February 17, 2011

Pastor's Wife, Conversation Killer

It happened again yesterday.

I met a woman, a friend of a friend and as nice as can be. We instantly found common ground so the conversation picked up, moving at lightning speed through the usual questions: How do you know so-and-so? How old are your kids? What do you do? Where are you from originally?

And then I asked it. I know I shouldn't have, but I did. I knew she would turn it around on me and then the elephant would walk in the room. But there it came. What does your husband do? 


She answered and oh-so-politely volleyed back, but slightly off script. What brought you to Charlottesville? 

Eeeeeeeek. What a question from a person I just met. It's not that I'm ashamed at all about why we came to Charlottesville. It's just that the answer always makes the conversation either really awesome or really awkward in a hurry. I just never know which way it's going to go until I put it out there. And as soon as I answer it, her face will tell which way.

We moved here to start a church. My husband is a pastor.

Cue thoughts of bald people drinking kool-aid, wearing funny clothes, protesting at Disney.
"Oh."
Blank stare.
Forced smile as she replays our conversation, trying to remember if she said any cuss words.
Conversation. Over.

This is how it mostly goes. But it's OK. I've gotten used to it. After all, I am the Pastor's Wife, Conversation Killer. The one that causes all conversations that I enter to come to a screeching halt as everyone stares at me with their most angelic smiles. The one that couldn't possibly find a joke funny or know the pop-culture reference because, it's assumed, I read my Bible and pray all day.

I am not just The Conversation Killer Extraordinaire. No sir. I have many more titles in my Pastor's Wife credentials. I am also the:
  • Sermon Illustration: I seem to be the Sermon Illustration most often when it's my day to work in the children's ministry. When parents come to pick up their kids and each one offers me a pecan pie recipe or talks to me about bear hunting, it's a little confusing at first. Am I giving off some weird vibe or something? After the tenth person, it hits me. Kyle preached on presenting every man mature in Christ. Naturally, pecan pie ties in with that. Duh. Just doing my part as the Sermon Illustration.
  • Goody Two Shoes: I am the person who has no problems, who struggles with nothing, who has an answer for everything, and who should pray at the meal if the Pastor is not available because my prayers are better (although second best to the Pastor). 
  • Extension Cord: If you need to get a message to the pastor, especially if you want to criticize something but are afraid to go straight to the top, I'm your gal!
  • Nameless Person: There have only been a few times that I've been physically shoved aside or ignored by a person wanting to get to my husband. Most of the time, I'm Nameless Person when I am introduced by church members to their friends not by my name but as Pastor's Wife, as in "This is my Pastor's Wife." See Conversation Killer above.
  • Church Encyclopedia: What time does this event start? Does Kyle have any time to meet with me this week? How many people were at church on Sunday? Who pays your salary? Could you find me a roommate? When does the worship team practice? Do you know anybody who could babysit for me? Does Kyle wear boxers or briefs? OK, so no one has asked me about worship team practice.
  • People Rolodex: See babysitter question above.
  • Catch All (a.k.a 2-for-1): Don't worry, the Pastor's Wife can do it!
  • Zoo Animal: This is my favorite credential. I am the Zoo Animal to stare at when I'm dragging my kids, along with 17 bags and a 5 lb Bible, through church while the oldest is having a meltdown. Or when my husband and I are out on a date and a person I don't know is staring at us with a knowing look. (Do I have something hanging out of my nose or do they know Kyle from somewhere?) 
Maybe Paul was talking about being a pastor's wife when he said, "I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some."

So I'll be the Conversation Killer and the People Rolodex and the Nameless Person if it also means I get to be Disciple Maker and Counselor and Lover of People.

Paul said it best: "Now this I do for the gospel's sake."

It's a pretty good gig.

53 comments:

Ryan said...

Great read Christine, hilarious! We can totally relate when we are stateside. "What do you do?" Here we go...but you are right that some great convos come from doing what He's called us to. Sometimes I even find myself baiting people by banking on their reciprocity.

We miss and love y'all! We really wanna make an East coast trip when we're in the states next year. Keep in touch! Ryan Wayson

Kim said...

I'm so glad I found your blog! I love connecting with other Pastor's Wives!! It is so good to know that we are not alone & there are others who experience the same things we do. I also just read your bio...I knew I liked you! You are an Aggie!! I have many friends who were at A&M at the same time you were...what church were you at? We may know the same people. :)

Melanie said...

Oh Christine, my heart is hurting and yet I am laughing at the same time. How did you come up with this list?

Christine said...

Girl, I live the list!!!

Kim, thanks for finding me and good to hear from you. We were at Central in College Station, although we were friends with alot of the college ministers and their wives at other churches.

Christina Main said...

I loved this!

Fleming Family said...

Uh oh, I'm guilty of asking some of those questions....

I know it must be hard to live this list--but you sure do a great job of it, and I know you reach so many women in your own ministering.

This is a great post--truth and humor go great together.

Love you Christine.

Sarah said...

What??? Mom guilty of asking questions? Get your guns up!!!

momstheword said...

This made me laugh as I totally get it, lol! I am familiar with the silence that can happen when I walk into a room and I always "get" to prayer when hubby isn't available, lol!

I love the Extension cord and especially The Sermon Illustration!

Have you ever seen the video on youtube called "Before He Speaks?" It's a spoof sung by "pastor's wives" about their sermon-illustrating husbands.

Here's a link if you haven't seen it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iY4khRpG8O8

melissaelswick said...

So loved this post! I can certainly relate! Just found your blog from a link someone posted on Twitter! :) Thanks from one Pastor's wife to another in sunny South Florida!

carglephotography said...

My husband is a youth pastor, so definately not as front & center as the pastor's wife (although I'm pretty sure Jeni, our Pastor's wife relates completely!) We are 24 and I feel like a conversation killer everytime I'm somewhere new and someone asks that same question....

Just wanted to tell you I LOVE your blog!!

Clint and Lauren said...

Christine,

Oh my goodness!! I am cracking up!! You put words to the emotions I have felt for years. Thank you for your wisdom, and thank you for saying things out loud that others tend to ignore.

rebekah said...

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS POST!!! i laughed and almost cried while reading it...i'm the wife of a youth pastor and this is exactly how i feel. your blog makes me smile and remember there ARE other pastor's wives out there who UNDERSTAND!
i'm so thankful my friend stumbled upon your blog and shared it with me. God bless your ministry!

rebekah said...

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS POST!!! i laughed and almost cried while reading it...i'm the wife of a youth pastor and this is exactly how i feel. your blog makes me smile and remember there ARE other pastor's wives out there who UNDERSTAND!
i'm so thankful my friend stumbled upon your blog and shared it with me. God bless your ministry!

Sarah said...

What??? Mom guilty of asking questions? Get your guns up!!!

Julie said...

Thank you for your honestly and humor....I love that you remind us all why we do this. It's for others, it's to be a lover of people! May the Lord pour out His favor over you as you share your insight, wisdom and truth.

Julie

DD said...

It is WONDERFUL to have been directed to your blog! As a 55 year old, hip," young at heart" wife of a pastor, who has been a full time pastor for 24 years, I am so thankful for the support this blog is providing for my precious hip," young in body"' sister,pastor wives! I have and still know the ups and downs, the frustrations and joys, of being "the pastor's wife"... this one thing I know... " To thyself be true" and know that before you were called to a congregation, before you were even called to your children, you were called to know who you are, the very FIRST thing that Proverbs 31 says is " A virtuous woman is worth far more than rubies and fine jewels!" If we as pastor's wives and women, do not know how wonderful,valuable, and precious we are, we wont have much left for anyone else! THEN we are called to our BRAVE men we call husband, somehow for many years I forgot that! My love and prayers to you and all the other wonderful women known as the wife of the pastor! XOXOX

Christine Hoover said...

DD,
Glad you wrote! It's encouraging to hear some wisdom from someone a little further down the road. Blessings to you.

Tiffany Fulcher said...

This is so funny, but oh so true...I love it

Helen Murray said...

I'm not a Pastor's wife, but this has made me think about OUR Pastor's wife in a different way. Thankyou. 

Shelley said...

Oh funny - I remember having an interview for a job when I was asked, 'what does your husband do' - I actually laughed and said to the lady - 'OK this is where I tell you and the conversation stops' - she laughed when I told her and the conversation was fine - although I too have had so many experiences where the response has been "Oh that's nice' (while looking for the quickest exit)
Thanks for posting this,
Shelley

Christine Hoover said...

Glad I'm not the only one this happens to!

Bethany Brubaker said...

I absolutely love this!  As the daughter of a pastor, and the wife of a youth minister, I understand these very well.  Praise God for the patience to put up with it, and  the joy to love people through it all!

♥ Bethany

www.happyhomemaker.me

Ashley H. said...

Pastor's wife of almost three years now, in a small town. Place where I most experience this conversational obstacle: the beauty shop.  *Big Sigh...*  But there's healing in your humor.  :) Thank you.

Christine Hoover said...

Ha! I can only imagine how this plays out at the beauty shop. There is reward in heaven for you, friend. Seriously though, I'm glad it was helpful and I hope you are encouraged to see the opportunity in your role. Blessings to you.

mark and jennifer dougan said...

Hi Christine,

Being in ministry can sure be fun, rewarding, tiring, maddening and a great adventure to get to know your spouse and most importantly our God. Thanks for the smile here as I read your post. Hang in there. :)

A youth pastor's wife for 16 years,
Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jessica @ The Abundant Wife said...

Thanks for writing this!  My husband works for a non-profit youth ministry.  We get a lot of the same stuff, even outside of the church.  Your words make me laugh.  It's good to realize that I'm not alone.  :)

MandyHoffman said...

Church Encyclopedia!  Wow can I identify with that one!  Okay, with all, but lately this one more than others.

Serena Chase said...

HA! Great post. My husband is an elementary principal in a small town, so change "church" to "school" and I'm your go-to girl... except when someone's looking for a place to sit at a school event, then I'm my own personal leper section. ;)

Jmkcochran said...

When I tell people my husband is a pastor, I usually get questions like what church? where is that? what denomination is that (we are in the URCNA)? do you have a praise band (which we don't)?...and often I'll get confessions from people....I haven't been to church in awhile, etc. It's quite interesting how some people respond. 

I can definitely relate with you on the many facets of being a pastor's wife. I definitely feel like the zoo animal, but overall I am thankful for our church and how the people have responded to me and our children. They adore the kids and usually try to not ask too much of me since they know I'm busy with our two toddlers and one on the way. It's hard being the "single-mom" in the pew on Sundays but I'm thankful for the help when I get it and thankful for the loving attitudes from the others in the church. I think that's also one great aspect to ministering to a small church in a small-ish community. 

Sarah said...

So true! I am the daughter of a pastor, so I've seen my Mom experience all of this. And now, I'm the pastor's assistant at another church, and people seem to treat me just about the same way! I'm supposed to know what the pastor is having for supper tonight, where he buys his socks, what books he's currently reading, and what the best birthday gift for him would be. I know his wife knows all of the answers, but I know better than to refer people to her! I try to guard her time just like I guard his time.

sghughes said...

Just discovered your blog and SO grateful -- we're interning now and hope to be planting in the next 2 years. This made me snort! *LOVE* the titles you've put on each of the Pastor's Wife roles! Hahaha! They're incredibly on point, painfully true, and absolutely hilarious!
Looking forward to reading more of your blog!

Victoria Rodney said...

oh my heavens! I can relate to this so much. when my hubby and I started our church it was vey interesting explaining that to a muslin friend of mine! LOL She just didnt get it! Glad I am not alone with this one!

Jamie said...

Thanks for reposting!

Serving Irving said...

Christine - your description of what it’s
like to be a pastor's wife is so true and was so fun to read. It is also a great privilege all the time
even when it sometimes doesn't seem too great of a gig. :) Thank you for being
brave and sharing!

Stefanie said...

Just found you from Money Saving Mom - boy you hit the nail on the head on this one. I'm a pastor's wife myself - 10 yrs now and these are so true!

Christine Hoover said...

Glad you came over to the blog, Stefanie!

Mary Beth Vincenzo Patnaude said...

I am a pastor's wife and the mother of his 5 sons. I can relate to all you just said! The kids and I provide much fodder for sermons!

Lisa said...

Haha! I've stumbled onto your blog and I instantly subscribed! Thank you!

I have been a pastor's wife for 6 months and have already experienced most of this list! Lol!

Emily said...

I loved this! It made me laugh out loud. I could relate to so many of them. Blessings on your ministry. Thank you for this.

Mark Conklin said...

The church encyclopedia and extension cord summaries were hilarious - and made me feel so normal for thinking the same thing. We have a family policy for the sermon illustration thing, though - if my husband uses me or any of my boys as a sermon illustration without asking us permission ahead of time, he owes that person $5.

Victoria Gomez Mininger said...

LOL - So true! Just happened to me the other day. Especially the part about the cuss words. At least I can say my husband is bi-vocational since he works in construction too. It always throws them off a bit.

http://houseofhatton.wordpress said...

I can so relate! I am a church planter/pastor's wife and we always laugh about how quickly his calling can kill conversations for both of us. I am happy to have just found your blog through Desiring God. Look forward to reading more.

Christine said...

Hello, a friend sent me your site...I'm engaged to a Pastor, we've dated 4 years and the wedding is in August...I had to laugh...I'm already the extension cord...everyone is telling him to protect me...since we've dated for the last 4 years...everyone knows me and what I'm willing and capable of doing.....I have always been the type to pick up the slack if something needs to get done...so I'm not sure how much its going to change...any advice?

Christine said...

Welcome, Victoria! My advice is to spend these months preparing for marriage and ministry by prayerfully considering what God has gifted you for and what He is leading you to do. The best advice I got in our first ministry position was to wait a while before jumping into anything. I didn't heed the advice, unfortunately, but I realized in hindsight it was wise.

Christine said...

Haha, this is awesome! Just found this blog through a post on Twitter & am enjoying it. This post cracked me up! I've been a pastor's wife for 12 years & we are now in our 3rd year of church planting. Thanks for sharing your insight!

Christine said...

I am a pastor wife and I find this all so true, and not at all funny. Some people can be very hurtful when you are not the pastors wife they expect you to be. People really need to see this and realize what they are doing to the pastors family.

Christine said...

Good post! I can definitely relate being a pastors wife. The "my husband is a pastor" conversation sometimes kills the conversation, but I feel like it's a unique privilege. It's really akin to the conversations a non-ministry woman has when she tells someone she's a Christian, we just happen to get there quicker since the profession question inevitably comes long before that of faith. I find it to be a great Segway into deeper conversations about the gospel. I've been kind of amazed how many conversations have quickly led to talk about Jesus, specifically at work. In that way I've been so grateful! On a lighter note, the extension cord and church encyclopedia totally resonate! My patience is greatly tested when someone shares some "constructive criticism" on the sermon, ministry programs, or childrens curriculum that I have no part in preparing. Would it be rude if I sent this to the ladies in my church?? ;)

Christine said...

Oh, I can so relate to much of this! I'm really happy to have found your blog! :)

Christine said...

Welcome!

Christine said...

Nice. I'm the zoo animal for sure. My husband never makes me the sermon illustration though, which is awesome!

Christine Hoover said...

For once, I don't feel like fish out of water. I am a "conversation killer" too....but today I see it's not such a bad job. :) so thankful I found your blog.

Christine Hoover said...

Yes. I can so relate with this. I'm not a pastor's wife, but I'm a missionary with Campus Crusade for Christ. I'm not at all ashamed of what I do, but Oh man does it get awkward when people I don't know ask- "So what do you do?" and then the awkwardness only continues as they ask "so does the university employ you, how do you get paid?" etc.... Its the worst.

Christine Hoover said...

yep

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...