So - in the name of doing what takes courage and telling you guys that one of my courageous things would be learning to be more honest about who I am... here goes:
There are times that I could really go all JamietheVeryWorstMissionary on you… (I wonder if she ever thought that would become a verb - no, wait, an adverb - someone help me out on that one). Being a pastor’s wife really sucks sometimes – I will have to say that it doesn’t suck as much as being the pastor, but it’s a close second.
I really didn’t sign up for this. We’d been married a long time and had three kids when he sprang this pastor gig on me. I’m prone to melancholy, bossy, sarcastic, intimidating (I’m told), I don’t play the piano and I don’t like wearing dresses; I'm not a good hostess and my house is always messy – these are not good traits for the gentle, loving pastors’ wives you feel like you’re supposed to emulate. God has gifted me with the ability to see beyond the surface of people much of the time, but not so much the ability to speak with grace and love in the moment. I bow up like a mama bear when my husband or my children are unfairly attacked – and I can tell you, when you live in the glass bowl of "vocational" ministry, that is not an infrequent occurrence.
Ministry means dealing with people – and I’m really not a people person. I love them, I really, really, really do – but I’m very introverted, draw my energy from time alone, get overwhelmed in groups.
Ministry means dealing with people – and dealing with people means you’re going to get hurt. It means you’re going to hurt other people. It’s just hard sometimes, ya’ know? Forgiveness and grace are beautiful foundations of our faith, but sometimes very hard to apply in the hard moments of offense and pain.
We pray and pray for God to provide in some area of ministry – we wait, we wonder if He’s hearing, we wonder if His people are listening, then someone hears and obeys, He answers and it’s beautiful! Then in less time than you can blink an eye, someone (and sometimes that someone is me) is mad about it – doesn’t like the way it’s being done, or is hurt, or offended. We’ve seen it over and over again in the last ten years.
We build relationships – we invest – we love -- and they leave – sometimes because life happens and they must move on, sometimes out of pain, sometimes we never know because they don’t tell us, they just leave… Not all of them leave, but when it happens, every one of them hurts like it’s the first time again. I just don’t get it. I don’t get people. I don’t get God. I trust Him, but I don’t get Him.
It’s at times like that, that I have to stop and review my list:
- I’m redeemed from the miry pit of my selfish, sinful self.
- I have a beautiful family.
- I have a beautiful spiritual family.
- The best friendships I’ve experienced have been carved out of the pain of living the hard parts of life together.
- God is bigger than the pain.
- God is bigger than the plan.
- God is not surprised.
- Even though I don’t get Him, He gets me. He knows I’m but dust, and He’s with me – beside me when I can’t see the answer.
- That I will speak again, with Peter, “To whom else would I go? You alone have eternal life.”
So, all that to say, this… When it sucks, it really, really sucks. But even when it sucks, God is still good, life is still beautiful, people are still worth loving. I will continue to fight against the urge to give in to the melancholy, to fold back into myself and give up -- I just have to process, vent, pray, cry, laugh, and move on, trusting that God is in this thing.
You could pray for me - that would be great.