Saturday, November 12, 2011

I hate being a preacher's wife

(Note: Re-posted September 2015- I wrote this while Paul was a pastor of a small, rural church in mid-MO. This particular church was the most difficult place we ever served at. Our family was harmed there in ways that only time and the love of Jesus can overcome! True abuse, not just battles over carpet color. One of my children was assaulted. I wrote this only three months after we moved in, just one month before baby number six was born. Admittedly, I was a mess. We had A LOT going on! We didn't even go to church for a long time after we left this situation. And, I highly doubt if we'll EVER live in a parsonage again. Like I say in the first sentence below, some days I am not even sure we are doing church right.)

Half the time, I am still not sure if we are even "doing" church right. I defer to my husband on this issue, because he is far smarter than I am... But, that issue aside - I still hate being a "preacher's wife."

This is not a role to be entered into lightly! Any woman who struggles with being a man pleaser as much as I do should never put herself in such a position. Paul can take criticism and it rolls off him like water off a duck. But, me - I internalize everything. I forget nothing. I cannot seem to set aside comments spoken in haste or bitterness. If someone has said that they don't want me here, or that I am some kind of burden to them, I will NEVER forget it.

Our church is broke right now. Not bankrupt, just barely making it week to week, month to month. Paul and I did not know this when we agreed to come. (We are NOT here for financial gain to ourselves. Paul does not receive a salary. Read on, and you will know what I am talking about.) The problem is that we are living in the church's parsonage. The house itself has long since been paid for. And, in the winter and summer they had to heat and cool it, even when it was empty. BUT, now there is a very large family living here (by most people's standards). And, suddenly the amount of money used to heat, light, cool, and upkeep the parsonage is MY problem. Every time my kids flip a light switch I am accountable to 30 some people. Every time my heater runs I am accountable to 30 some people. The Culligan water system is fouled up - it has been in for 15 years, long before my time - and I am accountable to 30 people for the price to repair it. And then there's hot water for laundry, dishes, and showers for 7 people.

Just one thing after another... And, I'm not even sure how many people want us here. When we came as visitors we were welcome enough. But, move us into the parsonage - and we become a burden.

Plus, the pastor and his wife live in a glass house. This is okay with Paul, as he truly is a man who generally lives above repraoch. But, me? I'm very weary of trying to look like I have it all together. I told you that man-pleasers ought not enter into this role! The pastor's wife is supposed to be as close to perfect as the pastor himself. Yes - this is, of course, a ridiculous standard... but we all think this way... We have the Biblical qualifications for elders, and then we have the verses following about "likewise the women..." and some would say that means the wives of the elders. I am SO not qualified!

I have a bad temper, rather I am very quick tempered (which is really just as bad). I am addicted to caffeine. True it isn't alcohol, but I might very well be using it the same way... to escape my problems and to get me through another day. I do not love my husband and children as I ought. I want to run away every day. And -  "dignified" -  I have never been called that before. However, I do remember one comment on my old blog that said I "have a flair for the dramatic." (That was not meant kindly either, I don't think. Since it was a serious post and not speaking of any kind of desire to enter theater arts.)

So, you see - I am unfit. But, I am here nonetheless. I have women looking up to me... older women. I am set nearly on a pedestal as high as Paul's. Not that either of us should ever have been put on pedestals to begin with... but it happens.

And, tomorrow I have men coming to my house to work and today my kids threw potted plant dirt all over the white carpets. I vacuumed as much as I could, but it would not come up. Now I am accountable to 30 some people for the state of my carpets. And, the men will also be fixing a window that one of my children broke. I am completely mortified. Yes, all kids break windows (don't they?), but I am accountable to 30 some people for this broken window.

But, you know, they say "preacher's kids" are the worst anyway.

Is there any wonder why I HATE being a preacher's wife. If I had any money I would run away this very minute and never look back. I HATE being a preacher's wife!

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