Who me? Are you introducing me as the pastor’s wife? I remember the first I time I realized that someone saw me differently than I saw myself. (I know, I am slow). It was many years in and someone introduced me to their sister as the pastor’s wife. In my mind I was startled by that introduction. Not because I don’t know that my husband is a pastor, but I thought we were friends, and we were, but first to her, I was the pastor’s wife. We had walked through some serious stuff together. She was my friend. We had gone on a journey together, but at that moment that was what she picked as my defining attribute to lead off with.
I have some friends who introduce me that way to people in their lives, but I know it is code to their friends not to swear or to take their vices to another room, which makes me laugh, and I have flashbacks to old SNL skits of Dana Carvey as the “church lady,” and I think, “isn’t that special.” They want to protect me from evil. I wish it was as easy as announcing that I am the pastor’s wife, but I do appreciate their heart.
Those words are so interesting, I have to admit I am willing to claim them when I want to use them to make somethings happen faster, and other times I try to put it off as long as possible because it can squash conversation quickly. Being the pastor’s wife is a bit different than being the doctor’s wife or dentist’s wife… no one really defines you that way, although I am sure people assume things about you because of it. But pastor’s wife comes with expectations from some, rules from others, and trust of others. Those who offer me their hearts because they sense a safety, I take very seriously that honor and privilege. Some people let me into certain places of their heart and life because I am the PW (not pioneer woman although I love her and wouldn’t mind being mistaken for her). Those that have expectations or rules or forms they want me to fit into, are usually disappointed. My identity is not a role. My identity is in Christ and I am the conglomeration of all of my life, which in this season is being in full-time ministry, and I am thankful. I am not bitter or hurt by this. I learned though that some people look at me through different lenses than I see myself and that changes things.
I remember a friend of mine from a homeschool group in another town looked at me and said, “I always forget you’re a pastor’s wife.” I think she may have been making commentary, but I took it as a compliment. She knew me. I love Jesus. I love you. Not because of who I am married to, but because of who saved me and who made you. When I try to walk in predetermined roles, I get weird, and we all get awkward. It is much better when I stay in the identity of who God says I am, not who I think, or anyone thinks I should be because of who I am married to. May we all become our truest self and encourage one another to be that, because we all win when women are walking out of their identity in Christ and not a man made role.