In my experience, being a pastor's wife can be a love/hate relationship. On the one hand, I do love the attention it brings to me. Wow! I can't believe I just said that out loud! But it's true, I enjoy basking in the faint glow of notoriety in our community the role that "pastor and his wife of _______ Church" brings. I also enjoy being the "first lady" of our church, having the air of knowing everybody and everybody knowing me, getting the "your special" treatment, having some say in what goes on. On the other hand, there are times I wished I could go to church and sit in the pew just like everyone else. I don't like being introduced by the name "the pastor's wife"; I don't like having every conversation centered on the church; I don't always like the expectations of others placed on me because I am the pastor's wife. Sometimes I want to stomp my foot, raise my fist in the air, and say, "My name is Lisa. Do you know or care who I really am?" That seems a bit childish, I know, and I haven't ever actually done it, thank heavens, but it's what's inside. Everyone sees me as "the pastor's wife", but do they know the person underneath the title?
Actually, whether I want to admit it or not, I see myself as pastor's wife. That role is so integrated into me after 30+ years, that it literally defines who I am, not the total definition, but it's right up there with wife, mother, and grandma. Is that so bad? At some points, yes, it was a thorn in my side. I wanted to break free of it, be known as just me. But at other points, and I would say the majority of the time, I embraced it as a part of me, and tried to show - live it out to people inside and outside the church - who I am underneath all the titles, hats, I wear. I call it being comfortable in my own skin, me accepting me for who I am. That means I am comfortable enough with myself to open up and share my personality, my likes and dislikes, my quirks, my curiosity with others. And I do that because I want to know the same about them. They won't know me by any other title than "pastor's wife" if I don't let them get to know me.
Christine Hoover, in her blog Grace Covers Me, has a short series covering questions from fellow pastors' wives. The second is this series addresses the question, "Will I ever only be seen as the pastor's wife?" She has some good advice for us. I hope you will read it and check out her blog often. She has an email subscription you can sign up for and get her posts. I don't know about you, but I need all the help I can get to navigate this pastor's wife journey. It nourishes my soul to hear how other pastors' wives are doing it.