In Part One of our Pastor’s Wife series, we exposed four lies: don’t be anyone’s friend, don’t reveal your weaknesses, be available to everyone at all times, and my husband is important; I am not.
There are more lies to explore and bring into the light. Though they are worth our time and effort, they may come with bruised knuckles as we fight to redeem them.
Lie #5: It’s not my calling.
The ministry may not be your calling, but it is a calling on your family. This obviously plays out differently if you had married a teacher, engineer, counselor or _____ (fill in the blank). You suddenly are in charge of the complete “war zone” that is Sunday mornings. You spend your summers at camps or sending people to camps or leading at camps. Wednesday nights are for church forever and always. And biggest of all, you watch your husband take on burdens that may end up affecting your marriage.
I will never forget the day a pastor’s wife came over to my home and wept on my shoulder, telling me that she missed her husband because he seemed so caught up in his church. Mascara stained my white t-shirt and I could care less. It was a moment that united us.
I’m not saying it’s right to be made to feel this way, but I am saying it will happen. The truth is because you married a pastor, you are a pastor’s wife. This comes with many roles. If it ever comes to a point of feeling that you’ve been forsaken, seek counseling. If a new intentionality needs to be harnessed in your marriage, be the initiator.
And please remember, every woman has something dynamic to bring to a local body. Discover your gift and practice it unto the one audience that matters: God.
Lie #6: I don’t fit the typecast.
What typecast? No one is making you fit into any mold. The mold only exists in your head. Know your gifts and bring them to your church! Your church needs you to be you.
Lie #7: Keep giving until it hurts.
To seek pain seems so contradictory to the gospel. I know that Jesus did give until it hurt, and he is our example. But he is God; we are not. We are called to live a life of sacrifice. We are also called to the most important mission on earth – spreading the gospel. However, if we are so emotionally drained that we no longer can give effectively, we need to find new rhythms.
I will never forget my first counseling appointment. I told my counselor that I had only come for some soul care. “I don’t really have anything pressing, but thought I could use someone to talk to.” One hour and an empty decaf coffee later, I realized I certainly did have some issues that needed discussing. And it came down to the fact that I believed the lie of giving until it hurts: give until you can’t give anymore. And when you hit that point, keep giving.
This does no one any good. In fact, a wise counselor will tell you that all you are doing is stuffing your emotions in a jar. At some point, all of those emotions will suffocate you, and you will do one thing—explode.
Please don’t keep giving until it hurts. Lean on Christ to help you endure when situations are tough, but make sure you take care of your soul in the midst of the marathon.
Lie #8: I must be everyone’s friend.
Maybe you didn’t suffer from middle school cafeteria woes, but many did. We live in a society where “likes” and retweets win the game. It’s the new way to score friendships. We’ve entered a new cafeteria, and we all want a seat at the table.
For a pastor’s wife, the struggle is the same. I desperately wanted people to like me, so I took most women in the church to a coffee, lunch or even had them over to the parsonage. This was emotionally difficult, hard to coordinate, and expensive! But I had this lingering thought that if everyone liked me, our church would be united and grow.
What I didn’t understand is that friendship looks different than being united. Should we strive for unity? Absolutely. All of John 17 speaks about our call to unity, and this should be taken seriously by every believer. Does this require everyone to stand singing kumbaya in beautiful friendship? No. Jesus is certainly enough to build ties between believers. However, we are all human, and people build connections under certain banners. The quilters, the out-to-eaters, the shoppers, the Wal-Mart goers, and Target wanderers. It’s not bad. It’s great! It’s how the body should look.
In essence, we can remember to strive for unity always. Just don’t try to win a popularity contest. It’s not middle school. Thank goodness.
There are certainly more lies we could expose and redeem for the pastor’s wife. As our society changes, there will only be more pitfalls. But with every lie, there is a truth. Together, let’s resolve to fight for the truth of what scripture says about our identity because, ultimately, our identity declares an inheritance of power and authority as a daughter of God. Fight and let truth prevail!
Editor's Note: This is the second part of a two-part series. You can read the first part here.