I am often asked what the most difficult aspect of being a pastor’s wife is. I would love to say, it is an easy road. However, that would be dishonest. It has its trying times, as does every worthwhile endeavor. I realize that in sharing this, I am disclosing my own sinfulness. I also understand that I run the risk of offending parishioners or causing speculation about who I am speaking of. I promise you, this conclusion is drawn from 18 years as a pastor’s wife and a lifetime of being a Seminary professor and interim pastor’s daughter. No one person or incident caused me to come to this decision. In fact, I reached this opinion at the ripe old age of 14. I also realize, that I do not speak for all people in my position. Personality influences our perception and mine is quite possibly unique. Lastly, I would not choose anything else. I have no regrets. I am not bitter. I am thankful that God allowed me the privelege and honor of serving His people. It is truly a joy and a gift!
That being said, you might assume my struggle is with the spotlight. The reality that eyes are always on me, expecting me to be more than an imperfect human. True, the glare is sometimes difficult. There are times I truly wish I could hide or get away. It feels as though, throughout my life, I have never been far from an observing eye, often even unbeknownst to me. This was especially difficult as a child and adolescent. Yet, this is not the hardest part of the position in my eyes.
No, the difficult thing for me is deeply rooted in my sin nature. I often read about Jesus and how, “when He was reviled, He did not revile in return”. (1 Peter 2:23). This is amazing to me and a quality I desire to emulate. I am a person who naturally has a quick wit. Responses fly through my brain, and I try my best to catch them before they come out. I would never want to be the cause of any division in the church. I want to be an asset to my husband’s ministry. I desire to grow the kingdom of God. I yearn to display the fruit of the spirit. I strive to be gracious. Yet, the hardest thing for me as a pastor’s wife is…being gracious when others are not gracious to me.
You are probably wondering what I mean by this. I have come to realize over a lifetime, that people are often impatient with those in ministry. I have observed that I am not always fast enough to respond or available enough. They forget or do not care to emphathize with the demands that are placed on my life. They overlook the fact that I have feelings. Often expectations are placed on my husband, my children, and myself. Many times we do not meet them. I have been confronted with opinions on just about every area of my life. It feels like no subject is off limits and every details of our lives is fair game. Any day seems like a good day to confront: Christmas day, days off, during a family vacation, while in the hospital. Sometimes these comments are made straight to my face, and I do my best to respond in a very gracious manner. Other times they are made behind my back, and through the avenues that news travels, usually make the way back to me or a member of my family. They hurt. I get angry. I want to reply with a snappy comment or a mind your own business. I want to say, I would never criticize the way you live your life, that is between you and your Heavenly Father. Therefore, please do not gossip or criticize mine. I would like to respond, I am patient with you, so please be patient with me. I think of asking you to respect my family time, like I respect yours. I desire to comment, I am imperfect just like you. *Sigh*, but I do not. I bite my tongue and respond graciously, because that is what I believe I am called to do. I choose to respond in love because that is how Jesus responds when I have offended Him by my sin. At the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is the gospel and sharing it with all people.
(The reality is that most parishioners are wonderful and bless our lives in more ways than I could have ever imagined. I am thankful that my children have seen and experienced so much love! Thank you! We appreciate each of you! ♡)