Every once in awhile something will come out in a magazine or on the Internet about all the things pastor’s wives deal with, and when that happens, I’m always tempted to write a blog post. Today I’m succumbing to the temptation. So here goes.
I suppose I could call this post “5 Simple Truths About Pastor’s Wives…and Everyone Else” and it would maybe go viral or something. People seem intrigued by this special and rare creature often called “The Pastor’s Wife” as if that is the sum total of her identity. I’ve been described as “not your typical pastor’s wife,” whatever that means. I’ve heard people say, “I forget you’re a pastor’s wife! You’re so normal!” And I’ve also been asked, “So you’re a pastor’s wife? Wow! What’s that like?” And I want to ask, “What’s it like being an engineer’s wife? Or a computer guy’s wife? Or a doctor’s wife?” Because being a pastor’s wife can’t be very different from any of those. Let me clear up some of the mystery: Being a pastor’s wife means being married to a man whose life is defined by his calling. Does that mean my life is also defined by his calling? I don’t know. I’ve never thought of it that way. The way I see it, my life is defined by my calling. Not so different from anyone else, really. It’s just that my calling is to be married to a man in ministry, specifically, to Greg Duke. Right now that calling means I’m a pastor’s wife. It’s that simple. Really.
Please hear my heart: My intent is not to belittle the struggles and hardships that pastor’s wives face. All those things you read in articles and on blogs are true. Life as a pastor’s wife can be difficult and sometimes it’s not very rewarding. But isn’t that just life? Life is hard. In many ways life as a Christian is even harder, like we’re struggling to stay afloat while we swim against the current of the culture. Seeking to be a Christ-following, God-honoring, Kingdom-growing wife and mother brings a new set of challenges every day. Some days I look back over the day and think of all the things I could have done better, things I shouldn’t have said, or things that I should have said but didn’t, ways that I think I failed, and all I can do is thank God that He got me through it and we’re all still alive and mostly unharmed. I am always thankful that I have the resurrection power of Christ working through me, giving me the strength for that swim upstream. And I’m thankful for the roles He’s given me in this life, one of which is the role of a pastor’s wife.
Did I always feel comfortable with the idea of being a pastor’s wife? To be honest, no. I struggled with the idea when Greg first brought it up. But it’s not like he came home one day and said, “God is calling me to be a pastor,” and I groaned and said, “Great. This is not what I signed up for.” I know that happens to some women, but that’s not my story. I always knew I was called to marry a minister, and Greg has been in ministry the whole time we’ve been married. I just thought he’d be a music guy, or a college campus minister, or a church planter. The journey to his calling as Senior Pastor (and currently the only pastor) at Aberdeen Baptist Church is a long story, maybe for another post. But it’s a journey that we took together, and we knew that God was leading us every step of the way. I believe with all my heart that we’re where we’re supposed to be, doing what we’re supposed to be doing.
I am so incredibly blessed. I have deep connections in my community of friends. I have the privilege of investing in the lives of many people around me through prayer, through conversations about God and His Word, through just hanging out and enjoying life. The wonderful people in our church take really good care of us. They’ve watched our kids, taken us out to eat, given us generous gifts when we needed them most – whether they knew that or not. My husband is a treasure and I thank God for him constantly. Sure he’s busy, but he does good work, and although he sometimes has meetings or has to visit with people at times that might be inconvenient for me, and yeah, those middle-of-the-night calls happen and they’re not fun, his flexible schedule allows him time to spend with his family that many men don’t have. Our family doesn’t suffer because Greg is a pastor; we’re blessed because he’s a pastor. And that’s the truth.
So I’m a pastor’s wife. I really think the most important part of that “title” is “wife.” Just like every Christian wife, I’m called to support, respect, and help my husband in any way I can, submitting to his authority over me just as we both submit to Christ’s authority over us. I have struggles, and I have victories. Sometimes I control my temper, my tongue, my thoughts, and sometimes I don’t. I try to be open and honest, but I do have things I don’t tell certain people, and even some things that I won’t tell anyone. I love and adore my kids, but there are moments when I don’t like them very much. I have lots of friends but sometimes I’m lonely. Sometimes I just long for a few minutes of adult conversation. Sometimes I wish I could get away. But most of the time, I’m happy with who I am, where I am, what I’m doing, and who I’m with. This is who I am. If that makes me a unique, strange creature known as a “pastor’s wife,” I guess I’m okay with that. I just have this feeling that I’m really not so different from anyone else.