Yesterday, H and I wandered between rooms of the house, watching tree limbs become weapons of glass, boulders falling from the sky, creating craters in our roof. After returning from a week long trip to the British Virgin Islands and sun-kissed, he was bundled up in a coat while telling us to unplug electronics as lights flickered throughout every room and transformers popped in the distance. I found the juxtaposition comical.
We’re not used to the weight of ice snapping the tops off trees at the beach or seeing his tan face in the middle of winter. But we are used to the way he takes care of us.
When someone refers to me as a pastor’s wife it often makes me feel uncomfortable, though it’s the truth. I don’t think about myself as a role unless I’m filling out a resumé. Instead, I consider myself as a woman fulfilling her divine destiny on a unique path. (That will bring a smile to the face of my coach. Hi Terry!)
H was on a trip with several men for the purpose of renewing their call as ministry leaders. The development of leaders is a high value for both of us. We invest ourselves in the lives of others and create opportunities that cultivate personal growth. H just happened to be doing that on a sailboat, in a beautiful place under the canopy of tropical warmth last week.
It never occurred to me to be resentful or jealous about his taking the trip until I heard the contempt in the voices of women when they asked questions about why I didn’t go with him. When someone mentioned that a woman should feel God’s pleasure in serving as a pastors wife, referring to the sacrifice women make to stay back and take care of responsibilities on the home front, I’ll admit, the hair on my arms raised a bit. Because that statement makes an assumption.
I don’t think of myself or my husband as the roles we fill.
I am married to a man of great influence and consider being his wife an honor. Watching him flourish in the way God has made him is a gift, something I appreciate and don’t take for granted.
In the same way, H sees me not as a pastor’s wife but a woman equally gifted in leadership with influence that looks unique to my personality and gifts. We aren’t in competition. I serve H, not because he is a pastor but because he is my husband and it gives God pleasure when we serve each other. How that looks is unique to each couple, I realize that.
The assumption that a woman must take a back seat to her husband in the role of a pastor’s wife, or any role for that matter, is flawed thinking. It is not a burden we must bear while pretending to be joyful about the sacrifice. If you believe that, then the undercurrent will always be the prison of resentment that keeps you stuck in an unhealthy place.
If a woman asks me how to be a pastor’s wife, searching for some hidden secret, I always respond with the same answer. Be Yourself!
God has created us in His image as man and woman and if we are fortunate we fulfill many roles in this life. When our perspective is backwards, we forget that our identity is in Christ, not an image with a title attached to it.
When the sun shines, melting the ice into waterfalls from tree limbs, we will clean up the mess those ice laden branches made of our roof together. I’m sure of that. And aren’t these photos awesome, better than bringing a t-shirt back for me, don’t you think?