March 18, 2013

What It's Like to be a Pastor's Wife (In Which You Write the Post)

My neighbor Aimee's husband is a medical resident. He works long, constantly shifting hours. She homeschools her two oldest children while caring for her newborn and makes warm meals for her husband to scarf down before getting called back to the hospital. I try to understand her life and empathize with its inherent challenges, but I don't know what that's like.

My best friend's husband works on product design for Nissan. Before that he worked for Ford, which means my friend Jo and her family have moved from Texas to Tennessee to Detroit to Tennessee to Canada and will soon move back to Tennessee. He takes after hours conference calls from Japan because it's not after hours in Japan and Japan is where Nissan is based. I love my friend Jo and listen about the business decisions her husband is currently making that affect their family, but, in the end, I can't completely identify with the road she walks.

My sister Sarah's husband, my brother-in-law, is a farmer in the windy, hot south Texas town of Harlingen. This is new for them, although the farm has been family-run for generations. Farming is in Travis' blood, I suppose, and now it's my sister's way of life, too. She now talks to me about rain and if the crop will be good this year and sends pictures of their kids riding the John Deere tractor. I don't know what it's like for my livelihood to depend on the weather or to have a husband whose hands need to be in the dirt.
All I know is what it's like to be a pastor's wife. I know what it is to have a husband who serves on staff of an established church, and I also know what it is like when that husband says he wants to plant a church. These roles are similar and also quite different, but, in the end, his ministry jobs both have made me a pastor's wife.

So I can't tell you what it's like to be a doctor's wife or a businessman's wife or a farmer's wife, but I can tell you what it's like to be a pastor's wife.

But I'm not going to tell you. I want you to tell. This is going to be a "you write the ending" kind of post. I want readers who are not ministry wives to hear what life is like married to a pastor. Although it's impossible to fully walk in another's shoes, I think it's important for people in the church to try to understand their pastor and pastor's wife so they can care for them, ease their burdens a bit, and celebrate joys with them.

And you know what? If you are not a ministry wife, I want to hear from you, too. I simply want you to ask questions, things you've always wanted to know about what life is like for your pastor's wife. Let us tell you because we really want you to know. In my next post, we'll turn the tables, but, for now, will you walk in our shoes?

Ministry wives, tell me:

What is life like for you?
What are the privileges you enjoy as a ministry wife?
What are your personal struggles as a ministry wife?
What are the challenges that you or your husband face?
What are relationships like for you?
What are the rewards of being a ministry wife?
What do you want people in your church to know about your life?