Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Inevitable Question

Well, it happened. Again.

The inevitable question came up last night. You pastor's wives know what I'm talking about... It's the question that would make us rich if we had a penny for every time someone asked it (hey, I've only been a pastor's wife for 16 months and I think at that rate, I could be taking a vacation).

Conversation begins, continues, discussion of husband's job ensues. "Oh, a Pastor? That's great...."

And then..... right on cue:

"So, what do you do in the church?"


"Do you sing? Do you do the kid's stuff?"

Silence. This time trying not to laugh.


Time out. Let's just say for moment that I did do either or both of those things, (which I don't). I still find it completely irritating that not only is that the first question asked when people learn that I'm "the Pastor's wife," but also that it's assumed that those are the roles (along with many others that no one speaks of) for any wife-o-the-pastor. A pastor's wife who leads worship or teaches children's church is a great asset, but no more an asset than anyone else in the church taking that role. In fact, I would dare to say that a majority of churches need their members to step up and quit relying on their pastor, board, and wives to do the work of the church. But that's another post for another day. Back to my silence.


I had to keep my mouth shut, for two reasons:

1. This poor girl didn't know any better than to ask what she did.

2. What I really wanted to say was something along the lines of...

What do I do? Well, I am the one who encourages my husband after his sermons and acknowledge the hours upon hours of work he puts into his studies for the benefit of people who find it more important to complain that he wears jeans or doesn't talk about hell enough (creepy) or that he should do this or that or this. I hug him when he is overwhelmed and can't sleep from the pressure of lifting a church out of the sinking mud and turning it into something full of life, or when someone berates him for "not being there" for them because we needed a weekend away (to celebrate our anniversary no less). I also play the role of a sounding board when he gets so angry and hurt over individuals too wrapped up in a power play to acknowledge and respect his leadership and decision making ability, and I encourage him to follow his heart when he has the make tough decisions that some people will never agree with. I walk the lonely road with my husband, and walks the same with me. We face disappointment together when people back out of their commitments to bear some of the load. I pat him on the back when people show up at our doorstep on his "day off" (which is inevitable, when over 100 people know where you live). We do it because we love it, and more than that, because my husband has a Call on his life, and we as a team have a purpose in the big picture... but that doesn't mean it's not work.

I didn't say any of that. I just said, "I'm a member of the church, and I help where I'm needed. Besides, you haven't heard me sing."

(Time Magazine wrote a great article on Pastor's wives, you can read it here).


Renee' said...

I have seen the pain that Christians bring down upon leadership. As Christians, we are called to DEVOTE ourselves to one another. I don't know about you - but when I am devoted to someone - the last thing I want to do is bring them down. Prayers for you both. If people could only see the relationship God wants His people to have with Him and one another this wouldn't even be conversation for a blog. May His blessings be with you both today and everyday. :-)

the ruckels said...

I LOVE YOU!! for i too am 'just a member'. and now i'm being asked why i'm not helping as much with the youth. hmm...maybe because i just had a baby! oh Lord let us love the church-going christians.

Laney said...

HA! If only everyone understood just what it feels like to live life in the fishbowl of ministry. Remind yourself that it's ok to take "days off," even if those days are SUNDAYS! :)

The Thief said...

Awesome post.

Lady V said...

Great Post...I can relate, unfortunately in more ways than one. I found you on Global Pastor's Wives, and wanted to say "hello", and also leave my blog I look forward to the connection....God Bless!

Amanda Murphy said...

Great post!!

(from a fellow member... :))


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