Love each other like the members of your family. Be the best at showing honor to each other. Don’t hesitate to be enthusiastic—be on fire in the Spirit as you serve the Lord! Be happy in your hope, stand your ground when you’re in trouble, and devote yourselves to prayer. Romans 12:10-12
I recently read a blog article entitled “10 Things Your Pastor’s Wife Wants You To Know”. As a pastor’s wife myself, I was intrigued. Some things were applicable, others not. That’s typical with trying to put any role humans take on into a box. But it got me thinking….”What would I want to tell people about being a United Methodist Pastor’s Spouse?” Well, in the spirit of full disclosure, here you go! 🙂
1. I don’t really like organized religion. Wait. Don’t label me a heretic yet. I love church. I love our church. I love worshiping God on Sunday mornings with a congregation of fellow believers. And, I love being a United Methodist.
However, as with any major organization, there’s a lot of bureaucracy in the United Methodist system. And, with any bureaucracy, you get bureaucrats. Politics can sometimes take a front seat to Christian discipleship and service. And sometimes, I get a little bitter with the appointment process. Sometimes, it just seems like a big popularity contest.
2. Moving is hard. The United Methodist church is built on the system of itinerancy. Pastor’s move, sometimes frequently. It’s not a bad thing–really quite the contrary. The itinerant system can strengthen the local church, making it more about the church itself than the pastor who serves it.
That said, moving is hard. I’m not just talking about packing, although, that’s a pain in the rear. But the emotional toll of tearful goodbyes one day and enthusiastic hellos the next can be very overwhelming. As an introvert, I need time. I need time to process, to grieve, to get my bearings and to rejuvenate. And, I also need a job.
This can an exceedingly difficult process. The last time we moved it took me a year and a half to find a full-time position in education. I went from being the head of on English department to being a Teacher’s Associate. I’m not complaining. I love my job and wouldn’t trade it. I’m just letting you know that starting over is an exhausting process for me.
3. We live in a fishbowl. As a pastor’s spouse, you quickly realize that your life is constantly on display. People know you, often before you’ve even met them!! 🙂 They know where you live, they’ve seen all of your furniture moved through the door, they know where you went to college, how old your kids are, if you like to grill and how often you mow your lawn.
The danger in living in a fishbowl is falling into the trap of thinking that because you’re very visible, you need to appear “perfect”. My children make sure that I don’t ever fall into that sort of thinking! From crawling down church aisle meowing like cats in the middle of a service to body surfing under the pews, they’re very good at “keeping it real”.
The truth is, I’m a human, too. I make mistakes. I struggle with parenting, with marriage, with work….everything you struggle with, too. I don’t have life all figured out, and neither do you. That’s the beauty of ministry, isn’t it? We join together, in all of our imperfection, to bring forth God’s kingdom the best we can.
4. I want to be your friend. Early on in my marriage, I was given the advice to seek out friends outside of the local congregation. While there can be benefit in that advice, I’ve never really practiced it. The truth is, I’m a relational person. I want to get to know you. And, I want you to know me–warts and all! 🙂
So, invite me to a “Girl’s Night”. I’ll drink a glass of wine with you. And don’t feel the need to talk to me about faith. While I love talking about God and my faith, I can also talk about a lot of other things, some of them very mundane. I’ll talk to you about politics, although you may not like mine. I’ll talk to you about kids and their crazy antics. I’ll talk to you about how I like the shorts at Old Navy better than Target because they’re a little longer. I’ll talk to you about the latest episode of The Voice or a plethora of shows on HGTV. Just talk to me–it’s okay. 🙂
5. I love Christian ministry. Really, I do. Before I met my husband I made the decision to go to Seminary and pursue a Master’s degree in Christian Education. I always saw myself engaged in some form of ministry. I love serving others. I love teaching others about the great love of God. My life’s theme is to help others find wholeness in God.
Sometimes, I do that through my husband’s work as a pastor. But other times, I’m out there pursuing my own goals and dreams. While my husband and I often work as a team, we are each our own individuals with our own different talents and abilities. I’m not just an extension of him, nor are our children an extension of us. And that’s a good thing. Can you imagine how boring life would be if we all shared the same abilities?
In the end, I want you to know that I love being your pastor’s wife. But, I love your pastor even more. So, be kind to him. And love him, because I know how very much he loves you.
Blessings and Peace