since this blog is still evolving, and i don't feel tethered to one idea or another, i'm going to go ahead and write a bit about something that i've been thinking about recently--what it's like to be a pastor's wife.
did you know that i was a pastor's wife? don't worry... he didn't die, and he didn't get fired for sleeping with the secretary... he was called by God to move into a different form of ministry... but that's a whole other post for a whole other day.
since a bunch of the rockstar bloggers are doing a series for october, i thought i'd do a mini-series... every sunday in october, i'm going to give you a glimpse into what it's like to be a ministry wife.
the reason i want to do this is because i've been on many sides of the church staff scenario... i've been a single staff person, a married staff person, married to a staff person, and now, a normal person (not married to anyone on the church staff) who might be sitting two rows over from you. my hope here is to give you a small glimpse into their lives, and give you the chance to see their lives through their eyes.
to start off this week, i'll share what inspired me to write about this. a few weeks back, my husband was asked by our pastor to preach on a sunday. this was the first time my husband had preached since our last church where he was one of the pastors (he's not currently on a church staff). i was really happy for him, because i truly believe he has a gift, and i love seeing him use his gift for God, and watching others benefit from his gift.
we don't have children, and i'm lucky in this way, because when the sunday rolled around, i was able to be 100% in steve's corner. i made sure he had whatever he needed... his preaching bible and other books, something to eat, caffeine to help him wake up (he's not a morning person), and a ready assistant for whatever might come up.
i love being available to be his assistant when he preaches, and i know that this gives him a certain level of comfort, knowing that if he suddenly needs someone to run home and get the powerpoint off his computer, because the email corrupted it, i'm on standby. there are a LOT of things that happen to a preacher on a sunday, and having an extra set of hands is a big deal.
this comes at a price, though. and truth be told, i'd forgotten what that price was. during the musical portion of the worship service, i had leaned over to give his back a little pat/rub, which is my way of saying "hey, i'm thinking about you, i'm here for you." and he let me know, with a quick touch, that he was trying to focus, and i wasn't helping.
i have to be honest--my heart broke just a little. [quick note: please don't hate my husband--he and i have talked about this since, and he is amazingly good at taking care of my emotional needs... so no worries, he's not neglectful or abusive... just needed to get the disclaimer out there :)]
you see, i'd gotten used to what most non-staff couples have at church on a sunday morning--the opportunity to worship together as a family. that means that some times, we hold hands, or smile at each other, and we're accessible to each other. he might put his arm around me, we might share a bible. we worship as a unit, and that is really sweet and sacred.
[i got this photo from a random church website.]
but it's different when he's preaching. his focus is not coming in as a congregant, but rather, to stand between God and the congregation, to bring the Word of God. this is a very sober place to stand. it requires much focus, and minimizing distractions. and so, me giving steve's back a little rub was a distraction, and (in some ways) counter-productive to what he was there to do.
before you think that men like steve take themselves and their position too seriously, consider James 3:1-- Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
knowing that he will have to answer to God some day (and in a way that i won't), makes me want to help him when he's ministering, and support him. but this comes at the cost of worshiping as a unit on sundays. steve didn't mean to hurt my feelings when he brushed my affection aside, he was simply trying to do his (very important) job well. can you blame him? he's going to be judged more strictly.
i should also mention that this isn't the case only when he was (is) preaching. my husband's role as a pastor was largely administrative, so it was more likely that on a sunday, he wouldn't be up in front, but behind the scenes--meeting with people, praying with people, making sure that ministries were running smoothly, etc. just because he wasn't preaching doesn't mean he wasn't ministering. and if he was ministering, he probably wasn't available to be with me, or worship with me.
i think that as congregants (and i include myself here, because it's been easy to forget what it was like to be married to a pastor), it's easy to forget that our pastor is at work at church, and what that means for his family. it means that his wife worships alone on sundays. she might get to have some of his attention, but he's likely focused on his work (as he should be).
she makes a significant spiritual sacrifice here that shouldn't be overlooked. i challenge you, this sunday, to think about your pastor's wife... and the sacrifice she makes, not being able to worship with her husband as most wives do, so that you can have a pastor.