go directly to him to speak of your concern or by all means close your ever loving mouth.
(insert LOUD roar here)
And don’t get me started about my kids. I love girly and I’m all about classy. But if you have something negative to say about them or to them behind my back, what you will see from me might be less than refined. My husband just laughed at me for writing that, but seriously, please just come talk TO me instead of about me (or my kids).
15. i love you dearly
Being a pastor’s wife is hard. Ministry is hard. Church planting is hard. Church is hard. But the reason I do what I do is because I LOVE Jesus and LOVE His people. My husbands’ calling has become my calling. I’ve taken it on as my own.
And you are worth every.tiny.last.bit.of.it. No seriously. I love each one of you.
On the days I feel like giving up, throwing in the towel, signing off and moving far out to the country where no humans exist, it is all of your faces and your stories that get me up off the floor and back in the ring. There is no other aim than the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus and the edification of the church community that I want to pour myself out for.
Thank you, from every ounce of my being, for sharing your lives with me and letting me have the undeserved honor of loving and serving you. I am forever thankful and oh so very humbled.
oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! psalm 34:3