September 21, 2012

When I Realized I Was a Pastor's Wife

I'm pleased and privileged to welcome Annie Garman to the blog today as she shares about the moment all ministry wives experience: the moment we realize we are The Pastor's Wife. Annie is a church planting pastor's wife who lives in the D.C. area (and who, I might add, lives dangerously close to one of the only Tex-Mex restaurants we can get to by car) and the mom of four beautiful girls, one of whom was born just last week.

I am a pastor’s wife. 

When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, there were a lot of things on my list.  There was one thing, however, that I did NOT want to be and that was….(I’ll give you one guess)… a pastor’s wife. 

I’m not sure how it happened exactly, which (I know what you’re thinking) is completely na├»ve and foolish, but one minute I was a junior in college dating a tall, handsome Biblical Studies major, the next minute we were engaged, and he was looking for a job as a Bible teacher at a Christian school. 

I found a way to graduate early, he was offered a job (that he took) to work with youth at a church in Northern Virginia, and we were flying high.  It was all so fast and so magical; nothing appeared to be in our way.

I’ll never forget calling him one month before our wedding.  I was working at a summer camp while trying to finish one last college class and plan a wedding in my spare time.  I escaped for one precious moment to dial his new phone number.  He answered, “Stafford Baptist Church; Pastor Colby speaking.” 


“What did you say?”  I could feel my face turning white.

“Stafford Baptist Church;  Pastor Colby speaking….Annie, is this you…?” 

“Why are you calling yourself a…a…a PASTOR?”  I needed to address this right away—before things got out of hand.

“Annie, you’re being ridiculous.  They hired me as an associate pastor…what is going on?  What’s the problem here?” 

I was beginning to connect the dots. If he was a pastor, then what did that make me? 
I could feel my control slipping as the epiphany grew larger and larger. 

I had been duped.  It had happened. 

I was a pastor’s wife. 

The truth was that I had always envisioned myself in ministry, traveling the world as a missionary, speaking at churches like a 21st century Lottie Moon, leading and influencing people to follow Christ…but never in the role of a Pastor’s wife.    Nonetheless, there I was.  Twenty one years old and an associate pastor’s wife. 

I could tell you that we lived happily ever after… 

…that I thrived in my new role and was the “rib,” the “help meet,” and the encourager I had been called to. 

…that I never looked to my husband to meet my God-sized needs and never got resentful of his inability to deliver. 

I could tell you that I never once called my husband’s cell phone during his Starbucks meetings so he could hear our one-month-old and our nineteen-month-old screaming bloody murder in the background as a subtle punishment for being there instead of at home. 


I could. 

But…women who have it all together rarely encourage me.  They usually just send me into deep despair.  So, I won’t lie.  I will tell you, however,  that it is a fight.  It is a struggle.  Whether you dreamed of being a pastor’s wife your whole life or not, it will not be easy.  You will be tempted to be a discouragement to your husband, and you will most likely (at some point) fall prey.  Then you will feel awful and will have to scrape yourself off the floor with whatever putty knife is available so that the rest of your life is not spent loathing in self-pity. 

Or maybe it will be less subtle for you.  It might not blare like it did for me, but it might gnaw.  I could go on describing all the mountains I’ve had to climb, articulating all the pitfalls that I’ve managed to find, or just embarrassing myself as I expose all my character deficiencies.  But I want to simply say, don’t give up. 

Our husbands have an important job, a unique calling, and we are an essential part of that equation.  Reach out to someone if you feel that you are sinking.  Don’t make excuses for why you can’t, and then take him down with you.  God has called your husband for a time such as this, and that means He has called you too.  Walk worthy of your calling.  Even if you feel like you didn’t sign up for it. 

When did it first hit you that you were The Pastor's Wife?

If you would like to guest post like Annie, I invite you to read my writer's guidelines and submission details.