While this blog is mostly about my journey, there are others who have shared the road with me. These are the pastor’s wives who have been in my life, who have shaped my experiences and who are the first ones I think of when I write.
The first one is my mother, with whom I had a rocky relationship as a teenager and yet, I found myself wanting her life. I knew from a young age that God meant for me to marry a pastor, despite teasing to that end. My mother was the first example I had. I saw her sitting in the front of the church, singing out on unfamiliar songs, even though she is not a singer by nature. She taught Sunday school, cleaned the church, looked for cues from my father at meetings to know if, when, and how to vote, and worked hard to keep us fed and clothed on a tight budget. My sister and I never wanted for anything, and I know that was her doing.
While I never adopted some of her habits, like referring to my husband as “Pastor” in front of church members, I learned what can be gained from being submissive to my husband in front of the congregation and how my respect shows others how to respect him.
When I have struggles as a pastor’s wife, she is one of two people that I call. The other is my sister. Yes, we both married pastors.
My sister was nice enough to marry one of my husband’s good friends from college. Why is that nice? Because when we get together, the boys can get sent on errands together to allow for us girls to chat, and we don’t have to worry about either of them getting annoyed with us. Now, the down side of all of us in the family being involved in church work is that we don’t get together very often. Besides weekends and holidays being off-limits, we live too far apart. But my cell phone generally has my sister’s number in the “last dialed” list. She and I commisserate on the difficulties and joys of life in the parish.
When it comes time to talk about the difficulties of raising kids while being married to a pastor, my sister is the first person I will ask to write a guest post (or two, or fifty). She and her husband have three daughters, all under the age of five. I know that they have to juggle many more things than I ever could imagine, and I’m so impressed with how well she handles it.
The third pastor’s wife is Jessica, the friend and former roommate I mentioned before. She got married a year and a half before I did, and she and her husband were still in St. Louis at the seminary, finishing up, when I moved there to find a job before getting married. She, her husband, and their two daughters live in NYC. She is the most patient person I know, taking so many things in stride. When we lived together, despite my ups and downs in relationships and classes (and that year was a doozy for me) she was relaxed and helped me to get over myself. She’s also a native Ohio-an (anyone know what the right word is?) which I think is funny since I now live here. The first time I came to this state was for her wedding. Now I live here, and she lives in New York. We did live there at the same time, but since we lived on opposite ends of the state only saw each other once when I flew to see her.
While there are others in my life, not just pastor’s wives but church worker wives as well, these are the ones I am closest to. I’m getting to know the other wives of staff here, which is a new thing for me. Our last church had a staff of three, basically: Travis, me, and the secretary. Her husband never went to church, so I only met him once or twice. So having a larger church staff with spouses who come to church is a new thing for us. I’m sure I will have more to share about those relationships in the years to come.
If you know a pastor’s wife, send her here to read. I’d love to hear the thoughts of other women who have these experiences, my hope is to keep the conversation flowing through the joys and sorrows we all have in common.
Donna L. Johnson said:
Hi, I am a military pastor’s /Chaplain’s wife. I am thankful to have been referred to you by Bethany G. I really enjoyed your “staff of three” reference. My husband, the church secretary and I were the staff of our previous church. Our church secretary’s husband also, did not attend church but through enough time at her house putting together the church newsletter we developed a lifelong, ‘Framily’ (friends that become family) relationship. I will forever be grateful for those memories. Thank you for bringing them to mind. I am putting your blog on my favorites list.
Today was my catch-up day on your posts. Thanks for mentioning me. I still feel really badly that we lived in the same state and I never got over to see your place. Maybe one of these days through OH I will get to stop by my old stomping grounds. Thanks for still thinking of me as patient, too. Sometimes I think that NYC has gotten too much of a hold on me and I forget that patience used to be one of my virtues. I have had fun reading through your blogs and can relate on so many different levels. I guess that is what makes us such good friends : )