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!
It's called: You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes.
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!