Archive for August, 2016

Pastor’s Wives Only

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The Day Before I Became A Pastor’s Wife (little did I know. Hehehe).

I never do a “focused” blog for a select group of people, unless it’s teens (I do that all the time), but here it is:


Let me start with talking about my hubby: He is the youngest of nine children… He has an outgoing (sanguine) personality… He’s always the life of the party… People love him easily and are drawn to his charismatic personality… If I had a dollar for every person who told me how amazing they think he is, I’d be a rich woman!


AND THEN THERE’S ME:   The oldest of three… Painfully introverted at times… Usually a wallflower at parties… I admit people sometimes make me nervous (my insecurities tend to take over)… Some questions often asked at our church, “Jen, who? Who is Jen? Who the heck is the pastor’s wife anyway?!”


I even ask myself, “Who is this pastor’s wife?” She’s the person who doesn’t always fit in at church… the person who wonders if she has anything to contribute… the person who gets criticized so often it’s hard to NOT feel like a failure… the person who rarely feels accepted for who she is and is more often than not being told she needs to change… the person who tries to put her family first (soccer practices & games, track practices & meets, youth events, chaperoning activities, etc.), yet is criticized for not being at every church outing or outreach or event or activity. She is the person who has made too many sacrifices to count, but would do it again in a heartbeat. She is the person who is most often invisible. She is the person who is sometimes very lonely. She is the person who knows her multitude of flaws so well, that she would never judge you on yours.


Why is being the “Pastor’s Wife” such a tough experience for so many? If you are one of the fortunate few who LOVE this position, I am super-happy for you and want to know your secret! Honestly, though, I think contentment comes with age and experience. When you stop letting people tell you who you are supposed to be and JUST BE YOURSELF, then you can finally let go of your own expectations and insecurities and find joy in the ministry.


In my almost twenty-five years of ministry I have experienced being over-involved to the point of extreme burnout, being under-involved to the point of depression over not having a purpose, to finding a balance and being exactly where God wants me.


At times I’ve been treated as something LESS than a real person: There were times when people have tried to use & manipulate me, thinking that’s the way to get their voice heard through me to my husband… Some have been outright mean and judgmental of everything from my parenting – ministry style – clothing choices – house appearance – how my yard looks – to what I watch or don’t watch on tv… People have criticized my husband, kids, marriage, hair, weight, and even makeup. People have made things up about me. People can sometimes be rude to me. People can also be cruel and mean at times. Those people think I can handle it because I’m a pastor’s wife. If only they knew!


Here’s something NOT related to just pastor’s wives: since I have never been blessed with a “big” personality, I have always tried to get attention/affirmation in other ways (this was DEFINITELY a problem when I was a teenager). When I was younger it was in all the wrong ways of acting out. When I got older it was in a different kind of acting out.


Then, as a “grown up” I became obsessed at being the best at something, even if it was in only one thing! I worked myself to death at various jobs; in Bible college I fought hard (with my limited intellect) to achieve grades that put me at the top of my class; at home I read books to help me to be a better parent; even my ministry opportunities were approached with zeal and the psycho attitude of an over-achiever!


Everything I did was done whole-heartedly, with every ounce of strength and will-power (also very limited, haha) inside of me.   I didn’t realize it until just recently, but my extreme drive was purely selfish and not done for the glory of God at all. I was trying to make up for what I thought were character flaws and deficiencies by excelling in any way I could.


Recently I experienced a serious health scare. If the blockage in my heart wouldn’t have been caught and fixed, it’s possible that the next time I went to sleep I would not have woken up.  My particular area of blockage has a 1-4% survival rate.


A lady from church brought me some food a couple of weeks after I got home from the hospital. She looked me right in the eye and said, “I want you to know that I am so glad you are still with us. We need you. We love you.”  I broke down in tears when she told me this.


I still cry as I recount those words. Someone loves me? I mean, this is me, the unlovable one. I still can’t believe it! I guess in my head I thought of course the world would feel like it came to an end for people if something happened to my husband, but no one would really care about me. It meant so much that she said that (even if it was only one person. Hehehe).


So after this long blog about being a pastor’s wife I can finally get to my point, to someone that really needs to hear this: YOU ARE LOVED. YOU ARE NEEDED. YOU ARE NOT INVISIBLE. YOU ARE AN INCREDIBLE PERSON.


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