Dear Pastor's Wives,
You are one of the few types of wives that assume more than just your husband's last name. Similar to the First Lady, you obtain an unspoken role of leadership in your church. Some of you thrive in this role and others of you fear it. Or maybe you do both, like me.
I have not been a pastor's wife for very long. A little less than 5 years to be exact, but I am the daughter of a pastor and watched my mother swim through the ebb and flow in the sea that is ministry.
To us, her children, she wasn't perfect, but she was close.
But not because she kept her life and love neatly fastened together with a big pink bow.
Behind the haven of our front door she had her moments of panic and fear, her bouts of depression and loneliness and her seasons of weariness. We saw them. She let us see them. And, in my opinion, her vulnerability made us better human beings.
It made us better human beings because, while we grew up with expectations to be respectful, we were never expected to be perfect. We knew our parents weren't perfect and it emboldened us. It gave us the chance to see God's grace at work in their lives and as a result, to recognize it in our own.
Yet even with that background, I am still a woman and I still live in pressure, from myself and the world around me.
As women, we already struggle with daily pressure to be perfect inside and out, but then adding the spiritual, emotional and physical weight from your husband's job and heightened attention, both intentionally and unintentionally, on the demeanor of you and your family, it can be a lot for one woman to bear.
There is an expectation that if anyone in the church has it together, it's probably the pastor and his family. But we know, this is rarely the case, because are we a part of the human race.
We sin and struggle. Just like everyone else.
There is pressure to be THE Proverbs 31 woman of your church. And while that is an honorable goal of any and every woman who has submitted herself to Jesus, it is not a standard by which we are to live all at one time.
If you read closely, the woman in Proverbs 31 (10-31) is on a journey of becoming "the Proverbs 31 woman" herself.
She didn't start out that way.
She had to learn submission.
She had to learn household management.
She had to learn to be a good mother and a good wife.
She had to learn how to bridle her tongue and she had to gain the respect and trust of her husband.
She wasn't born that way.
And neither are we.
If you're looking for failure, you will find it. As a pastor's wife, that is true of us. If someone is looking for my failures, they will easily find them. If you are looking for your own failure, well, who am I kidding? We don't have to look.
But that is why God sent Jesus. For people like us, who fail and need freedom to live.
Sweet friend, you are free to be imperfect. And maybe you just needed a little reminder of that today.
You are free to fail and get up and do it again. You are free to learn and grow.
You are loved right where you are and your ministry to your husband, your family and your church will benefit significantly from you basking in that freedom.
So it's okay, you don't have to be perfect for anyone, not even your children, because God already declared you perfect and that's good enough.
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This article is part of the DEAR CHURCH SERIES. Click to read the rest of the series.