Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Reluctant pastor's wife

(I read this post and this post today on being a pastor's wife, and I was inspired to finish my own. This has been sitting in the drafts for some time!)

A Reluctant Pastor's Wife
The plans he had when we started dating were quite different. He was going into politics. He was going to be the president of the USA. (As are most who attend our Alma Mater!)

 I met this guy in college. He stole me from that other guy, and then we drank and smoked together on the weekends. So, I call myself a "reluctant" pastor's wife only because this vocation is not something I would have asked for, nor foreseen, when I was younger.

This is partly true because most of my experience was in the Catholic church, where there are no pretty side-kicks working alongside of the priests, playing the piano and tending his children.  That just seems weird to a Catholic kid.  I also was reluctant to be a pastor's wife because I am, after all, a sinner.  Aren't pastor's wives supposed to be perfect all the time?

And also, I didn't know how to play the piano. (gasp!)
(I still don't... even though my older three children do!)

I have found my calling to be much more pleasing than I ever would have expected it to be, and nothing like the stereotype I once had.  Partly because our church family is healthy and filled with the love of Christ, and partly because God has changed my heart, and taught it to want what He has to give me.

Now, I like being married to the man that works at the church all the time.  I enjoy helping him brainstorm about sermons, and giving him my feedback after church on sundays (if the kids were good enough for me to hear any of the sermon.)  I was the nerd who took the theology classes with him in college! We "courted" over coffee and Luther! John Calvin and Thomas Aquinas joined us on the beach!

Sure there are trials mixed in with my calling.  I sometimes feel like we are being watched by everyone, and that is a little unsettling, especially when I am out of patience and the kids are overly wiggly.

From an actual card received when we moved to this church:

Look at that poor little stick figure, how small he is compared to those enormous eyes! Life in the parsonage does feel like that at times. (However, those of you who know my story of being Weak and Loved know that an observing church can also be a very caring church!)

For me, the hardest times are the times when he is stooped over with the weight of his job.

Often, my heart breaks for my husband as I watch him bear an invisible burden. He rarely has the freedom to tell me what is happening at church, but I know when his heart is heavy with counseling sessions and broken people and the weight of sin. I can see it in his face, hear it in his silence.  And I am powerless to help him through that. So I make him strawberry shortcake, and I might even try to keep the kids quiet(er.)

And that is hard.
It's hard when he's stooped over with his vocation and I'm flattened by mine and we are powerless to help each other.  And yet, somehow, always, God helps, and we are again upheld another day, another week.

In general, I have found that Christians are actually forgiving and kind, even to a pastor's wife with a flock of children always on her heels.  And I am learning the joys of being Lutheran.  For one thing, we say out loud that we are sinners- every Sunday- and not just the congregation, but also the pastor, and the pastor's wife.

We are NOT some super-holy people leading holy wannabes down the road of righteousness.

We are beggars, standing with beggars, receiving gifts from a gracious God.
God has chosen a my husband to give those gifts to His beloved beggars.
And me to be his helpmate.

Makes me almost happy to iron his robes for him.


2008 just ordained

For all pastors, their wives, and their families,
let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.


  1. Great piece, Emily. Well done and revealing.


  2. I am VERY thankful for my wife and the support she gives me! God was very gracious in giving me such a wonderful helpmate. Pastor's wives are often times the unsung heroes of the congregation, but they are a vital part of the body of Christ!

  3. Wonderful! From one reluctant PW to another!

  4. What an insightful blog about what it is to be a PW! Yes!! We are sinful beings just like every other person in our congregation and YES we need daily forgiveness just like every other person in our congregation and we come into God's presence and ask Him to wash us in His holy love! It isn't an easy road we PWs have been given but He is with us every step of the way and THAT is the blessing :)


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