Saturday, February 06, 2010

Married to the pastor (and a giveaway!)

I'm answering some more questions from this post today. Jeanie asked me three things about being a pastor's wife. For those of you who might not know, my husband was a pastor for many, many years. And that made me a pastor's wife.


Jeanie asked:
Was it hard to be a pastor's wife?
Yes, absolutely. Our very first church offered us nothing but love, understanding, and grace. John was fresh out of seminary and we were very green. I'm incredibly thankful that our first experience was such a good one because the subsequent churches he pastored proved to be much more difficult.

I probably made things hard on myself most of the time by trying to be all things to all people, but I was young and stupid and hadn't really figured out who I was. I know that I would handle so many things differently today.

There were definitely some challenges along the way, and definitely some hurtful stuff, but there were also so many wonderful things about being the pastor/pastor's wife. We are richly blessed today because our lives have overlapped with the lives of so many amazing, faithful people.

Neither of us feel that God has closed the door on pastoral ministry for our family, and to be honest, that scares the heck out of me. I take comfort in the fact that we both know and believe if God calls us into something new, it will probably be different than anything we've ever done before.


Did it mean you had to be friends with everyone and couldn't just have best friends in your church?
In every church we served, I've had best friends. There is some debate about whether having best friends in your church is healthy. I don't know if it is or isn't; I just knew that I needed a few people I could go deep with.

That's not to say that I didn't have lots of friends. I did. Good grief, I still do. But I do remember feeling overwhelmed at times by the number of people who felt much closer to me than I did to them. I still feel that way sometimes. Even though I had/have a lot of friends, I'm not willing to invest 100% in every one of them. That might sound selfish, but it's honest. I think we all have levels of friendship...and I can only have two or three at a time in my inner circle.

I loved having friends outside of my church too. They were the ones who seemed to like me for who I was...not because of who I was married to, or for who I was connected to, etc. Church was such a big part of our lives that it felt great to have a circle of friends outside of it.


Did you feel like people expected you to be super spiritual and have it all together? (Of course maybe you were...in which case disregard this question).
I've never been superANYTHING (smart, funny, thin, cool, etc), so no, I didn't feel like I had to be super spiritual. And I wasn't. I'm still not. In fact, I find people who are super-spiritual to be annoying, and I often wonder what they're trying to hide with that mask. Maybe that's just me, and if so, that's fine, but I'm attracted to people who are real, and that's what I've always desired to be.

There were times that I did feel like I had to "have it all together" though. It was very humbling to realize I didn't. Which was often. Still is. I've said and done many things that weren't appropriate for "the pastor's wife" to say and do. I've apologized more times than I can remember, and there are probably still some people I should apologize to. I've held grudges, I've done things with a crappy attitude, and I've broken confidences, and the list goes on and on. BUT, I'm human, I'm forgiven, and I'm walking the same road most of you are--making mistakes and learning right alongside you. I'm not perfect, not by a long shot. But I try really hard to be honest with myself and real with others.


I could write a book about some of the things I've learned in/about ministry. But I'm not going to because Lisa (aka The Preacher's Wife) already has!



John brought a copy home for me a couple of weeks ago (one perk of having a husband who works in publishing!) It was a GREAT read. Lisa is funny and wise, and her writing makes you feel like you're chatting over a cup of coffee. If you're a pastor's wife (or a ministry wife)(or in ministry yourself) I think you'd enjoy reading it.

That's why I'm giving a copy away.

If you're NOT in ministry, you can still enter. Just tell me who'd you'd like to give the book to should you win. And it's totally okay if you want to read it yourself before you pass it along.

If you ARE in ministry, then you get TWO chances to win. Just leave me two comments! Be sure to tell me what kind of ministry you're in. It's not limited to pastoral ministry y'all.

I'll leave the giveaway open until Wednesday night and post a winner on Thursday AM.

Have a great weekend!

50 comments:

Becca~TimeWellSpent said...

Not more than 10 minutes ago I read Sarah's post about this very book over at Life in the Parsonage!

I have a good, sweet friend who has been a pastors wife in the past (he's teaching now) and there's a possibility he might be a pastor again over a congregation~she's nervous for some of the same things you talked about. I would give the book to her~I may read it if first;) She wouldn't mind.

I've always felt pastors wives live between a rock and a hard place. Growing up we were good friends with our pastor and his wife, she and my mom to this day are very close. Growing up I heard a little about how hard it can be for a pastors wife/family. You can't possibly please all people and yet there's so much pressure to do so.

Love your honesty here and the fact that you have learned and grown. There are many things I would do and say differntly than I did 5 or 10 years ago~life is about learning along the way!

Christy said...

What an interesting book...I was a pastor's wife for 5 years and now we have a house church in our home...but I call myself Mommy now instead of the preacher's wife as I was nicknamed then.

Becky said...

Well said Meredith! As you know, I'm not a ministry wife now, but was for several years & could be again one day...never say never! :)

I would enjoy reading the book then passing it along to both my mom & sister who are both pastor's wives. I am also good friend's w/2 ministry wives at our church and would give it to them.

His Doorkeeper said...

I would love to read Lisa's book. After being a pastor's wife for almost 25 years, I still don't have all the answers!

Blessings!

Leah Belle said...

Wow! "You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes" looks like a fun and interesting read. This pastor's wife would love to win this book. It would be fun to read it and then share it with other pastor's wives. I am part of a ministry in our area called Sharing Our Journey which ministers to minister's wives. We have lots of fun fellowshiping with each other and encouraging each other in our calling.

Leah Belle said...

Since I can enter twice, I will take this opportunity to tell you that I am also a preacher's kid! :)

jeanie@mageditor.blogspot.com said...

Well first let me say that I practically feel like a EXTREMELY minor celebrity for having you pick my question to answer today.(LOL!)
Thank you for being honest, Meredith. I appreciate knowing a little bit more of what goes on in a Pastor's wife's mind. It's interesting to me because I feel like I never even actually knew who our Pastor's wife WAS until recently. Our church is large and she just makes sure she doesn't stand out. I want to be kind to her and respect her wishes but I wondered how other P.W.'s did it.

Anyway...I think your post hit on exactly what probably made you a great Pastor's Wife....your transparency. Most people just want to know that you can relate to them and to their struggles and failures.

I love your blog. I love that you are REAL. I love that you are an affirming, transparent, encouraging, Jesus loving blogger.

jeanie@mageditor.blogspot.com said...

Oh my goodness!!! I just read through your comments and noticed that (I say this with the utmost serious respect in my voice) KELLY'S MOM just commented! KELLY'S MOM from His Doorkeeper...KELLY'S MOM from KELLY and HARPER!!!! Mer, I think that's the biggest!
Awesome!!!!!!!

wendy said...

I've been enjoying your Wednesday posts that you co-write with your husband. I think you two have great insight. I'm a teacher in a Christian school and I previously worked in my home church in the office & with children's ministries.

Tree Frog Creations... said...

I enjoyed reading this. My mom was a pastors wife for 46 years...my dad just retired last April. She would enjoy reading this...and could probably write her own. There were often times I deeply did not want to be a PK! But looking back I can see how God used that to teach me SO much about people, leadership, and ministering to hurting people. I wouldn't trade it for the world now.

Brenda said...

You mentioned:**I loved having friends outside of my church too. They were the ones who seemed to like me for who I was...not because of who I was married to, or for who I was connected to, etc.**

It used to bother me when I was called the Pastor's Wife. I guess because, like you, I wanted to have my own person and identity and have people like me for me.

I remember telling someone one time that I wasn't a Pastor's Wife but the wife of a pastor, just like one could be the wife of a plumber or contractor.

Hope this comment made sense!

Mollie said...

Well, I remember you as our pastors wife- but also one of my first friends in AR!
Thanks for being so loving and caring to me coming from a town of 250,000 to a town of 2000..if that!!HA

We are attending a church in a larger town now- and recently got a new pastor and his family of 5 children and lovely wife! They came from my home town Tulsa!

She keeps asking me how, when & why it gets better?? We have recently had lunch together and dinner a few times. She has invited me to a Mom's retreat with her in Dallas at the end of the month...I was completely FLOORED that she wanted me to go with her?

Then she told me- It was so hard to make friends as a pastors wife...and she thought we were going to be good friends!

If I don't win the book- I might just go out and buy it for her. She is very sweet- and did I mention he has homeschooled all her kids ages 13-1!!!

She is my hero- and I think we are going to be good friends too!!

She reminds me a lot of you- sweet, sincere, and honest!

Chris said...

Greetings from 6700'(COS)! Our church just was blessed with a new senior pastor in December. His wife and children are still in OK waiting to sell their home, so the challenging days have already started for her. This will be her first time being the wife of a senior pastor, and I'm sure she will love reading the book.

I am a wife of an elder, on the women's ministry leadership team, Bible study coordinator and co-leader of a women's minstry to hurting women called Lifelines. If that qualifies me for a second entry...I'll take it!!!

Blessings, Chris

His Girl said...

funny, i was so into reading this post (fascinating & deliciously honest, mer!) that I forgot that this is a giveaway... so when I saw that book I thought, "I need to get that for a certain pastor's wife I know." And then the giveaway!

hope I win :)

His Girl said...

oh! and as far as being IN ministry- I think you already know I'm a children's ministry gal.... so you just know I'll be handing the book over right after I 'sample' the book... you know, as a courtesy to her. *giggle*

Kendra said...

I don't need the book and I don't know anyone who does. I just want to say I think you were a great pastor's wife because you were REAL and you were RELATABLE! I've never been able to connect with one, never felt like I lived up to their standards. Like you said, those super spiritual people made me leery. I, too, felt they are hiding behind their religion and faith.

O Mom said...

After getting to know you and John through your blogs, I'm wishing you two were our Pastor. Real, honest, fun......
I would love to read this book and then pass it on to someone I have known (in passing) for a couple years and just found out she was a pastor's wife!

Amy said...

Thanks for your honesty! I really enjoyed this post...my husband served as an interim pastor for over 3 years (which I guess made me the wife of a pastor:)!) and we've served full time in collegiate ministry for going on 12 years. Thankful for God's calling and grace, and very humbled at the same time.

Would love to read this book...and have some friends I would love to share it with, too!

Thanks again!

Lindsay said...

Mer, I'm not a pastor's wife nor anyone's wife for that matter. I do have a heart for women in full time ministry including pastor's wives which is why I give the magazine "Just Between Us" to folks. I'd live to read Lisa's book and pass it on. Hope my name gets drawn this time.

Michelle @ Lemonade Life said...

Well, I would so love to read this book, and since we are trying to not spend in February, a win could help me get my hands on it before March. :) As you know, I am a former minister (youth and children's) married to an Associate Pastor. For the most part, I love our church/ministry life. But, I have to add that I think God's call is not only on the minister, but on his/her family as well. I know we wouldn't make it to some Sundays without HIM!

Michelle @ Lemonade Life said...

My second entry is to add that I'm not sure about cute shoes. Most days, I'm just lucky if I can find 2 that match. I'm not a good accessory girl. I'll have to learn. :)

whimzie said...

How did I not know that Renae was a PK?!

My favorite pastor's wives are the ones who see their main job as being a support to their husbands and children and don't think they have to be on every single committee and in every single ministry at the church.

I was an MMK (minister of music's kid). I grew up thinking I wanted to marry a man in ministry. I dated a few preacher boys along the way and I was really surprised that I didn't end up a minister's wife. Ministry life was all I ever knew. I've noticed that I wherever we move, I always become really close to our pastor's wife. I think because I know what ministry life is like and because I know how to keep quiet about what she tells me, I'm a good fit as a minister's wife's friend.

I can think of four sweet pastor's wives that would love to read this book. If I won, I'd just have to decide which one to send it to first!!

*carrie* said...

Mer,

Sounds like an interesting book, and the title is great! The wife of our former pastor would love this book, I think.

I think it's fun *you're* doing a giveaway today, because I just saw you won those cute gloves over at Jillian's! (I just one a book from her blog--she is so generous!)

Moriah @ Please Pass the Salt said...

Hi-ya!

Um, seminary wife drop out. HA. But I'd still love to read it just for kicks. (Cute shoes...get it?)

I think it's entirely appropriate to have levels of friendships... I always think about how Jesus had his 12 and then he had John. Ya know? :)

"Dove" said...

What a wonderful (and honest!) post. One of my dearest friends is the wife of our former pastor. I am forever grateful for her opening up and allowing me into her life. She is a treasure and I adore her, and I would totally send her the book. :)

She taught me that people are people wherever you go...even in a church! We are all REAL...pastors AND their wives. I am grateful for those who work in ministry to knit us together, provide leadership, and lead us to a heart of worship. I am also aware that for reasons that are unfair (and unwise!) they are often held to a higher standard of accountability in life.

When someone figures out the recipe for being a perfect pastor's wife maybe they can start working on a formula for being a perfect wife in general. I'd love to know the big secret for how to be a PERFECT accountant's wife, in cute shoes! :)

(My grammar isn't correct up there, but I, of course am the perfect one in cute shoes in that scenario. Not the silly accountant!)

Anonymous said...

i am a pastor's wife - senior pastoring for the last 13 years. our ministry journey together began just after we were married with a youth pastorate, associate pastorate then seven years as missionaries in africa. i remember when God was transitioning us back to pastoral ministry wondering if it was a demotion and thinking that "pastor's wife" sounded like a dirty word. after having lived in a bush village with no running water or electricity, running thru gun fire with our toddler in my arms, being evacuated by paratroopers during civil war, the pastoral ministry is still way tougher! through this journey God's faithfulness, provision and protection has been so evident to our family - even during the rough times - it is a privilege to serve the Lord.

cindy b

Melissa Mizell said...

I know how you felt about trying to be everything to everyone. I recently resigned from the Children's Ministry at our church. I loved the ministry and the volunteers but felt like I was neglecting my family and our home.

Anonymous said...

i wanted to thank you for your blog! it has been used more than a few times as an encouragement, a challenge and a motivator to do what I needed to do! thank you!

blessings to you and your family!

cindy b

Julie said...

Great post!
Being a pastors wife isn't the easiest thing to do, but it could very well be one of the most rewarding!

Jen said...

I'm a missionary's wife. Please enter me in the giveaway.

Anonymous said...

I am the wife of a preacher and I can't wait to read Lisa's book!
stacymommyof3 (at) juno (dot) com

Kathy said...

Honest and Real...that's why I so enjoy reading your blog, Mer. How I wish for a chance to sit down for a cup of coffee and conversation with you, but(thanks to your own writing/communication skills) your daily posts are a good substitute. :)

My husband was a Worship/Music Pastor for 10 years before moving on to become a Senior Pastor nearly 5 years ago. It's funny that the title and role of "pastor's wife" didn't hit me or feel so heavy until he became a "Senior" Pastor. I didn't feel equal to the task, but I suppose that's a good starting point, huh?

The book sounds really interesting--one to read and pass along. Thanks for highlighting it today!

Meg said...

I am a preacher's kid (PK) and grew up in the ministry watching my Mom deal with the many ups and downs that come with being a Preacher's Wife. Because of her dedication, I have become the strong woman of God that He desires for me to be.

So, this book would go to Momma- my role model.

Kristi said...

The book sounds like a fun read. I minister to kids and families. Those who know Jesus I focus on helping them to be intentional about their lives with Jesus. Those who don't I experience life with and work to be a trusted sounding board and resource.

Kristi said...

I am taking my 'second chance' to increase the odds since after I read it I would pass it on to my best friend who is a pastor's wife. (Perhaps my husband should read it as a pastor's husband, PK, and dad of a PK?!?!?) :)

Denise said...

I want to read this book really badly. Then I would pass it on to my friend Stephanie!

Denise said...

For my second entry, my husband is the campus minister at our big church! He is basically the "jack of all trades" guy. And we live very close to the church, so if something's going on, he's the one who gets called first!

The Harper Family said...

Yes Yes Yes!!! I would love this book!!!

The Harper Family said...

Posting twice...I'm a pastor's wife. My husband preaches at Aly Church in Southwest Ar.

Gail @ Pandemonium in the Parsonage said...

I'm a pastor's wife, and I am really looking forward to reading this book. Pick me!

Gail @ Pandemonium in the Parsonage said...

I am also a women's Bible study leader, a Sunday School teacher, and I'm trying to raise 3 girls to love God. That's my second entry!

Kellie said...

Your honesty is like a cool drink of water in a parched land. Just love your wisdom and humility mixed in with the honest truth. So good.

The Lord has given me three very close and dear friends that are pastors wives. I've seen the blessings in their lives, and I've seen the painful wounds where the sheep bite. If I win, I'll have to go buy two more copies and send them each one!

sara said...

I am a pastor's wife and I thought your answers to the questions were great. some I would have answered the same and some different.

I have already ordered this book off amazon, but if I won it, I would pass it on to one of my staff wives!!

Gretchen Magruder said...

Sounds like you learned alot about being your own person as a preacher's wife - I know it isn't easy! My husband and I have been in campus ministry for 16 years and it's been a process to figure out my identity in that. Sounds like a great book!

Gretchen Magruder said...

I've got a group of pastor's wives at our church I'd love to share the book with after I read it!

Amber said...

My husband is the senior pastor at our sweet lil'church. We were in student ministry for almost 5 years and have no been in the pastorate for a little over one. This a great giveaway and I am so excited about this great book!

Amber said...

Entering twice since I'm in ministry! :) Thanks!

Stephanie said...

You were a great pastors wife...I know how hard things were on you but you were such a great support for me. Especially when Logan was born. hope all is well with you guys!

Mrs. Pastor Bob said...

Thanks for the offer! Please include me. I am a Senior Pastor's wife in Houston, Texas! Thank you so much!

Mrs. Pastor Bob said...

And, entering twice -- would love a copy for my Youth Pastor as well!! Thanks and God Bless!